Summary: What is God’s priority for our lives?
God’s New Year’s Resolution:
v. 8 -- To be effective; make a difference; clear to others that God is at work through you
v.10 -- to be secure, at peace, content -- within
How do we make a difference? Where does security lie?
Key is found in the words, v.8: "For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure ...".
What are these qualities?
Faith is the foundation; there is no growth, no LIFE without it. However, we are not to stop with faith, but build on it; move forward; advance.
add to your faith goodness
the quality by which one stands out as being excellent; doing things that stand out and get people’s attention. eg.military, art, athletics; includes integrity, truthfulness, honesty, faithfulness; it could also be translated as courage.
Far more than just attending church, not smoking or drinking or engaging in premarital or extramarital sex; or being "nice" or "a good person"
opposite: underachieving, compromise
and to goodness, knowledge
Knowledge of God and salvation. Spiritual understanding. USEFUL AND APPLIED: The ability to handle life successfully, wisely..
How do you gain knowledge except through study, reading, listening? It doesn’t come passively or just by thinking about things.
6 and to knowledge, self-control
lit. to hold oneself in. Controling your passions, tongue, emotions, appetite, sexual urges, temper, drinking (instead of these things controling you).
Opposite: Self-indulgence; addictive behavior
and to self-control, perseverance
to not give up or quit, even when tired or the odds are against you or when everone else is. No or little results. Don’t give in to temptation. Persevere in marriage, faithfulness, integrity. Not complaining, but pushing ahead, faithfully enduring. Waits.
Opposite: giving up; letting down; breaking promises
and to perseverance, godliness
Outward life. Doing all that we do for the sake of God and his glory.
7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness
which would include such things as kind words, generosity, acts of service, being patient and gentle; treating and speaking of people with respect.
and to brotherly kindness, love
Giving, sacrificing; finding joy in the happiness of others. -- spouse, children, parents, family of faith, neighbor, enemy.
EFFECT OF THESE QUALITIES
8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing (abounding) measure, they will keep you from being ineffective (inactive, idle) and unproductive (unfruitful) (NKJV: you will be neither barren nor unfruitful) in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Effective and productive as parents, church members, witnesses, citizens, neighbors, spouses, leaders, servants, ministers, counselors, writers, musicians, artists, teachers, employees, employers
9 But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
concerned about income, status, feeling good (pre-marital sex), acceptance, what others think, is a short-sighted person. This person has lost perspective; lost sight of the Big Picture. Fails to see how living this way affects those around him. This is also a person who lacks security and satisfaction.
A person without these qualities: insecure, anxious, bored, unreliable, overly sensitive, self-conscious, money conscious, quitter, underachiever, ignorant about the things that really matter, wishy washy in faith, full of doubts, disatisfied, guilt-ridden, ashamed; obese or overweight, addicted, consumed with appearance.
What are the keys?
1. Give your all.
5 For this very reason, make every effort (haste; every ounce of determination we can muster).
10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager (to be in a hurry, to give diligence, to exert effort; sense of urgency)
Growth doesn’t happen automatically or passively. There is a cooperation between us and the Spirit.
-"make every effort"; "be all the more eager".
ILL. GLENDA’S LONG SWIM
Glenda’s Long Swim: Glenda and Robert Lennon were four miles off the coast of Florida fishing alone from their yacht. Glenda decided to take a swim and soon found the current had carried her too far out from the boat. Her husband, hearing her cries, without thinking dove in and swam to her, but then realized they were both being carried out.
He was a champion swimmer but not she. They made a plan. He would swim against the tide to keep the boat in view until the tide ceased and he could reach the boat. She should save her strength and just float with the tide and he would come and get her. He fought the tide for six hours and just as the boat was about to disappear on the horizon the tide turned and his strokes carried him to the boat exhausted. The sun had set. His searching was futile-he could not find his wife. The next day on one last effort of search the search party found his wife-twenty miles out and still alive.
John Piper: "What it illustrates is this: Christians who just float never stay in the same place. Christians who disobey 2 Peter 1 verses 5-7 and do not apply themselves with diligence to bear the fruit of faith drift into great peril. We must strive even to stand still, the tide of temptation is so strong."