Best Friends

Elwin Ahu

"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in yourmoral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in yourperseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:5-8)
My mom always encouraged me to choose my friends well. And here Peter seems to say that if we really want to know Christ, to develop a close relationship with the Lord, to become best friends with Him, we need to become best friends with these qualities of faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. The closer we grow, and increase in our relationship with each of these qualities, the closer we will grow from glory to glory into His image.

But, why did Peter have to remind us? Could it be because we all have a natural tendency to shy away from such friends and are attracted to those who live on the opposite side of the tracks? Like Adam and Eve in the Garden who had the perfect friendship with God, yet because of their human desire for immediate gratification chose to be persuaded by the wrong friend.
So, Peter provides us with a litmus test to apply to our circle of friends. And it's a test that I must apply to myself daily: Am I diligently growing and increasing in the areas of

  • Faith - how trusting am I of the Lord and His plans for me and my future; is there still a need for me to be in control, or do I truly trust Him with the plans and promises He has for me;
  • Moral excellence - if I allowed the Lord entrance into the inner chambers of my heart and mind, would I be able to stand before Him without hesitation each day; am I exposing the negatives in my mind to the ways of God, or to the ways of the world; "If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 Jn.1:15);
  • Knowledge - am I relentlessly pursuing a deeper knowledge of my Lord, to get to know Him and His heart, in order that my life would truly reflect His image;
  • Self-control - here's a tough one; it's a test not just on the external, but internally how well do I control my thoughts, feelings, hidden emotions; is there more of Him and less of "ME" from the inside out;
  • Perseverance - what are my quitting points; the enemy probably knows them more than I do and will press these buttons to persuade me away from the future and hope the Lord has reserved for me; but, just as Christ pressed through, even at the risk of death, so must I press forward to the goal set before me;
  • Godliness - am I "godly" true to the core, that it's not just an outer costume that I wear, does my walk consistently match my talk, whether it be in relationships that I develop, words that I say, grace that I give, forgiveness and patience;
  • Brotherly kindness - am I kind to my brothers, not just portraying a level of tolerance or condoning actions, but do I extend kindness, understanding, patience, a deep, abiding, agape love to my brothers; am I loving them, just as Christ loved, forgave, extended His grace and mercy towards me;
  • Love - how deep is my love for other, and is it ever growing and increasing; it's easier to say "I love you" than to continually grow in depth of love with another; it's looking for the good in others, seeing the potential and the promises of God lived out in their lives; it's serving them and their needs as a priority over my own; it' desiring God's very best for them.
So, how well am I testing out in each of these areas? Am I diligently developing a closer relationship with each quality so they become my best friends? If my truest desire is to become best friends with my Lord, then I must become best friends with each of these.
Father, help me to pursue each of these qualities, daily. And as I do so, I will grow in my relationship with you, from glory to glory into your image.

Devotions for December 17

2 Peter 1,2,3
John 1

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