It’s been one of those seasons. You know, the dry kind? The kind where my prayer life looks like 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at night, and maybe something at lunch if I remember. The kind where I lose my Bible somewhere underneath the stack of yet-to-be-folded laundry sitting on my bedroom floor. And the kind that leads a lackluster discipleship group because my own spiritual life has taken a hit.
It hasn’t been the greatest season, to say the least. And yet, in my noncommitment, God surprises me. Just the other day I was going through a devotional that my church put together and I came across 2 Peter 1: 3 – 9.
“His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.” (NIV)
What dazzled me about this passage was the fact that God had given me new eyes to read it and a new life stage to appreciate it. In August, my poetry class started, and when school starts I devote myself to being a student. What that looked like was an increased time in reading collections of poetry and decreased time in reading God’s word.
Over the last several months, I have felt the absence of those truths in small ways and big ways (impatience, unkindness, and unforgiveness). In reading this passage, God was gently reminding me that He has given me the power to live a godly life but in neglecting time with Him, I was suffering for it.
Before being reminded of this truth, I was set on a path of continued dedication to my schoolwork over time spent with the Lord. But in His rich mercy, God called my attention back to Him through the richness (and poetic!) language of this passage.
Secondly, in looking at this passage, God is teaching me how to relentlessly pursue holiness just as He is pursuing me. He asks us to start with faith and add to it the following qualities: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love. Can we possess these qualities in “increasing measure” when neglecting time with God? This semester taught me that I can’t. Is it possible to dedicate our lives, with singular vision, to increasing the ways we practice qualities like self-control, godliness, and love? Yes! Because we’ve been given the power to do so.
In neglecting to nurture my faith, I was rendered “ineffective and unproductive in [my] knowledge of [the] Lord Jesus Christ.” My effectiveness as an ambassador for Christ was hindered by short-sightedness and pursuit of the wrong things. My prayer for us, as women after God’s heart, is to mirror how Christ pursues us in how we pursue Him.
thank you for this reminder
to live godly lives–
may we not neglect our faith
in pursuit of lesser things.