3 By his divine power the Lord has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of the one who called us by his own honor and glory. 4 Through his honor and glory he has given us his precious and wonderful promises, that you may share the divine nature and escape from the world’s immorality that sinful craving produces.
5 This is why you must make every effort to add moral excellence to your faith; and to moral excellence, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, endurance; and to endurance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, affection for others; and to affection for others, love. 8 If all these are yours and they are growing in you, they’ll keep you from becoming inactive and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter set forth how every part of us thrives as we open ourselves to let God’s power work. John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, wrote of this passage in his Notes on the Bible: “In this most beautiful connection, each preceding grace leads to the following; each following, tempers and perfects the preceding.” * In different words, but with the same underlying thought Paul shared in Galatians 5:22-23, Peter outlined in this passage a picture of God’s power transforming our whole life.
King Jesus, deliver me from any impulses or examples I have of “sour godliness.” Fill me and guide my growth into the kind of person Peter described as having “everything we need” for life in you. Amen.
Question: Christians are supposed to have it all together, right? Have a permanent residence on the high road?
Let’s get real about this. In these GPS Insights blogs I have tried to be vulnerable and authentic, sharing with you who I am, what I believe in, what I struggle with, where God is working on my heart. I do this because if I had a nickel for every time I heard that question, or an iteration of it, I would have at least $75 dollars. Not only do people ask such questions, they use them as judgments and barbs for when I (or others) are in a valley. They add salt to the wound with such questions. It has become part of my mission to respond in ways that negate those opinions and that allow others to feel known and seen when they are struggling, too.
I’m not as good at pointing out what I’m good at. But to give that a shot, I’m good at managing a lot of things at the same time. Notice that I didn’t say "multitask." Paul Atchley wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review titled “You Can’t Multitask, So Stop Trying.” * When I came across this article my first thought was “Oh, Paul, you haven’t met me yet.” Jokes on me, friends--Atchley points out that there has been a lot of research completed that shows that our brain simply cannot focus on multiple things at once. Rather, it constantly switches between tasks and when we switch, it takes our brains almost 15 minutes to reorient to the newest task. Our efficiency drops by 40% when we switch tasks consistently instead of focusing on one whole task at a time.
Today’s Scripture is written in a very intentional way that speaks to all of this. 2 Peter 1:5-8 describes qualities Peter says we should strive toward (that is, not just automatically be). These qualities are listed in a stepladder kind of way, with one preceding and building upon the next (that is, not all the things all at once). Peter seemed to already know what Atchley teaches us today. We cannot physically be good at or aiming to do everything all at the same time. What good news that God didn’t make us that way either! God gave us limits to help us.
You know what God actually calls us to, and wants for us? He wants us to live into the fact that He has already given us everything we need in the form of personal gifts as well as the capacity to grow and get better. But we are not God so we can live a life of joy knowing that we simply have to take one step at a time, and God will continue to equip us in our journey of growth. Days when I rely on God instead of myself, and also live into what I’m good at and expand and get better, are days that are so, so sweet.
So, to answer my initial question: Absolutely not. But what joy to be able to live into the task of getting a little better, and becoming a little more of who we have the capacity to be in God, each and every day.
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