Man, reading through the books of Peter have set my faith on fire. I want to chat with you about so many of the passages. There is such power to live a life of strong faith within these titles. And these two small books speak specifics to all of us walking in a spiritually mismatch marriage. So hold on to your hats, we’re gonna experience a whirlwind of faith that shakes our world in every good way.
I want to start in a weird place, turn to 2 Peter, chapter 1. It was in this chapter, months ago, that I realized the Spirit was pointing out the pathway of faith to me. I wrote in my Bible at the time in the margin: The Pathway of a Life of Faith. Let’s take a look:
Let me point out verse three:
By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.
I want to talk about power in the next few weeks, but for now just hold on to this as a teaser.
Move along to verses four through eight:
4 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.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 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.
Okay, do you perceive the stepping stones, I call them stepping stones of His Promises.
Click on this photo, print, use for homework. :)
I hope this visual cements the steps of faith in your mind.
Walking along these stepping stones is what moves us from nursing on milk as spiritual babies, to mature men and women of faith. All of us are currently standing on one of these stones. We take steps forward or back depending on our circumstances and faith maturity. Overall, I think that we understand most of these concepts of faith development and can pursue them through practice and through the encouragement of the Word.
All, with the exception of one.
I’m finding that making the leap from mutual affection to love is difficult for many believers. Let me explain. As believers we love God. We adore Him, our Savior, Jesus and the Spirit. We spend time with Him, worship, praise, pray and find that loving God is a pretty cool thing. It's easy to love God. Where we struggle is loving people.
And I “get it.” People are hard. People disappoint, let you down, they outright lie, deceive and harm you. People are selfish, arrogant, sexually immoral, greedy, and lewd, filled with envy as well as a host of other hurtful and awful character traits. Sounds like the passage out of Mark 7. And this is just a list of our relatives……. *grin* Let alone the strangers in the world. *double grin*
Christians love God but we often struggle to love people. I know this to be true of so many people including Pastors, teachers of the Word, life-long believers and those whom you would never guess that sound like they love but their actions or their life or even their own words betray them. Because they have been offended and hurt they see people as an annoyance, a bother, awful and unworthy of their time and effort let alone their love. Yikes, could this be me too?
But Peter is reiterating a command of Jesus: Love one another. But how?
Ah, now we are getting somewhere.
I am convinced that several months ago the Lord gave me a picture of a combination lock to help me communicate how to love others like Jesus. And I believe there are several components to making this last great hurdle from affection to real-Godly-love.
As believer’s we have an edge when it comes to loving people because we are empowered and enabled to view people through the eyes of Jesus.
Let’s consider a husband who struggles with anger or alcohol or both.
Jesus sees a broken boy underneath this man’s addiction and explosions of rage, who was unloved by his earthly father (most likely). A man who never received affirmation of his value nor training on how to be a man of integrity. He is an angry man who feels he is always a victim of everyone and everything. Looking deeper still, Jesus sees the demonic oppression over his life from the spirit of drink and the spirit of anger. And mostly likely, what Jesus sees at the core of all of this is: An orphan spirit and a spirit of self-loathing or/and self-hatred.
Whew! That’s a lot!
Sometimes we need to just take a minute and ask the Lord to help us "see" the person in front of us, who has just ticked us off, through the eyes of Christ. This moment of clarity will lead to some pretty amazing revelations and realizations that can create a paradigm shift in our thoughts, actions, and reactions and then release authentic love for this person.
It’s a process. It’s another set of stepping stones. Here they are.
- Supernatural Love – Lord, I can’t love on my own willpower. I ask for Your heart that I may love others like you love. Place Your heart within me and let me always speak and act out of Your love.
- Prayer – Lord, help me to see with your eyes. Grant me perception and understanding.
- Forgiveness – Lord, You need to help me to even want to forgive. Lord, I can’t do this on my own. You will need to change my heart and soul to forgive this person through your supernatural power and love.
- Compassion – Lord, release in me supernatural compassion to love people, all people with your heart. Let Your compassion reign in my heart with every person with whom I have contact, on the phone, text, face-to-face, any capacity, whether they are a waiter at my lunch table, the janitor of the building, the pastor of my church, my husband, my wife, my children, their teachers, anyone and everyone. Lord, let me see them with your eyes. Always with compassion. In Jesus name. Amen.
- No Judgement – O Lord, Jesus. I will not judge people by their outward appearance but will seek through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to perceive what is in their heart. Help me to see where they are broken and help me to live to love them in that broken place.
- Child-like Faith – Lord, make love simple. Make love easy. Pour so much of your love into me that it flows out freely like a child, through a river of living water of love onto every person I meet and especially to my relatives, my immediate family and to my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Okay, a lot already to study, contemplate and pray. Tell me where you are on the stepping stones. What you are currently praying. Has this post of The Study of Peter helped you?
Today's challenge/homework (for those who love homework): click on the photo in this post of the stepping stones, print it out. Take it into your prayer time and ask God about the stones here and which one, or more than one, He is currently asking you to seek to understand. Listen as the Holy Spirit guides. He might direct you to write names next to stones or issues or prayers. I would love for you to share those with me in a week or so.
I love you my friends. See you on Monday for another bunch of great words from the books of Peter. And Dineen will be sharing on Saturday. Woo Hoo! It's a blast reading the Word of God with you! Hugs, Lynn