I am a list maker. If I really want to achieve a goal I write it down and plan out every detail. If I want to clean my home, I make a list and write everything down that needs to be cleaned. If I want to stick to my budget I make a grocery list and consult it while shopping at the grocery store. It seems to me that making a list helps me be more organized and productive. There are many times that I make a list to take with me as I am running errands and then I somehow forget to put it in my purse and I am able to recall most of what I put on the list. I think the act of writing it down is helpful to me to remember what I need. Maybe you are a list maker too and can appreciate what I am saying. Writing something down is a great way to remember things, maybe that is why I like to write a blog because my blog is as much of a reminder to me as it is to you. Today I found something I want to share with you, and it also is a written reminder to us.
Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us toc his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. 2 Peter 1:1-15, (English Standard Version).
Peter was one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus and, after the death and resurrection of Christ, Peter became a leader in the first century church. In this letter he has written some great reminders to all Christians that we are never left alone or abandoned because we have a part of God living inside us in the form of the Holy Spirit. Why? Why would Jesus leave the Holy Spirit with us after He ascended to heaven? Peter reminds us why, to help us live a life that is pleasing to God. We have such a wonderful God who knows that this world is filled with all kinds of sins and so God has granted us to have a part of His divine power to help us deal with the world and all the evil snares that try to entrap us. We are now Holy in God’s eyes. And God can look upon us and see goodness because the Holy Spirit is constantly working in us for our good in accordance with the will of God (Romans 8:27-29). And the will of God is that we be like Him. This is awesome stuff! I mean, right now it is late at night and I am tired and I certainly don’t feel very much like I am a Holy being especially as my fingers are constantly missing the keys and I am constantly having to redo words so that they are readable and spelled correctly. But the truth is God sees me so differently than I see myself. God sees you differently than you see yourself too.
Since I am a natural-born list maker I especially love the list Peter lays out for us. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now that is my idea of a list!!!! I try to live my life with these virtues in mind. Faith, studying the Bible and learning more about God which is what knowledge is, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly and sisterly love for my family, friends and especially fellow Christians whether I know them or not, this is a list I desire to achieve. But honestly I fall short far too many times I fear. This afternoon my four-year old granddaughter looked at my face and said, “Grandma, are you angry?” I was not angry but I was thinking about what to cook for supper and I didn’t really want to cook supper because I had been driving nearly all day. I guess my face was looking angry even though my heart was not angry but I was tired. I fixed her favorite mac-n-cheese and we also had grapes! She loved it! I think this exchange with my granddaughter reminded me that I need to be more careful about my facial expressions.
Peter tells us that if we have these virtues in our life then we are to continue to increase these virtues more and more if we want to effectively deal with sin. We will be more effective in our work, in our ministry, in our families, in our relationships and so on. I love his description of a backslider, whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Does anyone come to mind? I can think of a few and to be honest there are a few times in my own life that I was that blind! Thankfully God is patient with us and we also need to have patience with others who may occasionally fall into backslider mode! Peter reminds us all to remember that we were called to be followers of Jesus and not of the world. We need to take this calling seriously and he has laid out a great set of virtues to remind us how we are to live out our daily life. Peter’s reminder is one for the ages. I wonder how many people have found encouragement in this passage; I know that I have and I hope that you have as well. We all need to be stirred up in our faith and to be reminded why we are to continue having self-control and patience and stability in our life. Some people may think that such a life is boring and at times it may feel boring but I don’t think that my life has been boring most of the time. I like to be grounded in the things of God because it gives me so much freedom. I no longer need to be judgmental. I no longer need to be legalistic. I no longer need to work to prove myself as good. No, I have such a profound freedom in the grace that abounds in my life because of my faith and my love for Jesus Christ! Thanks Peter for your great list to remind me that I need to keep on the path I travel because it is the right path and will lead me to Jesus, to heaven, and to eternal life! Nice to have you along for the journey, dear Christian!