Wednesday, March 26, 2014

"Abundant Life Soup"

" 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.
For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
   For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
   Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;
   for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11


I'm not sure if you recognized the recipe above or not but today we are taking a look at a copy of Peter's recipe for success or as I like to call it Peter's 'Abundant Life Stew.' I've enclosed a copy of the recipe card above; after all every disciple needs a good stew recipe to take on the road with him!

So, if you would like to join me, go ahead and grab a big pot (we want to have plenty to share with others.) Now everybody knows that the key to a good stew is the soup stock that you begin with. Now I know in the natural we have different preferences such as beef and chicken broth but the key to today's stew is most definitely Faith. No substitutions! ...Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 If your not sure if you have enough don't worry you don't need a whole lot. A really good basic faith can be found in Hebrews 11:3 ...By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things visible. This is a really good place for faith to start. Recognizing that He is. Faith is about believing that He is; that He has done and will do what He has said. Faith in God, choosing Jesus as Lord and Savior is the measure of faith that we all start our abundant life stew with.

Okay, so now that we have our faith in the pot lets begin to put the rest of these amazing flavorful (a word that is used a lot on cooking shows, I had to throw that in) ingredients. The first ingredient that Peter says to give all diligence to add to our faith is virtue. I don't know about you but the first thing I add to my stock when I make a soup is, bullion cubes. I do that because while I have a good basic stock it usually needs that extra infusion of concentrated flavor that strengthens, enriches, and enhances the flavor of my stock.

Virtue in the Strong's means; manliness, valor, i.e. excellence. and it comes from root words that mean; male as stronger for lifting, to lift, by implication to take up or away. For me, virtue represents the Holy Spirit. I say that because of the words used in the meaning. The word excellence reminds me of Daniel 5:15 "I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you." Valor, strength and lifting away - Isn't He the strength, the power that raised Jesus from the dead?  The Holy Spirit is the one who is the extra concentrated infusion of strength and power that lifts up, enriches and enhances our faith into action. He is the excellence that makes our faith work.

In the natural you don't need a whole lot of stock to make a good soup if you have bullion cubes because of all that concentrated flavor that each cube brings and the same can be said about our faith. Jesus said we only need faith the size of a mustard seed and we can move mountains. In the beginning it says that God would speak, something as simple as, "Let there be light." and the Holy Spirit went to work. He was the power that made it happen. The same can be said when you or I speak in faith to a mountain in our life. We don't need a huge amount, just enough for the Holy Spirit to add His infusion of excellent virtue, strength, and power to it and the end result will be, a mountain that has been moved! Faith and virtue, faith and an excellent Spirit will close the mouths of lions!

Okay, we have a pot with faith and virtue in it and so now it is time to add the other ingredients. As this is supposed to be just a devotional and I haven't even touched my point as yet we won't go into detail on the rest the ingredients. Add them in the quantities that suit your flavor preferences.

Knowledge - which means the act of knowing    

Temperance or self-control - which means to be strong (masterful) in a thing. self controlled (in appetite)

Patience - which means cheerful (or hopeful) endurance; constancy. to stay under (behind), remain, to undergo, i.e. bear (trials), have fortitude, persevere. ...I would like to make a comment here ... I think this is the onions in our soup. According to our personal preferences it might be we add a red, white, or even yellow onions but the point is onions are pretty necessary to adding flavor to a good soup and cheerful endurance is also needed in the many different areas that we might need patience to endure.

Godliness - which means piety; well-reverent, pious

Brotherly Kindness - which means fraternal affection; fond of brethren

Love - which means affection or benevolence

Now all  the ingredients are in the pot all mixed up and coming together to make one amazing flavorful soup! 

Peter said to give diligence to add to faith virtue, etc. I know that to add means 2+2=4 and that is how I had always viewed this verse until a few days ago when the Lord started to show me this concept. An example of the way I've always viewed adding in the Peter's list above is this; 2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2=16  Now it looks like this: 2+2=4+2=6+2=8+2=10+2=12+2=14+2=16 I looked up the word add in this verse an it means to furnish;to fully supply, aid or contribute. In the first equation the 2s are all lined up and while they still equal 16 they are still all separate. If we were to think in terms of books we could keep adding books on top of each other to make a stack of 16 books but they would all still be separate books. In the second equation which is the point that Peter was trying to make is this; If faith is being contributed to with virtue, if it is being aided and supplied with virtue, then it becomes a mixture! They become combined together like adding ingredients in a soup. They all come together to bring about this amazing outcome.

Peter said that if we diligently add to our faith these things then we won't be barren and unfruitful in our knowledge (our knowing) of the Lord Jesus Christ. He said if we will diligently add to our faith these things then we won't be shortsighted, blind and forgetful of His amazing grace in our lives, but instead we will be making our calling and election sure! If we will add to faith these things, if we will furnish our faith with these things, if we will become a mixture of these things then we will be living an abundant life in Him and we will never stumble.

We can choose to be a really flavorful soup all mixed up together with great seasonings and godly ingredients. We can choose to live an abundant life!


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