Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
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.
Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (New International Version)
The deepest yearning in every human soul is to become whole again, to return to their spiritual source, to experience belonging and union with the Beloved.
In the beginning, all of creation was a vessel filled with divine light. Then, it broke, and the shards of holiness were strewn across the earth. Those broken pieces are all around us. Sometimes, maybe oftentimes, we don’t see them because of our own darkness.
My friends, we have a simple but profound task: To bend down, find the broken shards, and pick them up.
This work of making a real and lasting contribution to humanity confirms our vocational calling and is made possible by divine power.
And yet, so many of us feel like a tiny Who on a speck of dust, with such a small insignificant voice, that nobody can hear us.
But somebody does hear us – and that somebody has very large elephant ears which are attuned to listen.
A person’s a person, no matter how small. A person has light, no matter how dim.
A great deception which befalls humanity is the lie that we aren’t enough – that somehow we lack voice and light in our core personhood.
This leads to another deceitful thought: God is holding out on me; I got the short end of things; I was never given the sort of voice which can be heard, or the kind of light which can burn bright.
Those deceiving vampires only suck the life out of us. What we need, instead, is to imbibe deeply of robust theology which empowers us to live faithfully in this world of corruption.
We have everything we need to grow in grace; God’s provision for us is total and complete.
By grace, we can discern between truth and error; endure hostility and hardship; persevere with patience as we await the new heaven and new earth; and confront anything in this present life with confidence and hope. We can do it because we’ve been equipped for it all.
Core to all this provision is the very life of Christ. Jesus is the source of the power; and his is the grace needed to live life to the full. The same resurrection power which raised Christ from the grave is available and provided to us.
God’s supply for us is sufficient. It is enough. We have everything we need to walk with boldness through any dark alley. The believer’s confidence is in carrying the cross – which keeps the deceiving vampires of guilt, shame, doubt, and distrust at bay.
Sheer cognitive belief, however, is insufficient. It’s only half the equation. The other half is to let our light shine, be the salt of the earth, and take up the gifts given us by God and use them.
Therefore, put significant energy into your faith development through knowing your call to bless the world and not curse it.
Confidently using faith, fully participate in God’s divine power through the qualities of:
- Goodness. Cultivation of moral excellence is both helpful and needed in all our relationships. Goodness is like a seed planted. It proper amounts of water and sun, as well as continual tending to keep the weeds away.
- Knowledge. There are two words in the ancient Greek for knowledge: one is a reference to acquiring information; and the other refers to actively using the information provided. The Apostle Peter uses the latter – an experiential knowledge which is wise, discerning, and discreet.
- Self-Control. This is the ability to get a grip on yourself, to avoid controlling others and focus on all things within your own control. Ultimate control belongs to God; self-control belongs to you and me.
- Perseverance. To see the big picture, to look ahead and keep your eye on the goal, is the lived practice of endurance. Everyone has patience. The real issue is whether we will tap into it, or not.
- Godliness. The heart of godliness is a growing awareness of self, others, and God – rightly relating to them all with wholeness and integrity.
- Mutual Affection. Basic human kindness is the basis of any healthy community and every relationship.
- Love. This is the Christian’s consummate virtue. Whereas affection is to be mutual, love can always be done whether someone loves us back, or not. Genuine love can be directed at the unlovely, even enemies.
Effectiveness in living a virtuous life is not a matter of more but better.
It doesn’t happen on an industrial scale with a mass production of spiritual resources for the busy Christian consumer.
Rather, it occurs in the soil of God’s grace, mostly below the surface of the ground, slowly but surely germinating with faith, rising in hope, and producing a harvest of love that blesses both church and world.
A little bit of Jesus is enough to turn the world upside-down. You don’t need a big loaf of bread; a miniscule communion wafer will do.
A tiny mustard seed of faith can move a mountain.
A kernel of goodness can produce a harvest of righteousness.
A bit of knowledge and awareness can uproot the weeds of bigotry and hate.
A grain of self-control can grow into a field of peace.
A simple insight can create a cascade of transformation.
A single act of kindness can alter the course of another’s life forever.
A few seconds of attention can change the world.
A teensy amount of love can feed everyone on the earth.
We have everything we need to realize the new society Christ has made possible. We are in want of nothing. We are enough because Christ is enough. So, live into your calling with courage and confidence.
Heavenly Father, you are the One ever-present on this earth in your only Son and through your Spirit:
May your Name be shown forth as holy through us, your people.
May your gracious and benevolent reign come, establishing peace and justice, hope and life; and may your moral and ethical will be done, here on earth, as it is always done in heaven.
Give us what we need for today; and adjust our vision into a clear 20/20 awareness of others’ needs.
Forgive us of our great and many sins, for the immoral and unethical things we have said and done, and for the good words and good deeds we have failed to say and do; forgive us, just as we forgive those who have egregiously sinned against us.
Don’t let us amble down a dark path of temptation, of hardening our hearts and closing our minds; but instead, deliver us from the machinations of evil, and set our feet upon the lighted path of righteousness.
To You, everlasting God, belongs all sovereign decrees of justice and truth;
To You, almighty God, belongs all powerful deeds of righteousness and goodness;
To You, holy God, belongs all glorious displays of love and compassion;
Through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who with You and the blessed Holy Spirit are one God, now and forevermore. Amen.