THIS WEEK: 7 Things to Add to Your Faith to Be an Effective Christian!
2 Peter 1:5 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control;…”
“Wait until you get out in the ‘real’ world!” I remember this phrase in high school and college when the idealism of a student is challenged by an adult that has lived years in the ‘real world.’ While the theories and philosophies one learns in school fill our heart and create passion for the years ahead…then one hits the ‘real world.’ The theories don’t always work in every situation. The philosophies that sound so certain, don’t seem to always apply.
What is the difference between theory and ‘real world’?
Yesterday we added to our faith, goodness, the reality that our faith permeates all of who I am and what I do. Today we add knowledge. The knowledge Peter talks about is knowing something by experiencing something. Take Peter’s own example. When Jesus was walking on the water and startled the disciples, Peter asks, “Lord, if it is you, call me to come out on the water.” Peter knew Jesus could work miracles. When his feet hit the water and he didn’t sink…he knew by experience the power of Jesus…until he doubted and then experienced the consequence of doubt.
Being filled with the goodness and character of God is great…experiencing it day to day is knowing how real and practical the goodness of God is for the ‘real world.’
Peter continues. Add to knowledge, self-control.
Self-control is power over one’s self. For the Christian it is drawing on the Spirit’s power to not give into the sinful nature and allow it to control my thoughts, words and actions. The spiritual battle is very real and powerful within us. You see how Peter is moving us…the more we trust in Jesus as Savior leads to us desiring to be characterized by the goodness of God and to know how real that is in every experience of life. To maximize these reality we must daily fight the sinful nature and not give into it…practice self-control.
Sunday we read from 1 Peter 2:11: Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
The Apostle Paul engaged in the daily struggle.
Romans 7:18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. …24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
A Christian can truly practice control over their sinful desires because they have the power of the Spirit and the victory of Jesus over sin on their side.
Self-control comes from Spirit control.
Self-control keeps us focused and effective for the Lord.
Apply: Evaluate your experiences today. What do you learn about your Savior and your faith through that experience? What is the sin that challenges you? Ask for the Spirit’s help to practice self-control and overcome it.
Prayer: Lord, lead me to both experience the reality of my faith each and every day as well as learn more about my faith from every experience. Spirit, help me abstain from sinful desires today which wage war against my soul. Amen.