Today we'll be spending time in 2 Peter chapter 1, which talks about growing in the knowledge of God and seeking to live a godly life.
Peter tells us that as we come to know Jesus better, through him we will have all that we need to live a godly life, for he calls us to to receive his gifts of glory and goodness. The gifts that we receive are not directly from Jesus himself, but are received from God through our faith in Jesus. As I said, we are sinful by nature and lack the resources to be truly like God. Therefore, God, with all his grace, allows us access to his divine nature when we are reborn with his spirit, so that we may have the ability to quit sinning and live a life serving him.
Once we've been given these gifts from God, we must work hard to apply their benefits to our lives so that we may live a life modeled after him. Simply having faith and believing in Jesus or God is not enough, effort and action must be taken to grow and come closer to them. When you come to truly know God, you'll learn self-control, which leads to patience, which then leads to Godliness, which in turn leads to loving fellow Christians, which finally leads to a love for others. As we continue to grow in our knowledge of God and our devotion to these virtues, we will become more productive and further his kingdom. Here's something important that you should keep in mind, don't simply work on one of these virtues at a time and move on to the next one once you've achieved it; strive to work on them all at the same time!
Those who fail to develop these virtues are blind, or short sighted. For true faith results in good fruit, which are deeds, and spiritual maturity; which again is a result of action, not belief. For good deeds don't result in salvation, but salvation results in good deeds. Someone who claims salvation but remains the same, does not truly comprehend faith or what God has done for them. God does not simply give us these virtues, we must strive to live a life dedicated to becoming like him, then he will bless us with these gifts.
Do not allow false teachers to tell you that self control is unimportant because "deeds can't help us". Although it's true that deeds can't save us from sin, even Jesus performed good deeds, and are we not called to be like him? God wants to build up his character in us, he desires it, but he requires our discipline and effort for that to happen. As we put forth the effort to become better and more Godly people, good deeds will become part of our daily lives.
Peter says that we should work hard to prove our salvation and loyalty to God, if we do this, we will never stumble or fall. This was written as a warning, and to those who have been led to believe they can live however they want and simply be believers. But if they were truly believers, they would work hard to become Godly and back their claim; in doing this, they would never be led astray by false teachers or fall prey to glamorous sin.
Paying Attention to Scripture (The Bible)
We should never forget the basics of our faith, we should consistently remind ourselves of the fundamentals and how we came to be believers. Never take for granted the basics, instead, hone your understanding while still learning advanced teachings. Peter tells us to have confidence in the scriptures written by the prophets and to pay attention to what they have written. Their words are like a light, guiding us in the darkness until Jesus returns. But until that day comes, we have the Holy Spirit and the Bible to guide us to the truth.
Verses 21 and 22 really stood out to me and have impacted the way I'm now looking at this site. The scripture which was written by the prophets was not of their own creation, it was inspired by God. God used their creative minds and communicated with them in such a way that his message was delivered by them faithfully through their words. Basically, the written text that the Bible holds, was not written directly by each prophet, but what God lay on their hearts and minds. This gives me a lot of encouragement as I spend my time day after day writing, I know that what I'm writing is the will of God, although it may not be directly "from" him, it's still "in line" with him.
I would like to take this time to say a small prayer over all of you who have read this article and are either seeking a relationship with God or considering it:
"Lord, I come before you right now in prayer, asking for you to pour out your blessing upon those who are reading these words. Faith is a hard thing to come by, it's sometimes hard to accept something or someone you've never seen, and much harder still to commit your life to following it. God I just pray that for those who are seeking your face and a life that is geared towards serving you, that you would bolster their confidence. Let them know that you're with them and that they're living the kind of life that glorifies you. For faith is not simply believing in you, it's taking action and making an effort to change their lives and model it after your teachings. Have mercy on those who have not yet come to know you as their Father, show them the error of their ways and bring about a change in their hearts. Open their blind eyes to the guiding light that is salvation through your son Jesus. Lord I love you and I praise you, I ask that all these things would be done in Jesus' name. Amen."
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