Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't Waste Your Life

Time is getting too short for us to be overly subtle about the Christian life. We need to make sure that each of us understands our relationship with Jesus, how that has changed us, and what we are suppose to be doing now. There is nothing worse than a wasted life. We should all be longing to hear the words, "Well done my good and faithful servant. Come in." And we should be dreading the opposite, "Go away! I don't know you." So many people are living under the delusion that they have a life time before they need to become serious about Jesus but we are told that everything will change in the blink of an eye. If you have wasted your opportunities, your life of service, there will be no second chance to make up for it. Today is the day of serving Jesus.

There will be no excuse, no blaming anyone else for your failings. Peter informs us that we have been given everything we need for a successful life with Jesus and service to our King:

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness 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 and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:3-4)

Note the relationship here: Jesus gave so that we can succeed. He did not just call us but by his divine power he gave us everything we need for true life and the godliness we have been called into. No excuses here. He gave us salvation and the example of the life we are to live for his glory and the power of a redeemed and transformed heart and mind to live it. All we have to do is decide to do it. The incredible part is the fact that we get to participate in the divine nature. Those who do submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ are being transformed to his character. The world will continue to get worse in its depravity but the children of the Father will look more and more foreign to this world as we remain anchored in the character of Jesus Christ. Or at least we should look like aliens. If we don't perhaps we should realize that we could be wasting the opportunity we have been given to serve.

This transformation is a process but we should be seeing results as we grow and mature. There are certain characteristics that we should be able to see in ourselves that tell us the transformation is coming along well:

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, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. (2 Peter 1:5-7)

Notice the language here, "make every effort to add to your faith". We have a participatory relationship with Jesus. It is not a matter of us laying back while he does the work on us. We have to put in the effort and the Spirit completes the job. We have to desire to be like this because the Holy Spirit is not going to fight with us over it. Although it is a progress it is not a matter of steps. We do not work on one thing and then move on to the next. The divine nature assures us that we possess a bit of each of these and they increase with our maturity:

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. (2 Peter 1:8)

As long as we see progress in these areas of character we are assured that we are not wasting our life and opportunity. However, if we are lacking these parts to our character or are not seeing a progress then Peter has some interesting words for us:

But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. (2 Peter 1:9)

I have to say that I do not like many of the directions the Church is going in, from the idea of prosperity, to positive thinking, to an attitude of privilege, to the thought of "we are better than you". It concerns me because it all takes away from our participation in the divine nature. It is a popular thinking, like ear candy, that gives people a false sense of being on the right track. We need to always remember that Jesus said the way is "narrow" which means it is sometimes difficult, requires a lot from us personally, and requires growth. The Spirit inspired Peter to give us this encouragement :

Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 2:10-11)

To participate in the divine nature is not optional. To participate means staying on the narrow path, of receiving a rich welcome home. Peter tells us that we should be eager to make sure that we are not wasting this opportunity we have been given. It is the only opportunity we have. We will not be coming back for a second chance. It is the only life you have to live. Jesus has called you to live your life for him by serving others. He has equipped you with his character to enable you to do that. That character must be growing and increasing in you. And he has promised that after our time here is done there is a glad welcome home waiting for us. So, what are you doing with this opportunity today?

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