2 Peter 1:5-8 (NLT)
In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I probably missed the mark naming this today because just one step is not really my nature. I am a planner, a list maker, an organizer. I was not always this way. As life added responsibilities and maturity set in, it became my mode of survival I guess. Ingrained in my daily life, I approach most things focused on the end rather than the beginning. I dive right in and get to work because from the start I want results. When it comes to me, I am a grueling taskmaster who demands perfection especially when it pertains to my family. They deserve the best and if it is up to me they are going to have it. I leave no margin for error. Human weakness is never an excuse. Sadly, these all contradict my faith in Christ. Harsh representatives of sinful flesh hiding within. The assault is not directed on others but settled on myself. It doesn’t matter what I do in the course of a day – it is that one thing that I did not get to that weighs heavily on my heart. This may seem to be all about me today. It is…and maybe you too.
“In view of all this”…today I have stepped back (or maybe up would be more appropriate) to take a bigger look at my life. Why? I want more out of my life. I am not living up to my godly potential. This has nothing to do with what I own, my job or the “things” that I want. It is about my heart. I am not satisfied. I am discontent. I am lacking something that only God can give me again. I want peace that passes all understanding. I want overflowing joy to wonderful to fully express. Faith is the step-by-step process that these things are acquired but I keep jumping ahead. The Lord is telling me today just one step. Take just one step today. Let me do the rest in you, through you and around you. I am trying desperately to make every effort to respond to His Promises. Perhaps, I have been going about it the wrong way.
“Supplement your faith” … with moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection (kindness) and love. I think that I am doing all these things and maybe I am but I am not the one who can truly supplement my faith supernaturally. A supplement is something added to complete a thing. It supplies a deficiency resulting in wholeness. These things listed are not naturally occurring in humanity as a result of the sin that pervades in our life. We need help in obtaining these things that make our faith strong and mature it into confident hope. God has given us His Spirit to supply these things we lack and sustain us. They are the very fruit of His Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Rather than trying to produce them myself, I must learn to depend on God rather than myself. He wants to help me. He wants to help me grow in His Likeness according to His Grace. His Grace is sufficient for me supplying everything that I need if I will choose to partake of it rather than constantly trying to do everything myself.
“The more you grow like this”… I want the knowledge that I have of Jesus Christ to become wisdom in my life. For example, there are ample warnings that smoking is bad for your health. It leads to cancer. This is common knowledge. Yet, people still smoke at alarming rates. Those who choose to not smoke based on the fact that it is harmful are applying this knowledge and it becomes wisdom. Side note – I was waiting on my girls at Target yesterday. I heard a little boy maybe three or four asking his dad about a man who he saw smoking as they came in the store. The dad simply responded to his son – “We don’t smoke because it will kill you and you will die.” I could not hide my amusement at such a simple and solid answer. Though some might find it harsh, I was disappointed that I didn’t use those words when my kids were young and inquiring. God changes us step by step. He gives us knowledge that we can apply to our life that will become wisdom in the days ahead. Such knowledge will not only change your eternal destiny but will also affect the outcomes here on earth. I want the kind of productivity Christ produces called prosperity. I want to be useful to God because in such a position I am assured that He knows me and I am his friend. Friends walk through life together step by step.
2 Peter 1:3-4 (NLT)
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
I have it all. God has given us everything that we need to live a godly or god-like life. Do you feel like you have it all? Do you feel like you have it all together? Yeah, me either. When I was a child, my parents decided to try their hand at raising exotic fish. Their bedroom wall was lined with tanks. In the breeding tanks, the parent fish would assemble bubble nests in the corner of their home as they prepared to lay eggs. When my parents were not around, I would sneak in and blow on the tiny bubble nests causing it to come apart. The fish would then feverishly begin collecting their nest and putting it back together. I don’t believe in karma, but I do believe that you reap what you sow especially now as my nest continues to change and scatter. No matter how hard I try to put it back to the way it used to be I cannot. My sense of organization and completeness has become challenged as the babies leave the nest. After years of caring and protecting so many, I am having trouble with only a couple left and even the two “babies” are maturing at an alarming rate. It is in that moment when I realize that my children have been my life. To God, they are a part of my life but there is more to my existence than raising children. I must learn to grow and develop by faith to gladly accept God’s Complete Plan and all of His Precious Promises that are far greater than I could even comprehend. Thankfully my husband has agreed not to grow up.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT)
The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.
The Lord walks with us step by step. When the path seems hard or we get lost in the process, He is still holding our hand. These are the times that we try to run ahead and escape the pain of the season we are in. It is the place of discomfort and discontentment as God changes us and our situation to contain the Glory that He sending our way. At that moment, we feel so empty, weak and small there is a fear that we will not make it through the ordeal or survive our suffering. That is our flesh, but the Spirit is cultivating every good thing God has promised to us in us. He is making a way day by day and step by step. He is changing the details of our life into something good. This is a process. That is why we are called to endure. It is a painful process sometimes because our flesh is dying to make way for soul to prosper. I don’t know how it all works but I know that faith always works.
I hear the Lord speaking to my own heart today as I struggle not to run ahead and to live just one step at a time. I want to be where I can look back and see the good that came from our son’s battle against cancer. I want to see the good that came from our daughter moving away. I want to see the part where I survive all my children leaving the nest rather than the unbearable pain that I am feeling. I want to see the part where my list of worries and cares give way to peace and prosperity. I do not want to run away from God but just be where He is and see things how He sees them. The pain and trauma of this life make me want to run ahead of this season to see the fruit in the next. But I must sow seeds in this season to harvest in the next. I am certain that many grow tired and weary in the planting yet they will always rejoice in their harvest without one regret except maybe that they didn’t put more seed in the ground.
Proverbs 20:24 (NLT)
The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?
The Lord has proven in my life over and over again that He does more than I can even think to ask for. He has passed the test of faithfulness for me. I know that my God is able and willing. I just have to hang on to my faith and that anchor called hope. My humanity struggles sometimes but thank you Jesus for your Spirit that comes to my aid. The Lord knows my weaknesses for He bore them on the Cross. He knows my sin and shortcomings covering them with His Blood. I have nothing to worry about and even less to fear. Do I really need to know everything? I can try to understand but the reality is that none us will ever fully understand God and His Ways because He is God. He is Sovereign. He is Constant, Unmoving and Unchanging. To steady my steps I must walk by faith and not by sight. Each one has been orchestrated by God even those that catch me off guard or seem to come before I am ready. I tried out a new stairclimbing machine at the gym the other night. Be warned that thing will kick your butt. Anyhow, I set it for a simple routine, popped in the old earbuds, and began climbing steps that look like an escalator. As I was stepping, it seemed as though the steps were getting faster and faster despite the fact I was not doing anything other than walking along. When I looked at the display, I realized that the routine was preset. The steps had gradually and progressively gotten faster but I had not realized until I began to struggle to keep up. My response – push every button on the screen until it finally slowed down. God is in every single step of our life. As a believer, He is renewing us, restoring us, reviving us and recreating us every single day. We tend not to notice until we get uncomfortable. Don’t give up. Hang on. You only have to be concerned with just one more step and the faithfulness of God will carry you to the next one and the next one and the next one as you commit your life to walking with Him.
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NLT)
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Just one step. Lord, teach me to live in this moment again. Hold me tight so I do not run ahead and miss the planting to be done in this season. I trust you Lord, I really do. But there are days that I do not trust myself. Your Grace is enough for me. Your Strength is all that I need in this weak state I am feeling. Thank you Lord for reminding me today that you have orchestrated every single step of my life to walk in your Glory and I am destined to live with you forever. Thank you that I am walking from victory to victory as you renew, restore and recreate me from glory to glory. You are the only thing I need to live and thrive in this life. You have blessed me. You are good. Now excuse me while I get to stepping again.
Psalm 119:132-133 (NLT)
Come and show me your mercy, as you do for all who love your name. Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.