Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Recognizing Jesus


But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8

A few weeks ago our family was blessed by being able to go on a cruise where we were pampered well by all of the staff on the ship.  One evening at dinner I had ordered a piece of meat and since I had been too busy talking with our fellow table-mates I had yet to dive into my wonderful looking main course.  The head waiter happen by our table and noticed my meat was not cut and offered to cut it for me.  Being a mother, I can't remember the last time I had been on the receiving end of that type of situation, but I gladly accepted his genuine want to cut my meat for me.  

So, in keeping with my example I pray that I have done well in cutting these above verses into bite-sized pieces for your enjoyment. These verses have such wonderful spiritual meat for us to chew on today and I pray you will enjoy every bite just as much as I enjoyed cutting it apart for you. 

The beginning of verse 5 it says “But for this very reason…” meaning we need to look back in the text to see the “why” behind the verses we are going to pick apart.  In 2 Peter 1: 2-3, Peter talks about how if we live in “knowledge”, meaning living in a state of recognizing God and discerning His activity, it is there we attain all we need to live and to stay within the boundaries of God’s standards.  Peter then goes on to say in verse 4 that living in “knowledge” puts us in a place where God can bestow upon a believer His greatest gifts and promises, His divine nature, and His power to withstand the temptations of evil.  It was for those reasons that Peter gave the following instructions.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.  For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  2 Peter 1:5-8


Maybe like me, you find a lot of the words used in these verses a bit difficult to translate into everyday living.  In looking at the original Greek for all of the keys words and doing some further word study to expand the understanding of the words used in these verses I find I have a better grasp on how to make these verses an applicable truth in my life.  I hope the following expansion of the verses does the same for you.

But also for this very reason, bear alongside Jesus with an utmost enthusiastic desire, add to your heart felt convictions the truthfulness of God and His ways, to that add a brave and excellent worthiness as your basis for living,  to that add an ever increasing familiarity to Jesus through experiences and association with Him, to that add physical self-restraint, to that add hopeful and cheerful endurance, to that add living within the bounds of God’s commands/standards, to that add a heaven perfected love for your fellow man, to that add generosity towards the needy.  For if these things are yours and flow out of all you say and do in excess, you will not be useless, inactive, or unproductive in recognizing, discerning, or putting into practice the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have to admit that attainment of all these virtues in my life, on my own, are impossible.  Yet, nothing is impossible for God.  With the power of Jesus Christ, and His renewing work in my life and yours, these virtues are attainable if we only make the choice to bear alongside Jesus and keep an enthusiastic desire focused on Him.  It is then that our eyes are opened to recognize Jesus in our mist and we become productive and useful in the hands of our Lord as we join in His activity around us.  A place where God’s greatest gifts and promises, His divine nature, and His power to withstand the temptations of evil all reside.

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