Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Remind, Refresh, Remember

This week the study was on 2 Peter. It's truly a remarkable book for study, and we're just getting started. As I have found to often be the case, you start somewhere moving in a direction and end up taking these little side journeys ending up in completely unexpected places.

The first few verses were no exception for me. It wasn't a big portion of the study, but it has certainly stuck with me more than any other.

So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.

--2 Peter 1:12-15

In the first few verses (it only takes 11 actually), the foundations of salvation are outlined. And before we go any further, one point gets emphasized three times in three more versus. The point is that everything that's been laid out, the entire gospel of salvation, the charge of the Christian walk, everything we need for life and godliness are things we already know.

Isn't that just the way it is with most of life? We know what we need to know. We know what's needed to be done. We know how to move forward. We just don't really want to.

We procrastinate and rationalize and whine. But rarely do we just roll up our sleeves and do the work. I see this all the time in my work, and even more often in my personal life. And yes, I mean in myself as well as others. Which is probably why this stood out so clearly to me right now. I've been struggling with motivation a lot lately and watching those I love also struggle with their determination.

Sometimes I think it is not enough to just know what is needed. We have to believe, we have to have faith too. Which is why I think this pit can be a hard one from which to climb out. Intellectually, we can understand the steps. Emotionally, I want to believe myself to be strong of faith. And realizing that what I need most to move forward is an exercise of faith, brings in sharp relief how miniscule and ineffective is my faith. Before I can even get that far, my mental gymnastics steer me off to other more obvious answers to protect myself from facing this harsh reality. Since I don't want to believe my faith is too paltry, I concoct other reasons for my inability to do the needful.

The self-conviction in this post is just rank and overpowering. To have such a clear example of how easily my inner selfishness defeats my reason, my conscious desire, and my supposed wisdom is humbling in the extreme. Good thing Peter faced this first so I'd have his letters to instruct me how to un-stick things.

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