2 Peter 1:1-4 – Growing Your Faith

Read 2 Peter 1:1-4

You’ll soon realize that 2 Peter is much different from 1 Peter in language, style, setting, and even theological development. Take in Peter’s final testament of his firsthand witness from Jesus himself and being in Jesus’ inner circle. As you read, remember Peter saw the transfigured Jesus, watched Jesus ascend, and spent all the moments in between being shown what truth in human form was all about.

Having faith in that truth, in Jesus, is what our life focus should be all about. The text says, “This faith was given to you.” What went through your mind when you read these words? At first, I wondered why I was special, why I had been chosen by God to receive faith. Then, I simply marveled at the gift my faith is in my life. The bond of faith is what Peter shared with his audience, too.

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James 4:1-10 – Enemies of God

Read James 4:1-10

We need God. It’s plain and simple, lest we fall into the traps set in this world and become enemies of God. Only God can transform us from the thrill seeking, self-serving humans we are by nature into humble servants dedicated to pleasing God.

James’ counsel here is a bit over the top when he talks about our envious desires leading us to killing someone. It appears his audience needs the “wow factor” to get their attention. I can just hear someone saying, “God doesn’t listen because he didn’t give me what I wanted.” That’s a great example of having the wrong motives. God knows our heart. He knows why we ask for what we do. Is what we’re asking for merely for our own pleasure?

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James 1:9-18 – Humility

Read James 1:9-18

One of the basic themes of James’ letter is that God exalts the poor and humbles the rich. Why does he do that? It’s so only the humble can boast. Think about that for a second. When we allow God to work in our lives and give God the credit for what we have accomplished, our whole mindset shifts. Who gets the glory? Certainly not us, and rightly so.

Even Paul was clear on this. He told us he was glad to boast about his weaknesses because that showed God at work when he overcame times of adversity. Our text here in James is using the example of being poor and rich. James may be recalling Psalm 49:6 which reads, “They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches.” Think about some wealthy people you know. Do they humble themselves before God and give God the credit for their abundance? Or are they more like the one described by the psalmist?

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