Daniel 4:1-27; 2 Peter 1:1-9; Psalms 119:81-88; Proverbs 26:3-5
Psalms: “I long for your salvation; I put my hope in your word. My eyes grow weary looking for what you have promised; I ask, “When will you comfort me?” Though I have become like a wineskin dried by smoke, I do not forget your statutes. How many days must your servant wait? When will you execute judgment on my persecutors? The arrogant have dug pits for me; they violate your instruction. All your commands are true; people persecute me with lies — help me! They almost ended my life on earth, but I did not abandon your precepts. Give me life in accordance with your faithful love, and I will obey the decree you have spoken.” (Psalms 119:81-88 CSB)
Many times, when we go through challenges, tests and trials, God’s promised deliverance does not come on our time table. That appears to be the case with the psalmist. He trusted God… he hoped in God, but it seemed like God’s comfort and strength were not coming when he felt like he needed them most. The longer God’s promise was delayed, the more difficult it was for the psalmist to endure in faith. We must remember that God uses challenges and trials to refine and strengthen us. If God swooped in like a helicopter parent and never allowed our faith and endurance to be tested, we would never grow and would remain spiritual infants our entire lives. Like the psalmist, as things grow harder, we must lean into the word, will and ways of the Lord even more. Even though we may not realize it fully at the time, as we press into God and keep our faith in Him, He will give us everything we need to both endure the trial and come out the other side victorious and stronger.
NT: “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The person who lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten the cleansing from his past sins.” (2 Peter 1:3-9 CSB)
God is not as committed to our comfort as He is committed to our growth. When we come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and keep our faith in Him, He gives us everything that we need… everything that is required to live a life of godliness through Him. He does not do our living for us, but He shares His divine nature with us through the filling and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is why Paul often talked about walking in the Spirit instead of walking in the flesh. When we walk in and according to the Holy Spirit – the divine nature of Christ within us – we will not satisfy the desires of the flesh, but will live for and do the things of God.
Notice the progressive nature of growth and transformation that Peter explained here. We begin our walk and relationship with Christ through faith. Peter said, add to your faith goodness. Goodness in this passage is referring to moral excellence and purity. That is something that only comes from God and is one of the things He supplies us with as we walk in faith. To goodness, we add knowledge as we study, meditate on and apply God’s word. To knowledge, we add self-control, which is a fruit of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Self-control is the divinely empowered ability to master our carnal desires and passions and walk in the things of God. To self-control, we add endurance (steadfastness, patience and constancy). To endurance, we add godliness (reverence and respect toward God). To godliness, we add a love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. To brotherly affection (philadelphia), we add love (agape) – the self-sacrificing, others-focused, enduring and covenantal love of God.
Those are all the things that we need to be fruitful and full of life – to walk according to the kingdom and live righteously – to have an eternal impact on the world around us. Thankfully, those are the things that God’s divine power affords us generously as we remain in Him by faith. If we fail to grow in these things, we may be saved, but we will not be fully useful to God.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that everything I need to live a life of godly impact on earth is available through You. You call me to a life that is far beyond just being saved. You call me to a life of ever-increasing godliness and kingdom impact on earth. Help me to grow in all the things I need as I keep my faith in You and continue to be filled with Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.