Get your Daily Encouragement with the Jesus Minute
As I have studied and taught the Scriptures for over 50 years, there are a few passages that stand out over all the rest-the ones that have made a significant difference in my life. Peter writes one of these passages and sums up 8 most vital practices for Jesus’ followers. These practices are most down-to-earth and have the most specific and astounding promises attached to them.
The 8 practices are undergirded by a foundation of promises from God, Himself: Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you-your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. (II Peter 1:3-4…The Message)
The 8 qualities or practices are listed out as follows: Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. (II Peter 1:5-7)
Now, NOTE the promises that are yours, if you faithfully act out these practices: Promise 1-For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Promise 2-For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.
Promise 3-Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; Promise 4-for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. (II Peter 1:8-11)
The first action-step here is FAITH. This is the basis for your entire spiritual life and growth. Every one of the other practices is to be added to your faith.
Jesus viewed faith as a verb! For me, translating “faith” as trust activates my faith by personalizing it. When Jesus claimed, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me will not hunger, and he who believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus is not asking you to add him to your belief system, he wants you to trust him. In that same conversation, the people asked Jesus: “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” In other words, “How can we do the work that God requires of us?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:28-29) Again, Jesus is not saying that the work of God is to add belief about Jesus being sent by God to their list of beliefs. Jesus is saying, “This is the work of God, that you TRUST in the one God sent.” Who is this one? His name is Jesus. Your first and primary action-step is to practice this faith by TRUSTING Jesus for everything in your life. Don’t just believe; personally trust in Jesus with your entire life!