Posted by: Jo | January 17, 2014

Making Every Effort

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith…” (2 Peter 1:5)

image As I grow older, remembering important dates/ what did I promise to bring to the potluck dinner/ who was I to call today/ doctor’s appointments, has become more and more difficult. I have to make every effort to be disciplined about writing everything down which means my kitchen becomes decorated with post-it notes and my refrigerator groans with shopping lists and my calendar has scribbled messages on every day. The biggest problem I have in keeping my life running smoothly is to remember to read those written messages!!! Making lists is a good way to start, but forgetting to read them destroys the whole exercise.

While I was contemplating this, I thought of how many lists are recorded in Scripture as a way of keeping us all on track. Probably the best known list is the Ten Commandments which God wrote down on the tablets with his own finger. (Exodus 20:1- 17), but many of the New Testament writers also use this important way of focusing attention on the important messages they want to convey to their readers. Peter does exactly this in his second letter, which is directed to those who have been scattered around the known world and whom he knows definitely need a check list to see how healthy their faith is. Here is his list;

“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.” (2 Peter 1:5 – 7)

I have decided that this list is definitely one to place in good view in my kitchen, but I also know that I will have to make every effort to read it regularly if I want to experience the wonderful result of taking heed of Peter’s words;image

“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8)

I have begun to realise more and more that to follow the Lord Jesus Christ does require effort on our part and if we read Peter’s list he emphasises “every effort”. Many of us have made New Year Resolutions about making this year, the year we get fit, and we know that doesn’t mean studying a list of exercises, or reading about this amazing person who lost a hundred pounds, or telling others of how you are going to do it, we know it will require us to do something about it! Most exercise programs urge you to be realistic about setting goals for yourself, and they tell you not to expect to run a marathon in the next few weeks. I believe solid growth in our faith also takes time. Sometimes we are overwhelmed by statements like Peter’s, but if we take the approach of being in training, it becomes feasible. Choosing one of the qualities to work on becomes a very rewarding exercise. Perhaps “self-control” is a problem for us in an unpleasant office situation; perhaps “brotherly kindness” is hard to extend to that irritating neighbour; perhaps “perseverance” drains us in an unhappy relationship. Choosing to make every effort, with the help of the Holy Spirit, brings about remarkable results.image

When I finally complete the task on one of my lists, I gain a great sense of accomplishment and when we add to our faith as Peter urges us, we are drawn closer to the Heavenly Father and we will hear him whisper, “Well done

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Responses

  1. Your’s and St Peter’s words charge me to make an effort to make an effort. Thanks again Jo.

    Like

  2. Excellent post. I think sometimes as Christians we are hesitant to imply that building our faith requires effort – with the emphasis largely on ‘just being’ and ‘receiving’ – and I definitely think these are important too. But we sometimes forget the great joy and growth that comes from daily disciplines which really do draw us closer to the heart of God.
    Thank you for the helpful thoughts!

    Like


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