Prayer Focus: Yemen

Bible Reading: 2 Peter 1-3,  Jude 1

Scripture

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. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

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. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters,make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 1:3-10)

 

Observation

This set of verses address our effectiveness as Christians once we’ve been saved.  All of us have stories of people who claim to be Christian, but then don’t act very Christ-like.

What is the foul up?  How  is it that we can say the prayer and really mean it, but not show it in our lives?

Great Question!  It’s one that’s reflected and explored in Romans chapters 8-9 when Paul says “What I don’t want to do, this I keep on doing!”.

This isn’t a radical thought, it’s reflected in many other places in scripture, Rom, 12:2 says “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.   Paul addresses this in Philippians 2:12-13, when he says “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling, for it is God who causes you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”  The whole “working out” part is this the practical application of God’s character into our nature.  Jesus said that we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry” (James 1:19) and this is the critical moment where we hold our own gut reaction and on purpose exchange that sinful part of our nature, and submit it to the Lord.  2 Cor. 10:4-5  tells us to hold every thought captive.

Application

Have you ever tried to break a habit?  First you catch yourself doing it and stop after the fact and try to make it right.  After a while, you catch yourself in the act of doing it, and change your actions.  Before too long you catch yourself just as you are ABOUT to do it, and avoid it.  Then, finally you realize one day that you only thought about doing that thing, and didn’t do it.  This is basic behavior modification in action.  But it starts with a commitment to stop sinful thoughts and behaviors and exchange them for Godly ones.

The promise is a “rich welcome” in heaven for the long-term.  For the short-term, we will be effective and productive here on earth.  Don’t you want the father to say “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”  (Matt. 25:23) instead of calling us “shortsighted and blind”?

Prayer

Father, I pray for your Holy Spirit within me to activate and change me from the inside out.  I pray for your grace as I fail at this, for your patience with me as I make the same mistakes.  But Lord, I know that you aren’t done with me, that you will continue to work in me as I struggle to submit my will to yours.  I pray I make you happy with my progress, and ask that you find ways to encourage me and keep me motivated.  I pray and ask this in your Holy Name.  Amen.

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