Journey to a blessed life with God (2 Peter 1:3-4)
I once watched a movie – The pursuit of happiness – with Will Smith as the main character. It is true story about a man’s one year struggle being homeless together with his young son. It showcase the American dream to be successful in the land of opportunity. In the story, Chris Gardner had problems with his wife which ended up in separation. He takes his son on a journey wanting to be a successful stock broker. Before he could do that, he needed to support himself by selling a special machine to doctors while interning at a famous stock broking company. But the company did not pay him any money. The story tells in the end he manages to succeed to be chosen as one of the stock broker despite much difficulty.
This story reminds me of our desire to have a successful life as we journey on earth. I am certain all of us have dreams as we grew up – education, career, house, car, children and money to last. There is nothing wrong with having such desires but it must not compete with our desire for a godly life. When we become Christians, we come to realise competing desires of our own and that of God. Does the Bible have anything to tell us how we should live our life on earth? Jesus tells us in Mark 12:29-31 that we are to love God with all our heart, soul and mind. How does loving God help us to live a blessed life? The early church fathers knew about this quest and prompted one of them, St Augustine to share this quote for us to ponder:
‘To fall in love with God is the greatest romance; to seek him the greatest adventure; to find him the greatest human achievement.’
This is one of the most fascinating quote I have ever come across.. If we read church history, the church of England published a set of religious teachings for children and young believers so that they understand how to live the Christian life. One of the key teaching is to answer the question – What is the chief end of Man? “The chief end of man is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever”.
Having looked at these 2 thoughts, what is life’s purpose in the light of what God desire and what we desire? Let us now look at the Bible verses found in 2 Peter 1:3-4. For context we will read from verses 1-4.
When I first memorised this verse during my student days I did not find it relevant to my life. It was only years later that I began to appreciate this verse through meditating on it. We will look at this passage in 5 separate sections:
1) ‘His divine power has granted to us all things pertaining to life and godliness’
When the apostle Peter wrote this letter, we know that he was one who was acquainted with our Master, Jesus Christ. He was a natural leader but very often he said things that he later regretted. Peter denied Christ 3 times. He was humbled and later restored by Jesus to be the leader of his church. So, Peter personally knows Jesus well enough to write this letter.
When we reflect on the words ‘divine power’ we remember that Jesus demonstrated his power while he was on earth – he fed 5000, he calmed the storm, he raised his good friend Lazarus from the dead, he healed the blind, lame, and sick. He demonstrated that he was not only the Son of Man but He is God. So, we conclude that God can meet all our needs.
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven in Matthew 28:18 he commissioned his disciples to go make disciples with his power and authority. Just as he has granted the disciples the authority and power, Peter now reminds us that God has given to us all things for life and godliness. Isn’t that a wonderful promise from God to us! As we seek to live life on earth and to glorify him, God is there to provide us with all things. Does this mean that we don’t need to work? The Bible tells us that if we do not work, we do not deserve to eat. Adam was there in the garden not just to eat everything but he was also responsible to take care of the garden. Not only has God provided all things for life but also for godly living – both meeting our physical and spiritual needs. I have seen God provide for my needs more abundantly when I honour him and he gave me more time to serve him.
2) ‘through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence’
For us to experience this blessed life of glorifying God and seeing him provide us all things we need, we need to know him. It is not just the knowledge of who Jesus is but to know him as a person who is interested in our lives. This Jesus who desire to fellowship with us is someone whom we must get to know intimately. As we grow to know him deeply, we will begin to trust him and let him have full control over our lives. Then we can live according to his perfect will for our lives. So, like in Romans 12:1-2, we truly glorify him by how we live and desire to follow his footsteps. Jesus lived a perfect life on earth showing us that if we follow him, we can live life well with his power.
3) ‘by which he has granted us his precious and very great promises,’
How does God allow us to experience abundant life and his provision? By giving to us his precious promises. Just as God was faithful with his promises to Abraham, he has given us his promises so that we can hold on to them and be reminded of what He has promised. Through the many generations of believers, God has demonstrated to us that He can be trusted to keep his promise. Christians with great testimonies of their faith in God include CT Studd, Hudson Taylor and George Mueller. Do we emulate the same trust in our God so that we can testify the goodness and faithfulness of God? 2 Cor. 1:20 tells us that God’s promises can be trusted because they are guaranteed by God himself. When we trust God’s promises, we prove to the world that we do not need to run after riches like the rest of the world. We can learn to be content and satisfied by all that God will provide us. You and I need to memorise verses.
I thank God that memorising Scripture was one of the key strength which I learned from the Navigator Ministry. We learn to rely on his trusted Word rather than our wisdom.
4) ‘so that through them you may become partakers of his divine nature’
Peter reminds us that we are destine to be partakers of his divine nature. What does this mean? The divine nature of Christ is the character of Christ himself – that is godliness. God is in the business of transforming us to become like his Son Jesus. As we are being transformed into Christlikeness, we will be able to live like Christ in accordance with the will of God. As long as we seek to live life by our own wisdom, we will be frustrated by our own efforts. We need to be humble to confess that we need his wisdom and surrender to him who knows the journey of life better than anyone. I remember very clearly in my life when I wanted to make it successful in my career but I failed miserably. It was only later when I learn to surrender to his perfect will for me that I began to see his hand in many aspects of my life decisions. Learning to walk with God is a lifelong journey of humble surrender to his sovereign will.
Finally 5) ‘having escape from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.’
Peter tells us here that we are made for God. We live in a world which is self-centred and the focus is always on ‘what’s in it for me’. Because of the fallen nature in us, there will always be tendencies in us to return to our own wisdom. We need to be led by the Holy Spirit, who dwells in each of us. The changes we see in our lives is a result of God’s continued work of transformation in us. When we think we can do it ourselves, that’s when we fail and need him to guide us back to him. We know that some Christians choose to live away from the world thinking that living in our world is too hard with so much distraction to lure us away from God and his ways. But God has called us to be salt and light to the lost world around us.
1) God is truly committed to us so that we can live to enjoy our life with him on earth. He knows our needs just as He knows the birds of the air need food.
2) He has given us his precious Word so that we can store them in our minds and learn to trust him who knows the way to our eternal home. So, let us make it a habit to memorise Scripture which tell us of his promises to us.
3) The way to grow to know him intimately is to spend regular time in reading, reflecting and praying over the truth He reveal to us daily. Better still, if we can spend time studying his word we will soak in the precious word into our minds.
4) We each need to remember that God’s ways and wisdom is always better than ours, which is tainted with worldliness. Let us learn to humbly submit ourselves in surrender to his will and wisdom.