Hello and welcome. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and you’re looking forward to the New Year. This is a great time to take a personal inventory of the things you would like to see continue in the next year, as well as the things you would like to see change. We all know that wanting something to change does not make it happen, you have to do something to initiate change. But when you think about it, wanting something to continue doesn’t necessarily mean it will continue either. If something is working for you there are probably things you’ve done to make it work for you, and if you don’t continue doing those things, whatever “it” is will probably stop working. This is especially true in our relationship with the Lord.
Peter gives us a template to help us grow closer to God throughout our lives:
“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. (2 Pet. 1:5-7; NIV)
Peter has given us a guide to create a plan in our lives for growing closer to God while opening a gate for continual blessings. It’s like a ladder to heaven. Each step of this plan leads to the next step. For instance, faith is the beginning, or the first step. Without faith, the following steps will not be reached in their fullness. Notice that goodness comes before knowledge. Many try to put knowledge at the beginning, even before faith. But without faith and a heart of goodness, the knowledge you attain will be of limited use in your heavenly journey. Sure, you may know many things, but without goodness in your heart, you will surely misinterpret the knowledge you attain. You may even use that knowledge in a way that hurts others instead of helping them. Without self-control, perseverance will eventually wear you out. Godliness cannot be attained without perseverance. Finally, godly love is not possible without all of the previous steps.
Peter follows this up with a promise:
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. (2 Pet. 1:8)
How would you like 2018 to look when you’re sitting there pondering 2019? Peter says that if we climb that ladder it will keep us from being “ineffective and unproductive.” This means that we will be effective and productive as we go through life, if we grow in these qualities in “increasing measure.”
Regardless of what you plan for the year to come, make it a personal goal to pursue the qualities that you know God cherishes. Your life will continue to be blessed and enriched in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. There can be no better way to enter the New Year — every New Year.
From the staff here at Open Homes
Happy New Year and God bless you all.