The battle with temptation and sin is won in our minds. We have a choice. Do we listen to our hearts or the LORD?
1 My [children], keep my words [the words of the LORD] and store up my commands within you. 2 Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye [focus on them]. 3 Bind [write] them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart [memorize them].
Continuing with our 2 Peter passage, let’s review:
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.
Perseverance– prolonged steadfastness, dogmatic stubbornness. In order to persevere, we must believe wholeheartedly that what we believe is true. Do we really believe that Jesus is God? That He has THE PLAN? That He loves us and has our best interests at heart? If so, then we will hold fast for as long as it takes to become like Him–even if it takes a lifetime, which it will.
Godliness– Being like God in character and action. When people look at our lives, they see Christ and His character over our own. Striving to be like Christ–to walk with God like Him, to pray like Him, to think like Him, to answer like Him, and to know His Word like Him–IS the Christian walk. We become “little christs” to those around us (the literal meaning of the term, “Christian”).
Mutual affection– Caring for each other as members of our own body. We see other Christians as extensions of Christ. Since we ourselves are extensions of Him, then we are joined together in Christ. He is the Head and we are members of His Body, His Church, His Bride, His Temple (all are illustrations from Scripture).
Love– Love is the outward expression of an inner conviction. Notice I didn’t say, “of how we feel.” We base our love on what Christ feels toward others. What does Christ feel toward the lost? Compassion. See Matthew 9:36. What did Christ feel toward His own? He loved them. See John 13:34. How does Christ feel toward us, His brothers and sisters? He loves us and makes us one with Himself and the Father through the Spirit. See John 17:23. Our conviction, our heart’s desire, is to see others as Christ sees them.
There are two verses that should be our banner verses, our mantra, so to speak. They are:
“He must become great; I must become less.” John the Baptist in John 3:30.
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Paul in Galatians 2:20.
Living in this manner accomplishes the last part of our passage. We grow in Christ, “in increasing measure,” and become more and more “effective and productive” as we walk with Him, fellowship with Him, and serve Him. The rewards are out of this world!
Let’s get as close to Jesus as possible this side of heaven. If we do, pretty soon we will begin to look like Him and act like Him. What a goal!