These things we have discussed for the past week, choosing to be a person of character and moral strength, being willing to invest time in thinking and studying and learning and praying to draw closer to God, choosing to trust God that God's ways are better for us, practicing passionate patience, revering God, being persistently merciful, loving generously and bravely, and accepting love from God freely, all work together. As we grow in one area it sheds light and lends strength in other areas.
(So truly do selfish, fear filled choices affect us across many areas of our lives.)
The passage from 2 Peter 1:5-9 as interpreted in The Message Bible reads as follows:
So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
Two things touch my heart in this interpretation:
1: We engage in these behaviors and we are told that we will become more of who we long to be, who God created us to be. That is a pretty amazing payoff and we don't have to get on a plane to a distant land to live as a missionary or write a doctoral thesis on matters of faith. We just have to follow the better choices we have discussed this week.
2. The consequences of failing to do this is painful to watch. When we don't open our lives to new ideas and better choices, we eventually destroy our own relationship with God because we simply can't believe God truly is able to wipe our old life off the books. The good news is that if this has happened in your faith walk, God is still there, being God and loving you. He still cares for and about you and waits for you to call God's Name humbly and hopefully. And when you restore that relationship, you can follow this program of recovery and restoration and relationship.
This is not easy but it is simple: act with integrity, seek knowledge of God, exercise self-control, patience, awe, and kindness, and love in some way each day; becoming more consistent in each area will result in a life more abundant than you may have ever thought possible. It is not easy and in fact we can't with any hope of success attempt any of this on our own, but through Jesus Christ, God sends the Spirit of God to encourage, teach, tend and love us.
And that is more than just enough. It is abundant.