When I was in the eighth grade, my flute teacher gave me a few pieces to look at for the state's Solo and Ensemble Festival which is where young musicians played in front of a judge to be graded on their performance. One of the pieces she showed me was a piece that was just above my ability; however, she wanted me to take a look at it. "Years ago, one of my eighth graders played this piece and got a 1st division rating. She worked hard and we were really proud of her." When I went home, I could barely get through the piece but I connected with it immediately. I loved the piece and was determined to learn the piece and get a first division rating (the highest rating). No matter what was happening, I made sure to take time every day to work on that piece along with the other assignments my teacher gave me to work on. When the time came, I was ready to perform the piece and I received a first division rating. It was the determination I had when I approached the piece that allowed me to be successful. It seemed beyond my grasp, but I knew if I worked hard and practiced it every day I could accomplish the task.
Reading 2 Peter this morning reminded me of this because Peter reminded all believers to continue on with determination to grow in our faith. He reminded us of our calling and to keep the truths found in the Bible no matter what was happening in the world around us. A phrase that we read throughout this short book is, "make every effort." Make every effort - that is a very challenging phrase when you really stop and think about it. Back as a middle school student, I made every effort to continue improving my musical skills. I was always looking at what I wanted to be and took the steps necessary to get to that level. But when I read the phrase, "make every effort," I see that is the kind of determination that God wants us to have in our faith.
2 Peter 1:5 says, "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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love." He later says in 2 Peter 1:10, "Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election." He reminded all of us of the wonderful gift of grace and great hope in Jesus and in 2 Peter 3:14 he wrote, "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him." Peter wrote of his own determination in 2 Peter 1:15, "And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things."
Peter wrote these reminders with a sense of urgency to do this because we are surrounded by those who do not believe and may even laugh at our faith. We may even find ourselves threatened because of our faith, but we are to make every effort to continue on. Make every effort. Do you sense the urgency? Do you understand that we make every effort because of the eternal promises we hold on to? Make every effort. This phrase reminds us that this is our first priority. Our relationship with God is what drives us, this is what defines all of our actions. Make every effort. We grow in our faith by purposeful determination to learn and do the things that please God. Consistent time in the Bible and in prayer. Spending time with fellow believers. Wow, this is something that convicts me and reminds me that I need to be more purposeful. I need to make every effort here because this is such a short amount of time here on earth compared to eternity.
Are you making every effort to grow in your faith?
This post is linked with Soli Deo Gloria.