This following post is adapted from Ps Phil Pringle's message on Sun 26th August, at the C3 Oxford Falls 10am service. Watch the service here.
Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ:
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:1-3 NKJV)
This letter has a pretty unusual opening when you consider that Paul’s letters never began with “Saul, Paul”. Peter is acknowledging here that the Simon part of his life (the part that denied Jesus three times and was overcome by fear when he stepped out of the boat) was still a part of him.
There are many scriptures about how we are a new creation in Christ but the reality is we still wrestle with the old human part of us. Paul talks about it in Romans 7, clearly setting out the difference between being “I” focused and Christ focused. There’s a scripture for every condition that we face and so we are not to be discouraged or surprised when we encounter our old self, but we are to pick up our cross, fight with God’s word and keep walking.
Simon Peter knew life was a balance between tapping into our new nature and not denying reality. Being a bondservant and an apostle is also a balancing act: we need humility AND confidence.
Next we are to pursue the knowledge of Jesus -the more you know Jesus, the more peace there is in your life.
God has also given us “all things” that we need to be fruitful and achieve at our maximum level through knowing Him. Comparison often robs us, convincing us that we need to be where they are, have what they have or be with who they are with in order to be all God has called us to be.
This simply isn’t true -God has given us “all things” that we need to live the life he’s called us to.
Where you are
Proverbs 13:23 and 28:19 tell us that where you are planted, you have enough already if you till the land. There are many stories of people inheriting land or businesses even though they weren’t family because of their dedication to working there. Just like Paul, John Bunyan wrote in prison and his “Pilgrim’s Progress” has been read by millions. Paul reached all the soldiers in the prison and Caesar’s house with the gospel while in that prison. He wrote “for I have learned” which could also be translated as “I have been initiated into” the knowledge that my circumstances will not dictate whether I am blessed (Philippians 4:11-13)
Who you're with
Don’t be a pot plant Christian who constantly moves to new relationships. Put down roots (Psalm 92:12-13) where God has already planted you. Every one of us is called and we want to be trained into God’s army, ready to lead and influence.
Growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum but comes through bearing weight and responsibility. If you are planted you will flourish as your roots draw up nourishment.
What you have
Don’t wait until you have fancy equipment -if you want to achieve big things, you need to grow there. We grow in a series of steps, one at a time. We have everything we need. Just like the widow with one flask of oil, Samson with a jawbone, Moses with a shepherd’s staff, it doesn’t matter what you’ve got, if you give it to God it’ll be all that you need. You can do the impossible with the unlikely. God doesn’t tease people with dreams -He believes in us.
Who you are
God has already made you the person who can do these things. If you don’t believe in yourself, you aren’t alone. Look at Jeremiah or Moses in the Bible. God has faith in us, even when we don’t. Jesus gave Peter two prophecies: the first was that Peter would be foundational to the church and the second that Peter would deny Him. You would think that the second prophecy cancelled out the first, but God worked them together for good.
Something to talk about:
1. Have you ever considered that God has faith in you?
3. How are you putting down roots to grow, where you are?