The word from Peter= if you believe Jesus is trustworthy, the make it your priority to learn to live the way he says. Don’t be lazy, don’t be fooled, don’t be discouraged: grow!
Lazy = “I believe, but… I dunno… I guess I believe, maybe… I dunno…. “
(energy and resources go to other ‘stuff’).
Fooled = Hey, this teacher helps me find ways to believe and not change! Sweet…
(all talk no character; many polls show this is a huge problem in many Christians)
Discouraged = I thought I would see changes quicker and easier…
(lose hope and give up when things don’t go like they wished)
be diligent (not lazy) = take the gift of your forgiveness and your relationship to your creator and work and learning how your heart is supposed to work. Work to understand how grace can and should transform you into the kind of person you are grateful to be. Eagerly want the freedom that comes from being trustworthy to do the wise and loving thing.
be wise (not fooled) = read the text! Just look how many times in the New Testament writer after writer urges us on to make decisions to put energy into character transformation. The point of God’s grace is to empower us to live like he intends, not to be passive. Don’t be fooled by teachers who explain away the theme of book after book in the New Testament. Learn what is taught by Jesus and his students and you will see that there is work for you to do, not to get saved/born again…, but because you have been saved from sin and now are empowered by grace to have your efforts at living well be effective!!!
be hopeful, (not discouraged) = change takes time. Christ has promised to set the world right. Ultimately it will be through a dramatic act of judgment against wrong and an establishment of right. We often hope it will come soon, so it will all be done. But if it hasn’t come yet, then stay diligent as an agent of justice and mercy patiently press on!
OK, now what?
1. Make sure you understand that you cannot ‘earn’ your salvation. It is a gift of grace, received through trust/faith in who Jesus is and what he has done.
2. Make sure you understand that salvation means being part of God’s family and God’s purposes. That means you now have a bigger agenda. You need to apply God’s grace to your character and be used by God as he sees fit.
3. Treasure God by realizing every good thing in you, in others, in the world, and worth hoping for is from him. ACTIVELY DEVELOP THE HABIT OF GRATITUDE. Learn to voice ‘thanks’ to God all the time. It doesn’t have to be for others to hear, necessarily, but from your heart, in your head… intentionally say thank you to God more and more often for more and more types of things.
4. Treasure ‘godliness’. The stuff you treasure should be for the way it helps you give and receive appropriate love. That is what being human, created in the image of God, is primarily about.
– write out gratefulness and store it.
– read responsible biographies of people worth emulating
– notice and reflect on goodness
– start doing what you can do and step by step learn to do more (from being friendly to being sacrificial)