His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises… for this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. — 2 Peter 1:1-11
We sometimes wonder why Christians turn to all manner of “self-help” books, strategies, exercises and gurus. Do we not have sufficient tools in the Christian’s biblical toolbox to help people who struggle in their daily lives? Is Christianity truly for the sweet by-and-by, offering little practical guidance for day to day living?
It’s not that Scripture doesn’t offer such guidance; it’s that Lutherans, at least, don’t know the Bible well enough to know where to look for such advice and counsel. If you don’t know where to look, then for a start, look at our reading from 2 Peter!
The beauty in this passage is that Peter begins by reminding us that, in His divine power, God has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. He does this through the knowledge of Him, Christ Jesus, who calls us to share in His own glory and excellence! We are not called and gifted for mediocrity, but to share in Christ’s own glory and excellence! And then Peter goes on to tell us how to incorporate this glory and excellence, putting it into practice in our lives.
Without repeating it word for word, the apostle encourages us to make every effort to supplement faith with virtue, virtue with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with steadfastness, which leads to godliness, brotherly affection and love. This is a recipe for a happy, joy-filled, balanced, Christ-like life! And it flows from the gifts and promises of God, given to us freely, so that we might have all things “pertaining to life and godliness.”
Prayer: Almighty Father, thank you for granting us these gifts and promises, that we may have healthy, joyful lives as followers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Advent Action: Write the verse above on a card—and then make several copies to share with those who may need God’s help in their lives.
The 2016 Advent Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.