Not at 100% yet

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

How many things can we say we really make every effort to develop in our lives? I played guitar for a while, but I never made an effort to become very good at it. I did some jewelry making in high school, but it never continued once I was out of school. I did a little leather working, but that too fell by the wayside. I went to Bible College, but never pastored a church. It did open a door in my heart to a deeper study of the Word of God, though. There are some things we 'pursue', but never really 'finish', while there are others we desire to finish well, no matter the cost. Let your faith be one of those things that you 'finish well', no matter the cost.

Godliness doesn't 'just happen' - it is a lifelong pursuit, complete with our stumbles and bumbles, ups and downs, and renewed commitments all along the way. Faith is 'built upon' all throughout our lives. We may not ever get to the point where we feel like it is 100% complete - but we never give up on learning the lessons of faith God wants to teach us along the way. We have been cleansed from a life of sin - but we don't always live like we are! We have begun the walk, but we haven't finished it yet. Grow in God - faith leads to a set of different choices (moral excellence being the pursuit). 

As we discover what God says to us in his Word, we begin to see that our lives need to be affected at a very deep level by those standards he has laid out so carefully for us. As we learn to make right choices one-by-one, we discover there are also 'wrong choices' we make along the way. We learn to bring those wrong one to him and seek his renewal and restoration as we repent of our sins. Then we might just discover the wrong ones were made because we didn't embrace what God told us in the first place - so we take that knowledge and use it to allow change to come in our heart and minds.

Growth requires incremental change. I think we get a little confused on that one - believing that coming to Christ brought about all the change we will need in this lifetime. Evil still abounds around us - we must choose moral excellence each time we are confronted by it. Self-control must guide our actions, and sometimes we even need to experience a little 'godly endurance' through all the upheaval and chaos that evil brings into our lives. The struggles don't end - there is just a different way of dealing with them, walking through them, and coming out on the other side of them. It is this closeness of relationship with Jesus that makes the difference. Just sayin!


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