Monday, August 3, 2009

Will Real Determination please stand up?

Its been a little bit of break and I apologize.... but moving forward...

Found something that I’ve haven’t seen before in my biblestudy. I was going through 2 Peter 1 during our leaders biblestudy on Monday night. This is one of my favorite chapters in the bible and includes the ‘Pyramid Qualties’ that one of my mentors, Cecil Bean loves to share about.

2 Peter 1:3-11
3His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For 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. 9But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

So many great points in this passage:
A few points:

God has ALREADY given us everything we NEED for life and Godliness vs. 3
It is through these PROMISES we will be able to participate Godliness and life vs.4
We must have the qualities in INCREASING measure vs.8
IF we have these qualities in increasing measure- it will prevent us from becoming useless vs.8

All great points… and I could talk about each one of these all day too…
But the one thing that I discovered differently this time came from vs. 5 ….

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge …

In doing some word study on these words- the one that was INTERESTING to me was on goodness. Many versions exchange moral excellence for goodness. When I looked up the word goodness- the word virtue came up. In delving into what the word virtue means- one of the interesting words used to describe this word virtue was valor. Valor? You know… the heroic quality of not wanting to give up- determination.
In Peter’s listing of these qualities- they are all progressive- or they build up on one another… first start with faith- next add VALOR…. Next add …. So on, and so forth….
But it is interesting Peter says to add Valor or Determination to our faith… and I think he is really on to something. The reality is that we ARE going to undergo adversity. Whether it is from the onslaught of Satan, the attacks from belligerent non-christians, our own stupid decisions, or God refining us- we are going to go through adversity. So …. Peter says that IF we are going to survive and thrive as followers of Christ- the first thing we are going to have to add to our faith is DETERMINATION.

Even Jesus says in John 16:33 … in this world you WILL have trouble. But take heart- I have overcome the world!” Jesus makes clear to the disciples and to all of us- we WILL have trouble. We can take heart that Christ has already overcome the world, but we have to be determined to live for Christ as we are still living in the world.

This determination is something I have RARELY seen in Christians nowadays. Many are beaten, depressed, fatigued… insert any other downtrodden descriptive word here. I’m not certain if it is a result of our world progressively getting worse, a symptom of broken families and abuse at home, or even a result of our modern Christianity- where toughness and grit are a thing of the past. Where beauty and intimacy with Christ are emphasized- the ideas of courage and toughness and resolve have disappeared into the past.
Oh for the days of Joshua…. Where he boldly declared to the rest of the Israelites “I don’t care what the rest of you guys do…” (Joe’s version ofcourse..) Josh 24:14 … “But as for me and my household, WE WILL serve the Lord.”

If we are going to survive and then thrive in our pursuit of Jesus Christ- we are going to have to build and aspire to this same type of determination that Godly men of the Bible have demonstrated.
We are going to have to DETERMINE to remain in the Word.
We are going to have to DETERMINE to influence others to Christ and not be influenced to other things.
We are going to have to DETERMINE to forge relationships with people who will sharpen us and not just hang out with us.
We are going to have to DETERMINE that our pursuit of Christ is priority over everything else in our lives.

DETERMINE today that you will spend quality time with Christ. DETERMINE today that you will work at your job as if working for Christ. DETERMINE today that you will share Christ with a schoolmate or co-worker. DETERMINE today that you will be part of the work in discipling others rather than standing on the sidelines...

Determing to labor with Christ along with you...