This morning, Todd found his car in a new spot. At first, he thought someone had moved it as a joke, an oh-so-funny teenage son perhaps?
Then, he remembered.
When we got home from the store last night, something weird had happened. Todd put the car in park, and it groaned and slid backward a couple of inches before crunching to a stop in the barely visible frozen precipitation. We looked at each other and shrugged. The driveway was slushy, but the ice wasn’t solid. There didn’t seem to be any significant risk, so we left the car where it was and began to lug groceries from the trunk to the front door. We never gave it another thought.
Apparently, either while we were watching Elf in our pajamas or were fast asleep in our bed, the slush carried his car to the end of the driveway where it finally stopped on a dry patch. Todd is just relieved that it didn’t slide into the street. There was no harm done, really, but it could have been worse, all because we didn’t make the extra effort to make sure the car was on solid, dry ground.
The first chapter of 2 Peter is one of my favorite Bible passages because it speaks to God’s grace and generosity in giving us everything we need to “participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” It also lines out very clearly what we should be focusing on and working on–yes, I said “work,” as the passage uses the word “effort”–if we hope to grow spiritually and become confident, effective, productive followers of Christ.
We Christians like to talk about the work that God is doing in our hearts and about the fact that He wants to use us for His glory. We tend to pair the subject “God” with active verbs and assign ourselves a passive role in our faith, hyper-focusing a little on personal surrender, worship, and the concept of “being” over “doing.” To our credit, many of us do so to avoid getting too caught up in the works side of things.
While we depend on God alone for our salvation, the fact still remains that God expects us to take an active role in our own spiritual growth. According to 2 Peter, if we don’t put forth the effort, not only will we become uproductive and ineffective in the Kingdom, but we will begin to doubt our salvation and forget who we are in Christ. We will lose ground and leave ourselves open and vulnerable to the Enemy.
It’s relatively easy to go to church, fellowship with Christian friends, give money, and/or complete a Bible study when you know that someone will be checking on you, but God has called us to more, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, to be exact, characteristics that can only be acquired through the practical application of Truth. The Father expects His children to “participate in the divine nature” in an intentional way.
Obedience. It’s where we find our spiritual footing. It’s how we gain traction. It’s what keeps us from sliding out into the street.