2 Peter 1:9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. (NKJV)
The Apostle Peter isn’t one to sugar coat things. He just flat out says “if you lack these Godly qualities you’re acting like you have forgotten you’re a Christian”. When I was a Drill Sergeant in the Army I made a similar statement to young privates in boot camp when they were goofing off.
I’d say, “Private, obviously you have forgotten you’re not back on the street!”. The “street” was a euphemism for their previous non-military life and behavior. And okay, I rarely actually called them “Private” either. It was usually something a bit more descriptive but you get the point! (Just so you will know, even as a Drill Sergeant for many years, I never cursed. “Profanity is a strong way to show weak mind!”).
Peter is using a very blunt statement as well. He’s knocking us on our foreheads with his knuckles saying, “hello? anyone home? You’re behavior shows that you are lacking certain Godly qualities. Have you forgotten you were saved? Hello? Anyone?”
2 Peter 1:5-7 – But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. (NKJV)
In part six of our series, we come to perseverance. This is generally one of those Christian words that most people have a vague definition of but can’t really nail down exactly what it means.
Perseverance is from the Greek word “hupomone” (hoop-om-on-ay) that is translated at different times as patience, endurance, continuance, waiting or steadfastness. It is the picture of a determination in person to not be deterred from a deliberate path or course of action no matter what the consequence.
It is the idea of setting your direction and no matter what happens you will not be distracted. It’s like the focus of a professional football running back. When the play begins, the running back sets his course up the field and even though he will be met with violent opposition, he will not quit running up field for any reason as long as he is physically capable. Crushing collisions, scrapes and cuts, bruises, aches and pains… no consequence will deter him as long as he is physically capable of continuing on towards the goal line.
The Apostle Paul liked sports analogies and there is a reason why. Athletes are known for their dogged perseverance to reach the intended goal. They will hurt, bleed, fight through injury, ignore pessimism and adversity….. pretty much endure anything to “win the prize” set before them.
A world class athlete will play by the rules (virtue), know everything there is to know about their sport (knowledge), make every decision in their life with a single focus (self control) and endure any amount of hardship or pain possible to reach the goal line, win the medal or be ranked number one (perseverance).
Worldly unsaved athletes are capable of this type of perseverance. O that we (who possess the Divine Nature of Christ) were as dedicated and focused.
Lord God, if only we had the same dedication to you as the natural man can have to a sport or an idea. Help us to learn the true meaning of perseverance and being willing to endure anything without being deterred from the Goal. In Jesus name, Amen.
Contemplation: What are you willing to endure to be good at a sport? To be good at your job? To maintain the lifestyle you lead? To be “liked”? How does that compare to what you’re willing to endure to be Godly? Are you willing to endure giving up personal time and recreation? Are you willing to endure people making fun of you and even hating you? Are you willing to endure imprisonment, injustice and death?
Application: We are willing to make great sacrifices and endure many discomforts to achieve a worldly goal. But often it’s “too hard” or “I just can’t do it” when it comes to spiritual matters. “I’m just not a morning person”; “I just don’t like to read”; “church is boring and besides that’s my only day off every week”. In order to persevere spiritually, you have to know, and see, the finish line. Can you see it?
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?