But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7
I like reading the epistles of Peter. We so often think of him as the one who denied Jesus three times. I guess it makes us feel better about ourselves to remember all the negative stuff about people. We so often forget that Peter was re-instated by Jesus after His resurrection. Jesus asked Peter if he unconditionally loved Him two times. Peter was completely honest and said, “No, I only have a brotherly love for you.” Jesus then asked, “Do you have a brotherly love for me?” Peter said, “You know all things . . . You know my love for you is only at a brotherly type love.” Jesus said, “then feed my sheep.” In other words, “Get back to work with that kind of love in your heart, even though it might be less than what you want it to be. Be diligent in your faith and you will grow to an unconditional love for me.”
By the time Peter writes these epistles, decades have gone by. He has been diligent and he has grown leaps and bounds in his faith. In fact, he gives us the information we need to know to go from faith to love. He figured out the hard way early in his life that you don’t just believe in God and then magically have an authentic love for Him. Believing this very thing had caused him the greatest heartache of his existence.
So, do you have a real deal, authentic, and unconditional love for God? Ponder that question and really answer it for yourself.
I asked my children this last night. One said “no” and the other said “yes.” I asked them if they believed that I loved Him unconditionally. They both said “yes.” I said, “Then why do I sometimes obey and get it right, but then other times disobey and get it wrong?” They didn’t know what to say. I told them that I wasn’t there yet, but I’m closer than I was when I got started as a Christian. I also told them that it was more than okay that they weren’t there yet. I read them this verse from the Bible and told them it was many years before Peter got there, and he had Jesus himself as a personal teacher.
Throughout the course of the next few weeks, I want to write about the journey from faith in Christ to real love for Him and a genuine love for other people. It all begins with faith in Jesus and what He did at the cross of Calvary to save anyone and everyone who would call upon His Name. Faith in Him is only the starting point. At this point, so many would recommend that these new believers “love God and love people.” This is the church motto of many, many churches. This is also what Jesus calls the greatest commandment. Do you think that right after faith, we as new believers are capable of obeying God’s greatest commandment?
I’m still not there, but I have fallen in love with the pursuit. I am so thankful Peter starts off by saying, “giving all diligence.” This lets me know that it will take time. I have been a Christian now for 25 years. Thanks in part to this verse; I know where I am in the journey to really falling in love with the King of Kings. I hope that over the course of the coming weeks that you find where you are as well.