Growth and development is within reach for each of us. We need to start cross-training in our faith to grow in the Lord Jesus. Let us consider today what being productive and effective looks like in our world, and how we can prepare ourselves for that impact…
2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
10 For if you do these things, you will never stumble…
2Peter 1:2-3, 5-8, 10
Juve, the inspiring life-guard I met on vacation recently, continued to blow my mind as I shifted my weight carefully on my beach lounger so as to not develop a pressure-ulcer from relaxing… Juve is the guy who swims a mile every morning around the perimeter of the swimming area, casually talking and laughing as he jogs back to his starting place after. I actually saw him repeat the swim a couple of times – like once wasn’t enough…
I like to walk down the beach and back after applying sunscreen (we all need to exercise). And so one morning as we strolled down to the end of the resort area and back, I saw Juve by his life-guard stand. He wasn’t on his perch, however. Rather, he was on the ground. Juve was doing sit ups and push ups.
Really?!?! You just finished swimming a mile in heavy current and choppy waves and now you’re doing push ups and sit ups? Are you a super-hero? Juve isn’t a super-hero. In fact, he doesn’t do anything that any of us cannot do tomorrow. Yes, it would take a while to get ourselves to the level of fitness he enjoys. Yet growth and development is within reach for each of us.
The thing that impressed me about Juve on this day was that he didn’t just swim. Juve added another form of exercise into his regimen to cross-train his body and grow all his muscles.
His fitness is not one-dimensional. Mine is…
I walk. I walk on the treadmill or out in the community. On vacation, I walk up the beach and back. I know… impressive. Yes, I do walk on an incline to amp up the effect. That’s not cross-training though. I don’t even stretch before I walk. I’m lame. I’m a one-dimensional exerciser.
Our spiritual lives are not one-dimensional. Or they shouldn’t be. Relationship with God through Jesus isn’t going to church once a week. It’s not a prayer over the dinner table. It’s not reading a devotional blog once-a-day and considering that to be your investment in God’s Word. Those are one-dimensional spiritual exercises, which on their own probably harm our spiritual health more than helping. Why? Because we are in danger of thinking that we are in vibrant relationship with God through Jesus because we (for example) go to church once a week. Lame…
When we see that God, in his divine power, has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him, it will transform how we pursue God and exercise spiritually. In short: cross-train. Add more exercise of different kinds to your regimen.
Peter says add to your faith. Keep adding to it. Let your faith be expressed in goodness. Add to your goodness, knowledge. Think about how self-control plays a part in your development and expression as a follower of God. Persevere in your spirital life and pursuit of knowledge of your Lord. Be like God and love each other. This is quite a list. And we cannot add each of these tomorrow – we cannot hold ourselves to the ultimate standard of Christ-likeness on day 1. Juve has been training for years. That’s where perseverance and self-control are critical action words in our challenge today.
If we keep adding to our faith, as Peter suggests, we will be effective and productive in our knowledge of Jesus. Peter phrases this in the negative. We will be kept from being ineffective and unproductive. This is good for me in my forties. I’m at the time of life in which I need to consider how to not lose muscle mass and bone density, right? It’s about retention and not losing in the second half of our physical lives.
Let us also consider, though, what being productive and effective looks like in our world. If we want to impact our families and neighbours and friends for Jesus, we need to grow into multi-dimensional followers of Jesus who are exercised and cross-trained for game day. We don’t want to stumble out of the blocks. We want to be ready for every opportunity we have to love and care for and draw our friends toward faith.
What can you add to your faith today? Let the cross-training begin.
Happy New Year