Friday, December 28, 2007

A New Year

"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...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." II Peter 1:3, 5-8)

A new year is fast approaching and if you're anything like me, the new year stands for a few things: hope for change, desire to break some patterns and a renewed dedication to making the coming year, better. Well my dear friends and readers, it all starts and ends with God and our relationship with Him. Allow me to pull out a few things from this passage that will help us all as we enter the new year.

1. HIS diving power has given us everything we need...
- Everything we need to live a godly life comes from Him. It's His power, not ours; His Spirit, not ours. This means that the further we are from Him, the less we have for life and godliness; and the closer we are to Him, the more of His power we will have. I know. I have been living on "Mike" power for the past few months and I feel it...I feel empty and weak, like a car that is not operating on all its cylinders or, as Bilbo Baggins put it, "like butter that has been scraped over too much bread." Peter reminds us here that EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness is available to us, but it all comes from Him.

2. ...if you possess these qualities in increasing measure...
- There is a list of qualities we're supposed to have but it's not the list that's as important as the word "increasing." Read vs 8 again, here in the NAS version: "For if these qualities are yours and are increasing..." Catch it now? The goal here is that these qualities increase in our lives. That there is forward motion to them, that our pursuit of godliness is not stagnant or "stuck in port," but is in fact moving in a forward direction. How important is this? Important enough that Peter ends his letter with this same thought in chapter 3 verse 18; "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." It can't get any clearer then that: we are to be growing in our relationship with Christ.

Bringing it back: so what does this mean for us? If you profess to be a Christian, a "Christ-follower," then our number 1 and most important goal for 2008 should be GROWTH. In truth, in any relationship you have you are either moving closer to that person or moving further from them. There is no "holding" pattern. So it is with Christ; we are either "growing in our grace and knowledge," "possessing Christ's qualities in increasing measure," or we're not. Equally important is to realize that we can't do this on our own, but it is God's power that gives us the ability to grow.

My number 1 goal for 2008 is to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ and to possess His qualities in increasing measure. Join me...

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