Sunday, March 16, 2014

2 Peter 1:4-9 -- On a Recipe for Wholeness

"Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."
2 Peter 1:4-9

This is interesting, and seems to have a specific order and some really good advice.  In the beginning of these verses Peter talks about God giving us some great and precious promises, allowing us to partake of the divine nature, and apparently the prerequisite to those promises are that we need to escape the corruption of lust.  Perhaps we could say that lust is desire for desire's sake... and whether it is sexual or otherwise, it just keeps wanting and is never satisfied.  Kind of like eating when we aren't hungry, just for the enjoyment or escape of it... but turned very much worse because different kinds of lust can ruin much more than our waistlines.  After escaping lust, Peter encourages us to add to our faith virtue.  So apparently faith is required in the first escaping-lust step.  And virtue is a close second: a natural step from escaping lust is valuing purity and goodness.  And from there, we add additional knowledge, some self-control, some patience... it's like a recipe, except it tastes good even before you are finished. :)  As we learn each of these things, we grow... and learn more about the ones before as well.  We definitely don't get self control all at once.  It is something we have to keep learning, just as we incrementally gain knowledge or become more pure.  We practice patience, and we start understanding godliness.  It takes us a long time to get our minds around brotherly kindness, but when we start to, then we are ready to begin learning about charity.
I like the analogy here to being barren or unfruitful.  Whether or not this is a challenge for everyone, it definitely is painful for some.  The lack of children feels like a huge hole in their lives, and I know that some people feel like they are missing something that makes life meaningful.  Similarly, if we lack a knowledge of Jesus Christ in our lives, that can leave us with an emptiness that makes our lives feel less complete.  But as we add all of these good things to our lives, and keep practicing and learning each of them, that void fills up, and we are no longer bereft. 
Today, let's not be blind.  Let's not forget that Christ has suffered for us and given us the opportunity to be clean.  Let's choose sight and wholeness, and let's learn these things.  First, flee from lust, and then start adding in and practicing all of these good things. :)  It's a recipe for wholeness, and happiness.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Total Pageviews