For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue,
and virtue with knowledge,
and knowledge with self-control,
and self-control with steadfastness,
and steadfastness with godliness,
and godliness with brotherly affection,
and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV
If you wonder “For what very reason?” join the club.
In verse 3 Peter tells us
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness …. 2 Peter 1:3 ESV
I’ve made the mistake of thinking my salvation is primarily about me. To be sure, God’s love is for me but a deeper reason He saves is for His purposes and to bring glory to Himself.
In my myopic existence I don’t focus my attention on Jesus. I often consider my benefits and blessings, which are truly benefits and blessings and I should recognize them as such and thank God for them but His purpose goes beyond just saving me; He saves me as a testimony to His faithfulness, His grace, His love, His patience and His sovereignty. His desire is to see all people choose Him and enter into an eternal relationship with Him but in Paul’s case, specifically:
The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,
and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.
For a long time Israel was without the true God, and without a teaching priest and without law,
but when in their distress they turned to the LORD, the God of Israel, and sought him, he was found by them. 2 Chronicles 15:1-4 ESV
I believe in a personal, engaged, all-powerful, God who is alive, aware and refers to Himself within His creation. I believe the garden of Eden was His first example and Judaism was another. I believe He is and has been demonstrating that we, humans, as His creation will chose sinfulness rather than Him that no matter what options He gives us; we will choose to turn our backs on Him and reject Him.
I believe that He gave Israel (the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Israel) repeated grace; leading them Himself, through judges, prophets, priests and kings and they still rejected Him until He chastised them with slavery in other nations for almost 3,000 years.
“Now this is the commandment–the statutes and the rules–that the LORD your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it,
that you may fear the LORD your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.
Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the LORD, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:1-5 ESV
Sometimes, however, English translations have subtle differences from the original texts. Take for example a passage from Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith. 1 Timothy 1:5 NLT
The Bible presents lists like this passage in 1 Timothy. My question when I read this was which part is “the list?” I see two possibilities and the difference may change what I focus on as I seek to follow Jesus.
As a person given to pride, too often my focus is on myself. I’m at the center of the stories I create in my head. Upon reading the Bible, however, I learned (and continue to learn) that everything is about God.
I’m made to love, worship, glorify and commune with Him (as is everything else that’s created).