by: Paul Stagnaro
At the ending of the previous blog, I ended with a question. The question for all of us is this; are we willing to be shaped into God's vision so that God can use us?
God's hand in our lives will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through ordinary, familiar people. Have you ever thought that your growth as a believer hopeless, not possible? The Apostle Peter tells us that growing in our faith is possible; in fact, it likely will happen.
2 Peter 1:3
"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."
Verse three shows us that there is a relationship between God's power and the Christian life. One of the names for God is "El-Shaddai," God all-sufficient; as a believer, we need to stop trying to make it happen through our abilities and allow "El-Shaddai" to work in and through us.
Peter continues in 2 Peter 1:4 on what God has given us.
"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. "
The Arabic version reads "by whom," meaning Jesus Christ; the Vulgate Latin version reads; "by Christ" because all the promises of God come to us through Jesus. Because of Christ in you, you can, as Peter tells it, participate in the divine nature, and because of Christ, you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
A few weeks ago, Calvary's Mission Pastor, Pastor Kurt, told us that we could not escape our flesh in his Sunday message. Pastor Kurt continued, we do suffer in the flesh through sickness or physical problems. Pastor Kurt correctly said that not everything we suffer in the flesh is caused by sin in our life.
We know that the world is corrupt, caused by the evil desires of men. In God's sight, believers in Christ are not corrupt even though we live in the world.
Jesus lived in the world like you and me. Jesus said of himself and those that follow him, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it."
"I have given them your word, and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15- My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16- They are not of the world, even as I am not of it."
Did you notice that in his prayer to the Father, Jesus said, "they are not of the world any more than I am of the world?"
2 Peter 1:5-8
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."
We are to strengthen our faith by adding to it (verse 5) goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness, affection, and love. Why are we to add these things to our faith? Verse 8 tells us why; "so that we are not ineffective or unproductive in our knowledge of Jesus Christ."
Our faith is not to stand alone. Our faith has to be combined with goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. The Apostle Peter closes out verse eight with the words, "they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Did you notice it is all about your knowledge of Jesus? As you apply these virtues, your faith and your understanding of Jesus will grow, will be productive and effective. The relationship between the believer and God has a direct connection to living the Christian life. God's omnipotent power is available to us for whatever we face in life.
From eternity, God thought about us in terms of His unlimited power. He knew you would have an opportunity to accept Jesus as Lord because that was His plan. Through His infinite power, Jesus came, died, came out of the grave, and ascended to heaven.
You accepting Jesus as Lord of your life creates a trust fund for you. Benefits you receive without having worked for them. It contains spiritual assets, assets God provided. We are to learn to draw from these assets for living the Christian life.
God does not wait until you are in a jam and then try to figure out what to do for you. God made a choice about you. Would you like to know what it is?
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love. 5- he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will."
(The Greek word for adoption to sonship is a legal term referring to the full legal standing of an adopted male heir in Roman culture). God furnished everything we need. He did this in His power. He can deliver it to us anytime we need it.
The biggest challenge we face is to stop thinking less of ourselves than what God has proclaimed we are. The problem is that we remain focused on ourselves.
C.S. Lewis wrote, "true humility is "not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less."
To apply C.S. Lewis' words to your life, you need to stop thinking less of yourself by not thinking about yourself all the time in all situations.
You can contact Discover Discipleship at email@example.com or call Pastor Paul at 510-521-1943 Ext. 105