Monday, April 22, 2013

Addition Problem

It must have been pretty important, I guess, and real as opposed to just talk.

Consider it as practical rather than religious   
Peter wrote to some of the gatherings, at least a couple letters we know about. He's reminding them of things they need in order to change for the better.
Near the end of his life at the time, he promises to remind them as long as he can, and that he'll do his best to make sure they get reminded after he's gone.

He begins by telling them that their Father has given them what they need and that they can add on to it by choice.  He tells them they can even avoid the rottenness that seems to plague most folks.

If you can read it as practical instead of religious, it's good; an addition problem we can do that makes a difference.

It begins, Peter says, with the faith each one has been given,
 and he says to add virtue or goodness.
      If we're happy about our faith, perhaps it's almost automatic that we'd begin looking for ways to live it well.

Then add knowledge.
      Curiosity and maybe excitement feed our pursuit of knowledge; the more we know, the more fun the journey.

Then on top of the knowledge, add self control.
      This is where we start to reign in our emotions and desires and channel them profitably, but this is getting hard.

Then perseverance, which seems reasonable.
      Harder still, but if we don't stick with it, it won't become our lifestyle, our character, our example for our kids.  (They learn by what they see rather than what we tell them, by the way.)

Then godliness.
      Since we've already looked at virtue, this perhaps refers to sharing His values, His purposes as our own.

Then brotherly kindness.
      If we make it this far, then we're prepared with a heart to genuinely be lovingly related.

And finally love!  Finally.  The magic land!
      We know this love isn't a feeling; it's a choice, a heart; it's doing.  Not just talking about, not wishing or hoping, it's how we live.

This morning, I was reminded that all of this isn't a call to just think about and say, "well that's nice."

It  requires doing, but I know trying all this on my own probably won't get far.  So it's got to be what you do while you're with Him; a learn-by-doing kind of thing.  Kind of like working in the yard with your dad.

This all presumes Peter knew what he was talking about and wasn't just being religious.  What do you think?  Religion or Reality?