2 Peter 1:5 – 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. For if you have these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being unproductive. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – When we move from one quality on the list to another, we are not done with the previous quality. We must work to improve each one.
My Advice – Never think that you have arrived in your Christian life. There are always new Christ-like qualities to pursue and already “attained” Christ-like qualities to improve.
James 4:17 – Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – It is not enough to avoid doing things we should not do. We must also not leave undone the things we know we should do.
My Advice – You will not always be called to solve all the ills around you. But where you know that God is calling you to action and it is within your power to take action (and it will be because God always equips the called) make sure you follow through. It may not be easy, but it will be rewarding.
Hebrews 13:20,21 – May the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing His will. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – God will not call us to something that He has not equipped us to do.
My Advice – God has richly equipped you. Make sure you also use your talents to do His work.
Titus 3:14 – Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – God did not save us to sit around and merely wait for His Son’s return. We must live productive lives.
My Advice – Live a productive life that not only provides for your daily needs, but allows you time to do good things. Remember, you are not defined by what you do for a living. You are defined by how you live your life (and of course by your relationship to Christ).
2 Timothy 2:15 – Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of truth.
My Musings – A great tragedy in life would be to live out our days in such a way that when we faced God on the other side, we felt ashamed because of the things that we had done that we should not have, or the things we did not do that we should have done. We can guard against that by learning the truth of His Word.
My Advice – Live your life in a manner that you do not need to feel ashamed. So as you face various situations in life, ask yourself if you would feel ashamed if God knew you had done this and shouldn’t have or that you did not do it and should have. Understand that it is not “if” He knows, He knows. That should be your best guide in decision-making.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13 – I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (NIV 1984)
My Musing – It can be a dangerous thing to do, to get so wrapped up in a leader, that you lose sight of who it is that you were following in the first place. We’ve gotten a taste of that in recent weeks and months as certain high-profile ministry leaders have “fallen,” or at least stumbled. Where does that leave the faithful flock? Or the “replacement” shepherd that must carry on?
We also see it on occasion, when there are changes in leadership due to retirement, pastors moving on to a new flock, or other such changes in a Church. Some followers, leave the flock to follow the past leader to their new “pasture,” never giving the new shepherd a chance. Others simply fall out of the flock altogether, so tied to the former shepherd to continue on anywhere. Still others remain as “baaad” sheep, criticizing the new shepherd (“our old shepherd never did it that way”) or otherwise causing quarrels and creating divisions amongst the rest of the flock that is trying to remain faithful. Then, there is that last group. Staying faithful throughout the changes, some of which might be hard, uncomfortable or involve a shepherding (worship?) style they really don’t prefer, all for the sake of the rest of the flock and the shepherd they really have been following all along – the Good Shepherd.
My Advice – When changes come (some that may personally disappoint), and they will, stay faithful to the flock and to Christ. Paul, Apollos and Cephas were all good shepherds of the flock. But all were following Christ. Eventually, they passed the torch to others. Paul was martyred and left his calling to people like Timothy, John Mark and Luke, also all good shepherds. And the Church survived. After all, who was it that was really crucified for the Church? For you? Soli Deo Gloria!
1 Thessalonians 1:3 – We continually remember before our God your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (NIV 1978)
My Musings – Work, labor and endurance, without faith, love and hope are meaningless and unfulfilling.
My Advice – Make sure you give your life to a purpose you love, that increases your faith, and that leaves you with hope.