Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 7a [NIV – see verse in bold] … 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; 7a and to godliness, brotherly kindness; …
My Journal for Today: Yesterday we saw, from 2nd Peter 1, how the building of fruitfulness in the life of a true Christian moves from faith, adding goodness, knowledge, self-control, and unto Godliness (the Greek term, “eusebeia”). And in today’s addition, we see how godliness becomes “brotherly kindness,” which is a Greek term we Americans can recognize as “philadelphia,” the Greek from which we get the name of our City of Brotherly Love.
“Philadelphia” for the Greeks and those of the 1st century (and it still is today!) was/is the love of true friends. I’ve referred many times in my devotional journaling to the charge from Jesus (in John 13: 35) that observers would know that He (Christ) was in the heart of a believer when (and only when) that Christian developed and exhibited love to his family, friends, and especially to abject strangers [or even enemies]. Jesus taught that others see Himself in the life of a believer who can show real love to others [i.e., “philadelphia”], especially his enemies [which is the “agape” variety we’ll learn about tomorrow – yes, I read ahead ;) ].
If you claim to be a Christian, as do I, we will have the fruit of love in our hearts (see the first one on Paul’s list in Gal. 5: 22-23), which will first be exhibited in an outreach of love to others (i.e., the ‘philadelphia’ of today’s verse). So, check yourself out on God’s “philadelphia index” …
>>> Do you find yourself drawn with concern to others, especially the “unlovable?”
>>> Do you converse with others about deeper issues – not just surface talk?
>>> Do you find yourself sharing your time, talents, treasures with others?
If you are doing these things [or at least sincerely desiring to pursue them], you are a “phildelphia” kind of guy or gal! And if this is the case, take heart and praise God … because this quality in you is a true sign of your salvation and the enabling grace of God’s Spirit in your heart. Take it from a natural loner, who still struggles to reach out at times. I now find myself really caring for the needs of others and being convicted when I don’t reach out to help in some way. In my former agnostic life, I could easily look the other way, without any remorse, when I saw someone in need where I could help. Back then, it took little to shun their needs aside. But now God won’t let me do that – even if my still sinful heart would like to.
When you’re saved, you slowly grow into that new creature written of in 2nd Cor. 5: 17, and that is one who will reach out in “philadelphia” love to others. So, the next time you reach out to someone with a helping spirit, tell them that you’re doing some “Philadelphia Christian” work for God.
My Prayer Today: Thank you, Lord, for the love I have from other Christians. Amen