A few years ago I read one of the most disturbing statistics. In an interview about overcoming sin, many Christians said they didn’t try because they couldn’t overcome. Instead of accessing the power of God they simply gave up and gave in.
Where are you? Have you given up?
Each July I read through the New Testament. It’s a discipline I have come to embrace and enjoy. I read 2 Peter yesterday. It’s not one of the best known and most quoted books of the New Testament, but it has a wonderful message.
It’s a message of encouragement and hope for overcoming sin.
This is what Simon Peter says. (Read 2 Peter 1:3-11).
First, and this is a biggie, God has everything you need for Godly living. I had to read it several times. I looked at it in different translations. This means that whatever temptations you face God has provided all you need.
It’s true, of course. God wants us to live Godly lives, and He has provided what we need.
Maybe at this point you are arguing with me and arguing with Scripture. But it all makes sense. The God who can raise the dead can surely make old people new and weak people strong and yes, immoral people moral.
When we came to know Christ, God gave us what we needed. He has promised us His Spirit and His power.
Second, in light of this Simon Peter tells us to make every effort to respond to God’s promises. He gives a number of Christian qualities which will lead us to Godly living. He doesn’t write of things not to do but of qualities to embrace. These qualities–moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love for everyone–turn us more and more toward God and God-likeness. These qualities crowd out anger, strife, bitterness, and every other kind of evil.
As we seek Godliness, we should pray positively not negatively. We should pray for the Christian qualities Simon Peter described. Often, we get caught up in our sin so that all we can think of is how bad we are and how we have failed. Instead we must seek that which comes from God.
Third, Peter tells us to not give up. Our sanctification (becoming like Christ) demands our participation. We must keep on seeking God. We must work hard and seek those things that come from above. We must keep our eyes on Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).
Seek God and His ways. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Because we share God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), we are able to overcome.