I didn’t always get this! I grew up in a religious system that focused so much energy on not doing the wrong things. This would have been great if more energy were spent on the doing the right things as well. This way of living can be complicated because it seems we are seeking God’s approval.
I remember the night I gave my life Jesus. I was six years old. My teacher at church told me that bad people go to hell. If I didn’t want to go to hell when I die, I should give my life to Jesus. I was a bad kid, so I thought giving my life to Jesus was the right thing to do.
That was it! Nothing came after that. There was no instruction for reading my Bible. There was no instruction about talking to God. There was nothing about how that prayer was supposed to change my life for the next several decades.
I was THAT KID that went to Christian School and was always at church, but lived a life that did not bear any fruit at all. My life reflected the kind of life that was modeled for me by a handful of individuals.
As a freshman in college, that whole scenario changed forever.
I read these words in 2 Peter 1, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
I want to share a couple of thoughts that have stuck with me for the past twenty-two years.
- God’s power is involved in every day that I live. Each day that I wake up should enhance the kingdom of God in some way.
- I have a responsibility to make every effort that I am growing closer to Jesus. Those efforts should be noticeable by people I interact with during each day.
- When I am growing closer to Jesus, I should sin less than I did in previous seasons of life.
I was talking to my daughter earlier in the week about always doing the right thing, even when it’s hard. Each of us faces those hard days. I have days that I would like to do the wrong thing (on purpose), but doing the right thing is always better.
Maybe you have season when it seems you cannot do the right things, ever. Everybody can understand when you and I have a bad day. Some can understand when you and I have a bad week. Life can be stressful.
If you and I begin to have bad months, we should start to evaluate if we are allowing God’s power to be involved in our lives. The power of God is the salvation that changes our lives, not just our death.
We should also ask about our effort in growing closer to Jesus. Life is a journey that has good days and bad days, we can walk closely to Jesus through each of them.