“By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” (2 Peter 1:3 NLT)
In yesterday’s post we began looking at the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s life in us. It matters little what we believe in our mind in comparison to what becomes “believable” in and through the way we live. John Piper wrote: “You can embrace a system of theology and not even be born again.“ What does that mean?
It essentially means you can have full confidence that you believe all the right things, and still not have a relationship with Jesus. Until what you believe translates into “shoe leather,” and you begin to walk your talk, all you have is knowledge about Jesus. How can you know the difference? Who’s leading your steps?
When you’re walking in submission to the Spirit’s authority, the “fruit” of that submission will be evidenced, as Peter wrote in 2 Peter 1:5-8, by your “moral excellence,” “knowledge,” ”self-control,” “patient endurance,” “godliness,” “brotherly affection,” and “love for everyone.” Let’s look at each of these more closely.
What is “moral excellence?” It means virtue, which means “conformity to a standard of right: morality.” (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary) It means: “a virtuous course of thought, feeling, and action,” evidenced in “modesty and purity.” (Strong’s) Where do we learn these things? From the Bible. That’s why daily reading and study of God’s Word is foundational for any child of God.
Bryan Loritt,s, who is one of our teaching Pastors, wrote: “God is after so much more than our happiness. He’s after His glory.” God is glorified by our moral excellence. By choosing God’s Word as our “moral standard,” we begin to understand how vitally important it is to live righteously, in a manner that glorifies and honors the Lord. How do we do that?
In how we present ourselves. People make decisions about us before we ever say a word. How so? How are we dressed? Do we draw undue attention to ourselves by the clothes we’re wearing? Are we dressed appropriately? Are things showing that should be covered? Are our clothes too tight? Do our clothes exude purity of heart and mind, or do they cause others to think inappropriate thoughts about us?
From the moment I met my wife, she’s always dressed modestly and appropriately. She’s beautiful and she wears current fashions that allow her to feel and be attractive, but not in a lustful or inappropriate way. Most of the women at our church, young and old, dress modestly. What’s appropriate? In my mind if what we’re wearing, whether a man or a woman, draws people’s attention to us and away from Jesus, it’s inappropriate.
Purity means much more than virginity. A person can be a virgin and not be living a life defined by purity. And someone who has lost their virginity can be pure in the sight of God when their sins are forgiven, and their hearts and minds are pure. Purity, as a measure of moral excellence, has reference to how we view life.
Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8-9: “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.”
Holy living begins in our mind, our thought life, then must translate into how we live and treat others. We’ll look at this more closely in tomorrow’s post.
Blessings, Ed 😊