Blogger's Note: Posted from the ship harbor in Venice Italy where we are on the Nieuw Amsterdam cruise vessel, awaiting our cruise into the seven seas of Europe/Asia tomorrow with the Insight for Living/Inspirational Cruise team. It was a lovely morning devotional here in our stateroom. And here is what God gave me this morning from my time with Him and John MacArthur's Strength for Today devotional book.
Passage of the Day: 2nd Peter 1: 9 (see bold below) … 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; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities [see verses 5 – 7] in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
My Journal for Today: In the past few days in my devotional journal entries, we’ve looked at several spiritual qualities which, when experienced and practiced in the growth of a Christian, help to give clarity to the reality of that believer’s salvation and walk in the Spirit [i.e., sanctification]. And as these qualities [above in verses 5 – 7] become more and more apparent [i.e., matured] in your life, you will experience a boost in the confidence of who you are in Christ.
However, the opposite of that premise is also the case [see in bold/underlined above in 2nd Peter 1: 9]. If we, as Christians, choose to make choices that take us away from Peter’s character list above, moving us farther and farther away from our fellowship with Christ, we, as Peter teaches in today’s passage, can become spiritually myopic and “forgetful,” unable to retain the fruitfulness and spirit-led growth which could be ours in a deep and abiding relationship with Christ. When we choose to abandon the disciplines of the faith, the result will likely cause us to be spiritually short-sighted in our own selfish forgetfulness. And always remember we humans have – and continue to battle – an ever deceitful heart (see Jer. 17: 9), which Satan loves to use as leverage against us when we succumb to its sinfully magnetic power.
That’s why we, as followers of Christ, need to do as Peter exhorts in the passage from his 2nd epistle (above), continually and diligently practicing the spiritual virtues of the faith in order to protect our spiritual vision and memory. So, we must know that the longer we choose to remain blind and/or forgetful to those commitments and/or actions which keep us close to Christ, we will drift farther and deeper into spiritual nearsightedness and forgetfulness, which, in turn, damages our Christian witness.
And that’s how our enemy, Satan, loves to dampen the spiritual power of Christians … to lull us into selfish or sin-laden choices, which render our testimony and witness useless to God and His purposes for our lives. I’m sure that we all want to do what Peter has exhorted [above] and to be empowered by God’s Spirit and grace to be a bright light in this dark world, glorifying God (as Christ exhorted in a verse you likely have memorized, Matt. 5: 16). But the brightness of our light to glorify God will be proportionate to our surrender and discipline as we allow God’s Spirit to refine and mature the fruit His Spirit has implanted in our soul. We, as Christians, choose to receive all God has to offer us and to become all we can be in our relationship with Christ.
My Prayer Today: Lord, help me stay close to you and to be clear of vision to Your saving grace. Amen