Honesty

2 Peter 1:2. Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

“Grace” and “peace” are part of the greetings in every church Epistle. Grace is God’s divine favor, His kindness, His blessings as a free gift; and peace is tranquility, freedom from disturbance. These blessings can be multiplied to us in the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. We are prone to turbulence from within our own souls and without in the world. The quest for grace and especially for peace brings people to many undesirable places other than God and Jesus our Lord. The peace that a couple of glasses of wine or TV viewing or computer games or binge eating and such like provide is scant at best compared to God’s spiritual peace. All of these paltry substitutes fall very short of providing significant or lasting serenity or tranquility.

2 Peter 1:3. seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

Wow! Everything pertaining to life and godliness are granted to us through the true knowledge of God. In school, I learned about the “great wall of China,” and I also viewed the wall on a TV. However, my knowledge of the great wall increased significantly when I stood upon it while in China. If I was there when it was built, I would hold even greater knowledge. We have different levels of knowledge: some intellectual, some observational, some experiential. The greatest knowledge we can enjoy with God and our Lord is experiential. Knowing about God and experiencing God are lightyears apart. The knowledge in the context of 2 Peter is the greatest – experiential knowledge. When applying scriptural information, we will experience God.

2 Peter 1:4. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

If we are to become partakers of the divine nature and escape the world’s corruption, we must experience the knowledge of God and Jesus.

Honesty with self is the beginning!

The great deception we all face is that someone or some situation or circumstance is the reason we think and behave as we do. “If my spouse would stop that or start that, then I would not hold the resentments I now have.” “If my boss was not so controlling and cheap, the bitterness and hate I have would disappear.” “If my kids would listen and obey, I would not get angry at them.” “If the dang weather wasn’t so cold or so hot, I would not be miserable and depressed.” Often, we harbor feelings like resentment, bitterness, hate, anger, anxiety, miserableness, and depression and seek for relief and peace by trying to change someone or something outside ourselves. If we fail to change what is outside, we seek to escape these feelings by methods that are usually destructive. A peaceful oasis is sought making us vulnerable to the above mentioned vices. These temporary oases often become deserts of despair.

Honesty with ourselves will confront this deception for nothing outside of us is the reason for the ungodly thoughts we allow to linger in our minds. People and situations can trigger negative thoughts, but I am always responsible for what is allowed to dominate my mind. Consider Peter’s instruction.

2 Peter 1:5-7. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly
kindness, love.

With honesty, we can acknowledge that resentment, bitterness, hate, anger, etc. have no part of “moral excellence” or “godliness.” Regardless of what other people do in relationship to us or what is happening in the world around us, these unvirtuous thoughts must not be allowed to permeate and control our minds. We always have ability and authority to rightly interrupt the wrongful things that happen to us. When someone is offensive, we can take it personally, accept thoughts of revenge, bitterness, resentment; or we can have compassion. We can think “that no good bum” or “the poor dear has internal problems causing him/her to speak or behave in such a wrong way.” We can feel victimized, or we can empathize. One promotes ungodly thoughts; the other Christ-like
ministering thoughts.

“Diligence” in the above verse is a careful and persistent effort with intense conviction, something required to control our minds. “Faith” is knowing and doing God’s commands. “Moral excellence” is a high moral standard based upon the Scriptures. Our virtues are founded upon God and not the world which is why scriptural knowledge must be included in our faith. Self-control begins with controlling our thoughts and feelings. “Perseverance” is patient endurance; we do not give up. Godliness has everything to do with your personal love relationship with God and our Lord Jesus. Brotherly kindness and love are stifled greatly when we allow ourselves to be offended by taking things personally. Consider how Jesus thought and responded to the horrendous undeserved evil that assaulted him. We do not have to guess what he was thinking for he said it - “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

Peter continues with this wonderful truth:

2 Peter 1:8-11. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

Be honest with yourself!

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