Bread – Workout

December 15, 2014


Readings for Monday, December 15, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 8:16-9:1; 2 Peter 1:1-11; Luke 22:39-53; Psalms 41,44,52

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I often ask myself the question, if God commands me to love others more than myself, then why do I have such a hard time doing it? One easy answer, of course, is that I, like everyone else, am selfish and sinful, and I am constantly placing myself above or at least equal to God. That is the easy answer and it is substantially accurate.

Another answer to this question may be that I just don’t have enough of the Holy Spirit, because we know that our power in life comes from God and not ourselves, and so if we are to act the way God intends for us to, we must have more power to do so. That is the easy answer and it is substantially accurate.

But an accurate answer does not necessarily mean a right answer. Maybe the reason I have a difficult time loving others is not because I am sinful, because Christ has rescued me from my sin, and not because I lack power, because God tells us that He is ever-present in time of need, but because I have not followed the steps toward love, because I in my Christian walk have not laid the necessary foundation to love well.

What is this foundation? It is something more than salvation and it is something more than supernatural power. It is the building of a firm foundation upon which love is the natural result.

This foundation I think is described in detail in our reading today from Peter’s second letter. The steps in building this foundation are:

1. A faith received from God by “the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Pet. 1:1

2. Add to faith, virtue; 2 Peter 1:5

3. Add to virtue, knowledge; 2 Peter 1:5

4. Add to knowledge, self-control; 2 Peter 1:6

5. Add to self-control, steadfastness; 2 Peter 1:6

6. Add to steadfastness, godliness; 2 Peter 1:6

7. Add to godliness, brotherly affection; 2 Peter 1:7

8. Add to brother affection, love; 2 Peter 1:7.

Faith plus virtue plus knowledge plus self-control plus steadfastness plus godliness plus brotherly affection, when put together in that order, creates the foundation upon which we can then add love.

Are we weak in love as Christians? Perhaps it is because we have not followed the plan of building our strength so that we can love. We would not run a mile without first building up to it, one little jog at a time. We would not run a marathon without first running the first mile. And yet we try to love others more than ourselves without adequate preparation, without taking the time to build the foundation, without going through the work-out, which is necessary for us to love well.

Are we weak in love as Christians? Which of the 8 steps above have we skipped, or never dealt with well? Have we worked on our virtue, our knowledge of God and His Word, our self-control, our perseverance and steadfastness, our godliness, or even our affection toward other Christians?

The old child’s counting scheme comes to mind – “One, two, skip a few, a hundred.” Just like you can’t get to a hundred for real without counting through 99 other numbers, you can’t run a marathon until you take the first step, then the next two steps, then the short jog, then the short run, then the quarter mile, then the mile, then ….

Why do we not love well? I suspect its because we have done the Christian version of “one, two, skip a few.” As Peter has pointed out, no, there is a process to get there. And that process really does take a lot of work.

But it is work to which we are commanded. We have been given faith and power to exercise that faith. We have been given power to live in victory. Our job is to use that power, work the plan, build the foundation upon the cornerstone which Jesus has laid, and then build the house of love which will be a beacon of truth, life, and hope to a dark world.

Let’s get started!

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© 2014 GBF

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