Welcome back! Yesterday I began a look at 2 Peter 1:2-11 in Everything I Need-Part 1, today I continue beginning with verse 6, "Knowing God leads to self-control."
Remember God has already given us everything we need for living a godly life and we are taking a deeper look at what that means. First we have to know Jesus, then we have to have faith, then we add to our faith moral excellence, and then knowledge of God, and now we come to self-control. Notice that self-control does not come immediately in this process. It comes as our knowledge of God increases. If it came first in our list then we could say that we are doing all the work and grace would have no place in our lives. Websters defines self-control as "restraint exercised over one's own impulses, emotions, or desires." Oh my, when you put it that way I am not as far along as I thought, but I can see improvement. I still allow anger to rise to the surface in my marriage, but far less than in the past. I have a real weakness for quilt fabric and patterns, but I am learning to put restraints on that spending, s-l-o-w-l-y. I have even started to share my stash of chocolate, sometimes with joy in my heart. We gain self-control when we are being influenced by God's divine nature as we spend more time in His good company. What a difference in my days when I spend time in His Word and in prayer. Are you, like me, ever just fine with being angry with someone- I do some of my best housework when I am mad. That is not self-control. I cannot tell you the number of times I have had an attitude adjustment take place when I stop and spend time with the Lord, nor the number of times that I have not spent time with Him because I did not want to experience an attitude adjustment. Knowing God makes all the difference- there is no shortcut if I really want to change.
Self-Control leads to patient endurance. Oh, this is perhaps my least favorite thing. It always seems to involve some sort of suffering, some sort of trial. There have been a few of those in my life so far- I wrote about two of them in When God Says No. What do we do when the road gets tough? What do we do when temptation comes knocking. What do we do when it feels God is slow to answer our prayers? Do we give up and walk away? Our lives as bond-servants of Jesus often put us in opposition to the world. I think about my cousin and his family who are in Nigeria where they put their lives on the line to even attend a Sunday worship service. There are those of the faith who are patiently enduring things that I cannot even imagine, so my trials seem pretty puny in comparison. The Greek used here is hupomone which means steadfastness, constancy, endurance (Strong's NT 5281.) When the going gets tough I need to remember that I am exactly where God wants me to be at that moment. He has not changed, His love for me has not changed, His promises are still trustworthy. I need to cling to verses that remind me that I am not alone, that the Lord who made the universe, the King of Creation, the great I AM is always with me and He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."
And here I am out of time again this morning. I hope you will stick with me for part three...