March 13th - Spiritual Pro-activity
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NKJV)
Of course, I could tell you all the kinds of activities that you should try to avoid as a Believer. I could write books and preach series of sermons, that would last for years, warning you of the sins, addictions, and foolish behavior that you would be better off avoiding altogether. Think with me for a moment; most of the news that you read online or in a newspaper is negative. Too often, "we" who are teachers and preachers, fall into the same trap and preach a very negative message. "Wait! I thought that the Gospel was suppose to be 'Good News!'"
If we, the Church, are to teach the whole truth that is expressed in the Bible, it is impossible to avoid teaching on subjects that might be considered negative. On the other hand, most of us already know that we are sinners, and like all other sinners gracing the face of the planet, we "sin and fall short of the glory of God." In short, we are damaged goods. I can hear the voice of Linda Ronstadt now, "You're no good, you're no good, you're no good, baby you're no good." Message received loud and clear!! Cutting through all the negativity I hear another voice saying, "Neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more." I like this voice--I need to listen to this voice--I need to cling to the message this voice brings.
The Apostle Peter gave us a recipe of spiritual pro-activity that will lead us to live a life of fruitfulness. Here are some "wonderful" activities that you can passionately participate in without fear or condemnation. Live virtuously. Obtain and pursue knowledge. Be disciplined. Stay under control. Show grace when under fire. Draw neigh unto God. Practice kindness. Lastly, just love people. Trust me--if you give yourself to a pro-active lifestyle filled with these noble pursuits--you will probably be too busy to do any of the "thou shalt nots" that preachers like to preach about!
Author's Note: I always loved a line in a Steely Dan song called, "Turn that Heartbeat Over Again." It goes like this: "Love your mother, love your brother, love them till they run for cover..." That is what a spiritually pro-active life should look like. We actively and continually uplift, encourage, help, serve, protect, teach and love the people around us. What a wonderful way to represent Jesus and live a Godly legacy in our wake! RJD