Thursday, March 29, 2018

More thoughts on life and godliness

So it's still 2 Peter 1:3 with me . . . I can't get it off my mind.

I'm intrigued by the way you can link it up with any of the imperatives of the Bible. Jesus tells his disciples they must "love one another, as I have loved you." Link that up with 2 Peter 1:3. It means that you (yes, you, if indeed you're a disciple of Jesus) can do that; you are able, however difficult it may seem, however unable you may feel. God has given you everything you need for life and godliness . . . everything you need to love one another.

Or take one of Paul's imperatives. "Set your mind on things above, where Christ is," he says (Colossians 3:2). But so often our minds are on "earthly things." This is exactly what Jesus was saying in the Sermon on the Mount when he talked about not storing up treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, but storing up treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy. It almost seems there is a battle for our minds going on, and much of our sinning is the natural working out of our mental preoccupations. But the message of 2 Peter is, God has given you everything you need to set your minds on your true treasures (that which Jesus secured for you), for to do so is "life and godliness."

Is there an imperative in the Bible that kind of makes you anxious? That you are conscious of frequently falling short of? Maybe it's the one about coveting, or lust, or greed. Maybe it's Paul's "Do all things without grumbling," or Jesus' "Go and make disciples." Or perhaps it's one of those Pauline "put offs" (anger, malice, obscene talk) that gives you pause. The point is, all these imperatives are way-markers to life and godliness. So here's something you might find helpful. Take a 3x5 card and write across the top, "God has given me everything I need in order to. . . ." Then, under that, write down that troubling imperative, the one you'd really rather not think about. For example:
  • God has given me everything I need in order to . . .
  • not be anxious about what I will eat or wear, but trust God for all things. (Matthew 6:25f)
You get the idea. But one more key point. Peter was writing to a church. He was telling the church, not an individual Christian, that they have everything they need for life and godliness. As the saying goes, there are no Lone Ranger Christians. Life and godliness is "walked out" in a family of believers.

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