Published by Jerry Baysinger on 27 Apr 2012 at 12:36 pm
When Christ Jesus is allowed full access to your life, your decisions will be based on the Word of God. Now that doesn’t mean you won’t meet with adverse circumstances. Some people have been led to think that if Christ Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you’ll never see hard times, and if you ARE in the midst of trials, then you’re out of God’s will, and God is trying to teach you a lesson. And I have to wonder how that goofy thinking ever got into the Body of Christ in the first place.
We can readily see how the early disciples ALL faced adversity for the Word of God that was in them. And we won’t? Jesus himself said the servant is not above his master, and we all know how Jesus suffered. But that’s not the end of the story, you see. Yes, troubles will come. But what we do with them is determined by how much of the Word of God really abides in us.
Did the early disciples face adversity because they were out of the will of God, or because there is a devil out there who Jesus described as the thief, who comes not but for to kill, and to steal and to destroy? If you chose the latter, you chose wisely. Of course, we can suffer greatly for making stupid decisions not based upon the Word of God. We can abuse our body and our health will suffer. We can spend ourselves into debt until we destroy our financial house. AND, we can speak against the Word of God and never see God’s blessing in our life. Face it; you cannot have the blessing that you speak against.
So, how do we make this Word of God work for us and not against us? We can see some good advice given by Peter in 2 Peter 1:1-12:
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2Pe 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
2Pe 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
2Pe 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
2Pe 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
2Pe 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
2Pe 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
2Pe 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2Pe 1:12 Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.
Let’s think of it like verses 5-7 are a dipstick in the engine of your car. When you want to check to see how much oil you have in your engine, you pull out the dipstick. If it reads full, then fine. But if it’s low, you need to add some oil to get it up to the full mark. And if you’re continually adding oil to bring it up to the full mark, then something is wrong and action needs to be taken to correct that problem. Our walk with Christ Jesus is somewhat like that. We need to constantly monitor that dipstick.
Yes, we’re given exceeding great and precious promises by the Word of God, that become ours by virtue of our relationship with Christ Jesus. They don’t automatically fall upon us like ripe walnuts falling out of a tree. It all starts with faith. But faith isn’t the whole enchilada. Some people think If I have faith, that’s all I need. Sorry, not so. Peter said, ADD TO YOUR FAITH VIRTUE. What’s virtue? From the same as G730; properly manliness (valor), that is, excellence (intrinsic or attributed): – praise, virtue. In other words, your dipstick doesn’t read full. Ok, you’ve added virtue, now what? Isn’t that enough? Nope. Still not full. and to virtue knowledge; Knowledge of what? the latest stock market quotes? No, you need knowledge of the Word of God, what He says for you to do and what not to do. Ok, knowledge added, now what? And to knowledge temperance. What’s temperance? From G1468; self control (especially continence): – temperance. You see, having faith and virtue and knowledge are not even enough. Some people have absolutely no self control. That’s why they are deep in debt, or have become gluttons or addicted to alcohol or other substances. Self control is abundantly needed in the Body of Christ. Without self control we often put our mouth in motion before we realize we left our mind at home, greatly hurting ourselves or others. And words cannot be called back into our mouths and become unsaid. But there’s more!
And to temperance patience: Are we patient with others? Are we patient with ourselves? You can’t lose a hundred pounds of excess belly fat in three weeks, no matter what they tell you on TV, nor can you build a sound financial base overnight. Are we patient with God?
OUCH! You stepped on a nerve there, Brother Jerry!!
You see, it takes time even for God to get things done. It took Him a whole week to build the universe. And then He rested on the seventh day. And He’s been working on you for longer than a week, and you’re still not done. I guess that’s why ever since God created mankind He has had no rest since. But don’t be discouraged, He’s been working on me for a long time too, and remember, we’re a work in progress. Not there yet, but not where we started either. Patience, Grasshopper….as they say in the movie.
And to patience godliness; You mean I’m not through yet? Nope. Time to ask yourself, What Would Jesus Do? He only did that which gave glory to His heavenly Father. He didn’t try to glorify Himself or get His way. He put His Father’s will first and foremost in His life. Everything He did was for the advancement of the Kingdom of God: thought, every word, every deed, every place He went, He did as God would do. How about you? Need to add some oil there yet? I certainly admit my dipstick doesn’t read full, so this applies to me, too.
And to godliness brotherly kindness; this means you are quick to show love and concern for others, even if it isn’t CONVENIENT for you, especially to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Or am I referring to “Brethren and Cistern”, in other words if it doesn’t suit you, then just dump your brethren in the cistern. Enough said there….
And to brotherly kindness charity. Are we there yet? That’s what kids always say when they are on a long trip: Are we there yet? No, but almost (go back and check patience level and add as necessary until full). Charity, what is charity? From G25; love, that is, affection or benevolence; specifically (plural) a love feast: – (feast of) charity ([-ably]), dear, love. We’re talking of the God kind of love here, that always does what is best for the other, unconditional love that is not based on returned love, nor basing that love on the other’s performance. And that’s the tough one, isn’t it? We find it easy to love those who first love us. But do we love the unlovely? (Do you love ME?)
And here it is: For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, if you’re struggling in any of these areas, don’t just sit around and say, Woe is me. DO something about it. Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Our relationship with Christ Jesus is an eternal thing, with no end. If you can’t see where you are lacking, honestly ask God to show you, and He will. He’s not going to beat you over the head if you’re lacking in any area, rather, He will encourage you to learn more of Him and apply that knowledge to your life. Remember the dipstick story. The problems you’re going through or have gone through are not necessarily because your dipstick does not read “full”. But how full that dipstick reads WILL determine to a large extent how you will react to trials and adverse circumstances in your life.
You CAN come through your hard times absolutely victorious, unscathed, and not even have the smell of the fire on you, and that’s how Christ Jesus intends you to live. He lived as your example of how a man or woman of God can do it God’s way and win in life over strife, sickness, poverty, and over every evil work of the devil. Just check the dipstick regularly. And don’t forget to bring it up to the full mark!