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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Adding to Faith

If you think too much, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. So one way to avoid feeling overwhelmed, is to just not think about it. That may be easy for some of the little things that might not be that important, but important things have a way about them that let their presence be known. You might try to avoid it by not thinking about it (or not thinking too hard) but that won’t make all our problems go away.

The other way not to get overwhelmed is to pray about it. Having faith in God means that we trust in God that He will care for us and provide for us. God can free us from worry, but His promise to do that is through our having faith (Mat 6:34). 

So when there’s a lot to do, the threat of feeling overwhelmed is present. Even in matters of the church, we too can feel overwhelmed if we worry about how we don’t stack up.

Let’s take a look at 2 Peter 1 for a moment. Here God is promising to do great things in my life, but if I read this with the wrong attitude then something meant to be encouraging might just do the opposite.

Peter writes, “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. 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.” (1 Peter 1:5-8).

Now, if I’m feeling like I just don’t have and won’t have the knowledge, or the godliness, or the effectiveness that Peter says God promises me, I might need to take a step back.

Peter says here to “add to your faith” and then give us several areas we need to grow in. If I find this list discouraging instead of encouraging, I might just need to “add faith to my faith”. We might need to cry out to Jesus like the man in Mark 9: “I believe, help my unbelief!”

This morning we’ll build on our lesson from last week about how Jesus says with only a mustard seed of faith God can do great things through me.

But what if I don’t even have that much?

Where do I begin?

How do I add to my faith, faith?

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Godly Sorrow

Darkness is a funny thing. Often, it can represent fear. When I think about “darkness” one thing that comes to mind is “fear of the unknown.” Fear of what may be lurking in the darkness can be distressing or paralyzing. The darkness contains all the dangers of my wildest imagination and so I fear not only the things that may be in the darkness, but even darkness itself seems to take on a life of its own as something to be feared. The fear of the unknown prevents me from taking risks, taking chances, or making changes. Fear of rejection, fear of honesty, fear of facing the ugly truth about my situation can lead to a strange irony.

You see, as much as we might fear the darkness, we can also find the darkness comforting. Or, at the very least, we find ways to be comfortable staying in one spot in some dark corner. In the darkness, I can find safety and refuge because who I really am isn’t known by anyone. I can hide in the darkness with my pride, envy, selfishness. I can build a wall for myself in this dark corner of solitude and no one has to know the real me. I can keep on pretending because in the darkness, no one can see the truth.

In truth, we know that there is no hiding our sin. Just as last week when we looked at Jonah trying to run from God, Jesus will teach us in John chapter 3 that the darkness we hide in won’t last. John 3:19-20 “the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.”

In the book of 1 Corinthians, we see the Spirit working though Paul to expose some of these evil deeds that were going on in the church at Corinth. They preferred the darkness, because in it they could get comfortable with sins of selfishness, pride, lust, anger, and the like. These evil deeds were exposed and it was a painful but necessary experience. This very issue is revisited in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 “yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Worldly sorrow tells us that darkness is our friend, that we can keep our evil thoughts and deeds secret, that we can live a life of holiness on the outside but inside our sin can thrive. This is a lie. This is not true holiness. This is not the life that God had designed for us. Godly sorrow brings salvation (10) through an eagerness to be cleansed (11).  

Are we more eager to change, or are we content to keep on trying to live in the dark?

We are known. Our deeds are known. Our thoughts are known. And we are living a lie if we find safety in the dark. Thankfully, Jesus calls us out of darkness and into his marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). 

How will you answer the call?