"His 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. Through 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. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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." -2 Peter 1:3-4, NIV.
I've been meditating on these verses recently. Though I've read them before, lately they've struck me with a new forcefulness. Particularly the passages, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness" and "You may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
This past week, I had the awesome opportunity to hang out with a good friend in Colorado. I (and a few other friends) helped him move in, and he graciously paid all my expenses, including the plane ticket back (thanks for the 100th time, Aaron!). It was a tremendously awesome time, one of the best times I've had in years. For the first time in a few years, I felt as though I was able to completely relax, and lay down all my worries, anxieties, fears, and responsibilities. It was beautifully stress-free, giving me a sorely needed break just before the avalanche of stress and responsibility that will come down on me with the start of the fall semester and my new job.
With this vacation, however, I allowed myself to let my spiritual guard down, deciding to not discipline myself to make time for a devotional in the morning, even failing to include God regularly in my thoughts during the week. The result of course is stress and a feeling of distance from God.
As I read this passage in 2 Peter, however, I'm brought back to how much God NEEDS to be a constant fixation of my life, and how much I require his counsel and presence in my decision making. Humbled by my idolatry, I'm at least thankful that I recognize the huge void in my life when I'm NOT depending on him!!!
It's in these idolatrous times that I make the grave mistake of perceiving time set apart for communing with the Sovereign King of the Universe as a chore, even a preventive measure wrapped in ritual. But time with God is so much more than that! It's not a good luck charm or a duty, it's an incredible, unbelievable privilege.
"He has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them we may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
That's amazing to me, especially the line "we may participate in the divine nature." I'm not a Bible scholar, but to me this implies that we become more and more like God as we meditate and act on the very great and precious promises he has given us. Furthermore, we're told that through God's great and precious promises we can "escape the corruption caused by evil desires."
In light of these great and precious promises, not only can we escape corruption, but we can find strength and energy to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance; and also godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to our faith. It seems that as we meditate on Christ's great and precious promises, we receive strength to grow in these moral areas as his followers.
After this, Peter makes a very striking statement when he says, "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...Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Reading this has taught me two things so far: One, we must never take a break from communing with our Lord and meditating on his great and precious promises. Through this, we can escape the corruption caused by evil desires. When our focus is on centered on God, it's much harder for the evil around us to grab our attention. Two, through meditating and acting on these promises we may participate in the divine nature. This is much more than empty ritual or action compelled merely by a sense of duty. This is consecration, regenaration, rebirth. It's through this regular focus on his promises that we are enabled to be effective and productive in our knowledge of God.
So, how have your devotionals been lately? I know from experience that it is so easy to let both the business of life and the laid-back atmosphere of vacation convince us that our time is too valuable to be spent regularly coming into his presence and receiving his strength. I challenge you to take regualr time out of your day to meditate on his great and precious promises, and as you do receive strength to escape corruption and grow as a follower of Jesus in every area of life. Petition him for his divine power, realizing that it gives you everything you need for life and godliness. God Bless!