Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 6b … [NIV – see emboldened verse]] 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; …
My Journal for Today: Yesterday we were aided by John MacArthur (from his devotional in Strength for Today) to see that one clear sign of the true, maturing Christian is temperance (or “self control”). Today from the latter portion of that same verse [from 2nd Peter 1: 6b] Peter takes Christlikeness beyond “egkrateia,” adding “hupomene,” or perseverance. Ultimately, as one reads in the last phrase of 2nd Peter 1: 6, Peter is saying that adding perseverance to self control leads to “godliness,” [the Greek term for the latter being “eusebeia”].
Perseverance with any of the fruit of the Spirit (see Gal. 5: 22-23) is necessary for one to build a Christlike character. And the word picture I like to use for “perseverance” is that of a rock climber grabbing on and clinging to a rock because his very life depends on it. And that’s true of our life as a Christian. In faith, believing in the saving/enabling grace of Christ, we need to grab onto Christ, THE ROCK, clinging to Him by belief in His word, and holding on for dear life – our life of worship with Him as Lord. And to add another word picture of “hupomene” … is like a bulldog, who is gifted with supernaturally strong jaws to hold on to whatever it bites, … never letting go. In the Christian life, perseverance is the living out of 2nd Cor. 12: 9 and 1st Cor. 10: 13; and it is dogged trust revealed in Prov. 3: 5 – 6 and Rom. 8: 28. [I’m assuming by now that you have all those verses duly memorized!].
Our model, as always, in any of these character traits, is Jesus, Who exhibited the quality of “hupomene” perfectly and completely as we read in Hebrews 12: 1 – 2 [see below], … this quality of never letting go of God’s will, the attitude quality to which all Christians should aspire.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 12: 1 – 2 ... 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Living out self-control, with perseverance, produces a lifestyle of godliness [or “Christlikeness”], according to Peter in today’s passage … a lifestyle of true worship or living sacrifice, to which the Apostle Paul addressed in Romans 12: 1 – 2 (another passage you should have memorized). And when a Christian experiences such “living sacrifice” (i.e., perseverance in self-control), other Christians can take note of a life filled with ample evidence of the reality of salvation, … one who is living out the command of Christ for discipleship (see Luke 9: 23).
And to move to completion of our topic this month, such a Christian will be one who is well assured of his/her salvation. I pray that all who read here with me are Christians growing in that confidence. I’m sure not there yet; but I’m getting there.
My Prayer Today: Help me hold on to You, Lord, as my life depends on You. Amen