Wednesday, December 6, 2017

a maturing faith

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.     2 Peter 1:8
The life of the disciple is not designed for maintenance or meant for maintaining. The disciple who is vibrant and alive is a maturing disciple. As a growing disciple of Christ, we are in the process of adding to and developing our character. Our faith is not static; rather, it is dynamic and nimble. We are constantly developing a life of character that can stand against the winds of adversity and enjoy the blessings of prosperity.
As a conscientious character developer, we are to possess these qualities of Christ in an ever-increasing measure: “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
Our process of character development is a conscious effort. It starts with faith and ends with love. These are the bookends of God’s expectations for our character. He may start with faith because it is the doorway to Him. Faith is how we approach God and how we appropriate His virtue into our life. Faith allows us to find our heavenly Father and learn from Him. Faith gives us ears to hear and a heart for change. Love, on the other hand, deals with motive. Everything we do needs to be inspired by love for God and people. The greatest from the trilogy of faith, hope, and love, is love. 
Start by asking God to increase your faith. An expanded capacity for faith and trust opens the door to other opportunities for life transformation. Faith is first base; so do not run past it. Faith taken for granted is not faith; so do not disguise shallow or flippant religious-speak as faith. Faith is focused on God, and there is a relentless resolve to understand Him and His word.
The Bible is a treasure trove of truth that leads to understanding the character of God; faith is bolstered through the Bible. The Scripture ignites our faith. That faith becomes radically robust as you feast and learn of God through his Holy Writ. Do not underestimate the potential of increasing your measure of faith by knowing and applying God’s Word.
Lastly, use love as warm oil to massage truth into your life and into the life of others. Like a sore muscle, life needs the soothing effect of love. Love understands honoring a relationship over being right. Love motivates faith and is motivated by faith. Your love gives you admission into the life of a person—to influence their life. If they know they are loved, then your influence is trusted. Let love lace your life like garlic flavors a delicious Italian meal. You can smell its appetizing aroma that precedes its amazing taste.
With an ever-increasing measure the aromatic effect of your love will precede your presence. People want what you have when they are unconditionally loved. So, make sure what you are offering them is authentic. Be a love doctor, who graciously administers the love of God. Do not settle for the maturation of your past character. Seek Him even more humbly and aggressively now to increase your measure of character. Keep adding His character to yours; this is effective and productive. Keep your life book between the bookends of God’s character. Your life then becomes an attractive read.
Prayer: Heavenly Father,  grow our knowledge of Christ and develop our character closer to the life of Christ,  amen.