What keeps us trapped in ineffective and unfruitful living?
Aaron wanted hamsters when he was young, and like all good parents, we bought him some. After preparing the cage, buying the food and all the other hamster necessities, these puffy little rodents had a home in his room. I never could understand the fascination with a critter that liked to spend hours spinning on a wheel, going nowhere and accomplishing nothing.
Does your life feel this way? Day after day, do you repeat the same routine, but end up feeling ineffective and unfruitful? What if there was a solution? Would you believe it, trust it, apply it? Or like hamsters, will you continue to do your own thing?
What about your faith? Is it increasing? Or do you do the same ole church routine, living defeated rather than escaping the corruption that is in this world? So what is the solution?
Peter addresses both the "rat-race" and ineffective and unfruitful living in his second letter. He actually gives a recipe to be fruitful and effective in all things pertaining to life. He begins with your faith. He assures us that God's divine power and His promises, when embraced, will give us God's divine nature so we can exchange sin's corruption with godliness. Great trade! But how?
Here's the trick. God does the work in you through His divine power...then, he gives you things that YOU are to do. Ready for the list? Are you sure? OK, here goes.
Begin in 2 Peter and read verses 3-9. I know you probably will not do this so let me break it down for you. Verse five says, "Make every effort to supplement your faith..." let's stop here for a minute.
Me make the effort? Yes. I know that you think that God will do everything for you, but this is not the case. He gives you responsibilities to "add to your faith" beginning with VIRTUE. Moral excellence is not automatic. It must be exercised and added to as you live a life of faith. Then to the VIRTUE, we are to add KNOWLEDGE.
This kind of knowledge is not learned by going back to school or reading more books. This word knowledge, in the Greek, means common sense. Yes, I said and so did Peter say, "Add common sense to your faith." Stop all this non-sense that has various spiritual names but does not produce fruitfulness in our life and use the common sense that God has given to you. ADD common sense to your faith.
To your common sense, ADD Self-Control. No one can "make you angry". You are the one who chooses to become angry based on the behavior of others. God will not control your emotions for you, He tells you to do this. When you are able to control your emotions, it is a true sign that the Holy Spirit dwells in you.
To your self control, you are to add (the Spirit does not do this for you) steadfastness with godliness. This means that you are to be faithful, you are to keep your word, act dependably and be loyal and immoveable with your convictions; not wishy-washy.
To this, you add brotherly affection. Express your appreciation of others; don't keep it to yourself. And finally, love lavishly.
Devi Titus, wife of Larry Titus, is among America's most recognized Christian conference speakers and authors. She is an award winning communicator with the Washington Press Women's Association and speaks to multiple thousands annually, both nationally and globally.
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