We tend to obsess on what we focus. Don’t focus on the sin; focus on the Savior! He has the words of life.
7 Now then, my sons, listen to me [focus!]; do not turn aside from what I say [don’t be distracted].
Until we came to Christ, we looked at everything around us. Christ focused us on Him, our Target, and teaches us to shoot at the bullseye (godly living). Each ring emanates from there: our spiritual family (ring #1), and then our earthly family and friends (ring #2). The analogy breaks down from here because hitting the rings seems to be less than hitting the mark. The truth is we go through the bullseye of godly living to get to ring of our spiritual family and then the ring of our earthly family and friends. It’s a matter of priority. [see addendum at bottom]
With godly living being the center of our attention, let’s look at what we have been given concerning godliness by looking at 2 Peter 1:3-8.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Let’s break it down:
- His divine power was strong enough to raise Jesus from the grave, not to mention creating the universe!
- We have been given the Holy Spirit who gives us everything we need to be like Jesus and to follow Him ALL THE TIME (we call this “daily”).
- Our knowledge of Him is through the indwelling Spirit. It’s experiential and intimate. We read His Word and hear His voice at the same time. Non-Christians can’t do that. They simply read for knowledge-sake. We read to hear Him. The Word of God is a marvelous micro-receiver that helps us tune in to Him and hear Him as He speaks to us. It is a filter that screens out all the other voices and sounds so that we can focus on Him and His voice. It is also a laser that the Father uses to remove malignant tumors (sin) and damaged tissue (sin’s effects) from our spiritual bodies. In His hands, this laser is better than a surgeon’s scalpel: “The Word of God is living and active [alive}. Sharper than a two-edged sword [a surgeon’s scalpel]…” Hebrews 4:12.
- HE called US! We didn’t call Him. “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me.” Isaiah 65:1. Why? Because He is GOOD and because of His GLORY. The glory of God is connected to His goodness, which is His nature, His essence, and is expressed as love. “God is love.” 1 John 4:16. Anything that is not good has nothing to do with God. This truth in itself is why we need a Savior–even God Himself! Through His Spirit, He imparts goodness to us, thus giving us His glory and receiving glory from us. Because God is good, we are made good and strive to do good.
- The greatest promise God made to mankind was to not leave us as we are. Even as far back as the Garden of Eden, God promised a Savior who would save us from the evil one and redeem us, “he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel [even as you strike his heel, he will crush your head].” Genesis 3:15. Jesus also promised the Holy Spirit, and more! “the Spirit of truth…you know him for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:17. “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. John 14:23. He promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), and to be with us to the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). But Wait! There’s More!!! God is transforming us, reshaping us, and molding us into the image of His Son, Jesus! Romans 8:29 and 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us as much. This next verse in particular reveals to us what God is up to in our lives: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Cor. 4:16. IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER THAN THAT–on earth, anyway.”
Tomorrow, we will look at the practical side of living with/for Jesus as we continue with verses 4b-8.
Today, revel in the knowledge that God is with us, that He is imparting His goodness and His glory to us, and that we are already godly on the inside; we just need to work it from the inside out!
Addendum: Having our spiritual family before our natural family does NOT trump our responsibilities in taking care of and interacting with family. It DOES affect HOW we take care of them, in what order of importance they come, and how we interact with them. It does NOT include being at church every time the doors are open or dropping everything just because there’s a church function. What it DOES do is it runs everything through the filter of, “Jesus, how do You want me to handle this?” He will speak to us in one (or more) of four ways:
- Through prayer. Our continuous fellowship with Him is vital.
- Through the Bible. It is His written words to us.
- Through circumstances. Do you feel the tension? Pay attention to that tension. It may be the Holy Spirit!
- Through others, especially other believers.
Jesus wants us to take care of our natural families. We will let us know the best way to do that. Ask Him!