Sunday, July 24, 2011

Growth in the Spirit

At various junctions of life as a Christian, we may realize we have been living as an unlearned, uncommitted or unfaithful Christian. Such realization can seem painful. (So much so, that we may have been intentionally trying to avoid thinking about our short-comings!) However, when the Spirit of God determines to grace us with spiritual understanding of the magnitude of our failure, we submit to gain peace in our conscience, or because we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

If the conviction comes on us and we recognize such is the result of lack of commitment or even unfaithful acts, then repentance is called for, no doubt. However, sometimes our behavior fails the glory of God as a function of being unlearned in spiritual knowledge. Being unlearned of spirit knowledge leaves us to be mastered too often in things of the flesh. We have not lost our salvation, but quarrels, strife, and discord remain part of our walk experience.    ( 1 Cor. 3)

Recently in posts and in the comments to these posts, I have addressed the difference between reliance on the Father's resource and walking in our responsibility to pursue living in His Kingdom. I think the following selection of scripture speaks about this difference. The whole selection might be described as instruction on spiritual growth. Notice the role played by the provision of the Lord. From the basis of knowledge of the Lord, grace and peace have been multiplied to us. Further His divine power grants us all we need for life and godliness. From His glory and excellence flow His promises SO THAT we become partakers of the divine nature. Then begins the development of character traits wherein we are acting responsibly to grow in that nature ourselves. Interestingly, this process ends with increased love and love is the basis of the two great commandments (Matthew 22:36-40) which fulfill the entire law.

Notice also, Peter states that in the diligent practice of this development to know increased love, we will never stumble. Sounds a bit like Peter believes there is a state for the believer of never sinning. Which doesn't suggest the believer is incapable of sin, but rather, that the walk with Christ includes times of living without stumbling into sin. Reflect on the 2 Peter 1:1-10, and share your thoughts on God's resource versus our responsibility.

2 Peter 1:1-10
1 Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3 seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Few Questions Pondered

What if the promise of eternal life were not intended to be an incentive to righteousness?

What if the Presence of God in the "now" of life turned out to be more fulfilling of all your emotional needs than you ever predicted?

What if the incentive to walk in righteousness was simply knowing the beauty of God and the love within Him as the source of all your motivations and the fulfillment of all your loneliness?