In my ongoing meditation on 2 Peter, chapter 1, I am currently dwelling on the list of qualities that we should have and that should be increasing in our lives:
in our faith supply moral excellence,
in moral excellence, knowledge,
in knowledge self-control,
in self-control, perseverance,
in perseverance, godliness,
in godliness, brotherly kindness,
in brotherly kindness, love.
Today's focus is on self-control and perseverance. The idea of stick-to-it-iveness and never giving up. This is not a strong suit of mine, and it is something that I can see will be a struggle for my son as well. I love the progression of these virtues in the verses in 2 Peter. How beautiful and true. It isn't enough to have self-control, you have to persevere. Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know. I've done it thousands of times." That makes me giggle, and sigh. While I don't struggle with smoking, there are many things in my life that I have decided to do something about, with all the resolve in the world, only to have to decide all over again a few months later because I never followed through for longer than a few days. Ugh.
Thomas Edison once said, "Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time."
It is this knowledge and philosophy that I want to marry with this concept from Jan Denise: "When I'm tempted to do something that feels like giving up, I won't...because love doesn't give up (I Cor. 13). But, lest I push love aside, I will make sure that what I'm holding on to can coexist with love." Never, ever, ever give up... UNLESS, what I'm striving toward is not of God, for God IS love.
The next part of these verses in 2 Peter that humbles me to my core is that the attribute of godliness doesn't arrive on the scene until AFTER perseverance. Godliness isn't something that comes by half-hearted effort. The things that follow perseverance are the things that I find myself striving for and desiring the most in life: godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. The concept I've neglected all these years is that those attributes have to be "earned" in a sense, BUILT UP TO over time. We don't get to skip all the others and go straight to godliness! Though this is how I've lived much of my life in many ways. When I do this I end up with something very hollow that only echoes what true godliness is all about. Life is too short to settle for this kind of incomplete Christianity.
"If these qualities are mine and are increasing, they render me neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind and short sighted having FORGOTTEN his purification from his former sins."
What a slap in the face of God to forget all that Jesus has done for me...His sacrifice on the cross should be the impetus for my perseverance and self-control. Now THAT is something I can wrap my mind and heart around! It is time to PERSEVERE!
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!