1Timothy 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself…

 

2 Peter 1:2-9 I pray that God will be kind to you and will let you live in perfect peace! May you keep learning more and more about God and our Lord Jesus. We have everything we need to live a life that pleases God. It was all given to us by God’s own power, when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful goodness. God made great and marvellous promises, so that his nature would become part of us. Then we could escape our evil desires and the corrupt influences of this world. Do your best to improve your faith. You can do this by adding goodness, understanding, self-control, patience, devotion to God, concern for others, and love. If you keep growing in this way, it will show that what you know about our Lord Jesus Christ has made your lives useful and meaningful. But if you don’t grow, you are like someone who is nearsighted or blind, and you have forgotten that your past sins are forgiven.

 

From this passage in Peter, I want to stress first and foremost, that he is saying if we stop growing we have forgotten that we have been forgiven of our sins. Note that there is no promise of hell fire, punishment, losing of gifts, or promise of death when we do not do the things set out in this passage, it all comes down to a personal loss of insight and the burden of condemnation that is sure to harass the soul of one who no longer remembers he has been forgiven of the past. We become empowered when we understand that we are to partake of His goodness, and the promises He has given do not come as a reward for good behaviour, its solely so that we can truly know He is good and to understand His nature. How will they know that we are His children? By the fact that we love with and in His nature.

I was asking my hubby what the phrase “tend your heart” implies to him. He said to be free, and to remain so. Not free to do as you please, but freedom to be who pleases Him. He says forgetting who you are is what gets you in trouble. Now, the trouble referred to here is the soul wrenching confusion that leads to the idea that performance can bring holiness and peace. This is why I love this passage in Peter so much, because the instructions tend to steer towards taking care of your own heart, the “performance” here isn’t do for others so you can get A or be B, it’s all about showing off how much of His heart you know and understand. The purpose of knowing and understanding His heart is so that you can fully know you are loved and valuable. We often become so results driven, hungry to see change in others and people saved, that we lose our value in the process. We need to be mindful of the value it placed on our own hearts the day He gave His life, and bought us at such a high price.

3 John 1:2 says, Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” It is imperative for our souls to prosper and to fare well. God wants us to have healthy thought patterns, and productive ideologies. He longs for our hearts to be occupied with whatever is pure and lovely, so that we might operate in these mindsets, bringing the freedom along with the good news. Our hearts can only truly be free if we experientially know the truth of His heart for us. Psalm 139:13-14 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. We have to tend our hearts, and consistently see to it that we remind ourselves to KNOW that He is God and that He is good. We need to come to a place where we know His heart for us as well as we know our own dreams and desires, a place where we are so convinced of His good intentions for us that no negative thought of self-doubt will be able to penetrate our thoughts. Only the words He speaks, be it the written word of the Bible or His spoken word today, are able to save us from the burden of self doubt and self loathing (James 1:21). It is only His truth in our hearts that allows us to see for ourselves that we are created in God for good works. You are not an evil vessel, scurrying around to manage one or two good deeds every now and then, with which to present God as a sacrifice for your usual immoral ways. God cannot be bargained with! Why? Because the price has already been paid in full. You have been redeemed at a high cost; you now have capacity and value beyond measure. God isn’t sitting on His throne somewhere far from us, a place that needs to be approached with fear and trembling, no He is right here, yearning for us to address Him boldly and zealously encounter Him. He gives us favour and intentionally encounters us out of the vastness of His love for us. Imagine Jesus paying a price so that we can call Him “Father,” just so He can sit around for millennia waiting for someone to eventually be good enough of His gift, someone who has the right combination of dedication and sinlessness to impress Him. I think NOT! He is not a tyrant, He is not a dictator. He is a loving Father whose thoughts are filled with you and your well being.

When we believe that He says these things about us, then we are full of faith and pleasing to Him. It is then that the soil of our hearts are tilled, and then that we allow the washing of the water of His word which brings life and regeneration of our souls.