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Not always virtuous

If you have ever wondered about how to have an effective relationship with anyone, you know you have to get to know the individual a bit before you can truly 'figure out' what it is you each 'bring' into the relationship and what it is you 'offer' to each other. For example, if I think about my BFF, I know she brings an ability to tell it like it is - she doesn't pull her punches and I appreciate this about her. When I need to hear truth - she hits me with it. When I need her to hold me accountable - she reminds me of my commitment. When I find myself getting a little too 'bent' in one direction - she helps me laugh and put that stuff aside for a while so I can get refocused. These are just a few of the myriad of ways she 'brings' and 'offers' something into the relationship. When it comes to our relationship with God, what do you suppose we 'bring' and 'offer' within it? You might just be surprised to find that we 'bring' very little in comparison to what God 'brings' and we 'offer' some things that are pretty flawed compared to what he 'offers'!

His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue. Through these things, we have received God’s great and valuable promises, so we might escape the corruption of worldly desires and share in the divine nature. To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add discipline; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. For if you possess these traits and multiply them, then you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed.... (2 Peter 1:3-8)

God has 'given' us EVERYTHING we need. Not just some of the things he wants to 'part with' or 'offer up' to us, but everything. We RECEIVE not only the things that restore us to right relationship with him, but everything we need to remain within that right relationship. I may not always get this in my life, thinking there must be something I am missing whenever I repeatedly fail at something, but the matter is settled - I have everything I need to overcome that failure. I don't know about you, but I don't always exhibit the virtue in my life that bespeaks what I have been given in Christ. Virtue is just the ability and consistency to act or do what is right and good. Do I always do 'good'? No, certainly not. In fact, I blunder through this life probably about as well as you do! Yet, to today's right choices, I will add tomorrow's right ones, and then the next day's. In time, the 'match' between the virtue God brings within the relationship and the virtue I begin to exhibit will become more consistent.

Making right choices leads us to an understanding of our why it is we made those wrong choices in the first place. That is where knowledge comes into play. We find we recognize we are about to choose a wrong action or response quicker because we have learned to listen to God's voice a little quicker or with a greater intensity. In turn, we find we live more 'disciplined' lives - control, order, right conduct (that which is becoming of a child of the Most High God). We learn very quickly that frequently exhibited right choices, made for the right reasons, in a manner that is out of heartfelt love and appreciation for the one we are IN relationship with begin to introduce an 'endurance' into that relationship that 'rides out' and 'overcomes' the occasional wrong choices. It doesn't take much to develop an 'endurance' in relationship when we are both committed to it as much as God is committed to us! His 'endurance' becomes ours and his endurance is encompassed in repeated infusions of his grace. In turn, we move more consistently into places of unmeasured and limitless enjoyment of each other.

We don't always 'relate' well in our earthly relationships - I am a living example of not always being very 'virtuous' in my interactions. If we lean into Jesus and get this heavenly relationship with him right first and foremost, we have a much better chance of developing strong and vital earthly relationships that are consistently virtuous! Just sayin!


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