Daily Devotional – Tuesday, September 21, 2021
“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. 4 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. 5 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, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. 10 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. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:3-11, NLT)
It is obvious from Peter’s words that he recognized that our inclusion in God’s family was not earned, but was a result of God’s fulfilling His promises to those who choose to believe in and follow Jesus. So why the emphasis on ‘work?’ Because our faith in God is not merely something we know, it is to inspire us to action. The work we do in response to our faith acts to further transform us, motivate us and protect us.
God has given us promises which allow us to ‘share His divine nature’—the Holy Spirit actually indwells those who choose to follow Christ—and to ‘escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires’—the things we want from and out of life, as a follower in Christ, are to change to match God’s. Unfortunately, however, we are bombarded everyday with messages that run contrary to ‘godly living.’ God has given us everything we need, but we still must actively work to ‘respond to His promises,’ which is where our work needs to begin—so that we aren’t inadvertently fighting the Holy Spirit’s work of transformation in our lives. Peter encourages us to add moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection and love for all to the visible outworking of our faith.
He then explains why this is so important; so that our knowledge of Jesus will be ‘productive and useful.’ It is possible to know about Jesus and still remain unproductive and useless in His kingdom…to be so divided in our loyalties, that our faith benefits no one, not even ourselves. Don’t forget, even the demons believe in Jesus…and tremble. Belief alone is not enough. Without working to ‘add’ to our faith, our religious talk will only ever be empty words. We must also demonstrate the veracity and benefits of our faith, by living as real examples of having God living within us—changing us from the inside out! Our motivations in life should reflect our relationship with Jesus, not an affinity to this world and its ideals.
Finally, Peter tells us that we are to work hard to ‘prove that [we] really are among those God has called and chosen.’ Why is this necessary? So that we never fall away. Peter personally experienced a moment when he was tempted to fall away. Following his denials that he even knew Jesus, I believe Peter went through a period of wondering if he had totally blown it; that by having denied knowing Jesus, he was no longer worthy to be a follower of Jesus. In fact, even after having seen Jesus’ in resurrected flesh, Peter still returned to fishing. Jesus met Peter, and the others who had joined him, on the beach with a breakfast He had prepared for them. Jesus knew Peter was being tested—wasn’t that exactly what He had warned Peter was going to happen? So, Jesus again makes it clear to Peter, that his job is no longer to catch fish, it is to catch people for the kingdom. There is another miraculous catch of fish and then Jesus bares Peter’s inward thoughts by asking three times, ‘Do you love me?’ Peter professes his love, which Jesus already knows, but recognizes that Peter needs both His reassurance and Peter’s own recognition that he does indeed love Jesus. Jesus knew that Peter needed a level of protection against his own guilty conscience and self-condemning thoughts that would have left him forever second-guessing Jesus’ call on his life. After that, if there was ever a moment Peter doubted his calling, scripture doesn’t record it.
We, too, would do well to heed Peter’s advice—some of which I believe he gained the hard way. Those of us who are convinced that Jesus provided for our forgiveness and is the way to God and eternity in heaven, have God’s provision of all that we need to live godly lives, pleasing to Him. But that does not mean we can now sit back, take it easy and wait for our turn to walk through heaven’s gates. There is work to be done in the areas of our transformation, motivations and for our protection.
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!