Aslan’s Meditations: (11/11) Neither Barren nor Unfruitful

em 08/05/2011 13:45:24

It’s hard to believe we are concluding our series in 2 Peter 1:5-8, yet here we are in part 11 – the last part of our series.

I want to say thank you so much for taking this journey with me, and for all your encouraging notes along the way. It was truly a blessing to write this and I hope you learned as much from reading it as I did writing it.

We’re going to take a break for a week or two, and then AslansLily is going to take us into a new series looking at Jesus as the great I AM – so stay tuned!

In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback on this series and Aslan’s Meditations in general, so you can submit any feedback you have HERE.

And without further ado, here is the last installment of our series!

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence: add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To wrap up, let’s take a quick overview of what we’ve covered in this series.

imageIn Part 1, we began by saying that all these virtues are not a list of things for us to do, rather they are an outpouring of our love and a response to God’s amazing gift of salvation and grace.

That by God’s divine power He has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness – through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises!

In Part 2, we looked at how faith is our solid foundation – that if we do not have faith, it’s impossible to please God. Without faith in the One who has created us and sustains us, if we have all these other virtues, they mean nothing because there is no grounds for them. It’s easy to fight when things are all unicorns and rainbows and mountaintops, but faith is what keeps you strong when you can’t see – the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb. 11:1)

Moving into part 3, we took a step back at an important word in this passage: diligence. We saw how it contrasted with perseverance, and that Paul didn’t say this was going to be an easy journey. It’s going to take careful, persistent, daily surrender to Christ – not just something we do half-heartedly or do out of present emotion at church. It’s something we have to continually keep pushing ourselves to do – because in the end the reward will be wonderful.

imageNext, in part 4, we looked at the very broad, yet penetrating value of “virtue”, where we saw the kinds of things that can get in our way of all of these things. Faith is our foundation, but where do we go from there? Often we don’t realize the things that hinder us from God because they are a mask that we’re wearing, distorting everything and preventing us from learning and growing. It put into perspective living because of God, not trying to do good things for Him – but again, living my life as a response to His grace.

In part 5, we built on the previous lesson about having the right mask over our face by talking about what we should know in the word “knowledge.” We are ambassadors for Christ, and we have the joyous, beautiful, amazing privilege of representing God to the world. We can know all the answers, know all the verses, be able to answer every question, but unless we personally know Christ, everything is worthless. This goes back again to not living for Christ but living because of Him.

imageWhen we reached part 6, we talked about self-control and how we need to be careful what we do with the knowledge that we have – that we don’t abuse it or try to use it for our own benefit or glory. We also saw how self-control – through Christ’s strength – can help us to overcome temptations because we have a greater goal in mind.

In part 7, we looked at perseverance and endurance. We saw how they were similar, and how they were different, but most of all how after all those virtues – we’re probably getting a little tired! And perseverance is what we need to press on. Sometimes it means just forsaking all and running. Sometimes it means ignoring the pain. Other times it means stopping, thinking, and praying. Other times it means letting God clean our hearts – often a painful process. But we know that we can press on because our God is fighting for us. We also saw how just enduring for the sake of enduring was not what we needed to do – but to press on.

imageIn part 8, we talked about how being godly wasn’t just not being ungodly, but rather taking meaningful steps to do what is right. It’s not just making sure we don’t do bad things, but making sure were doing the right things. So often we think we’re okay because we don’t smoke, do drugs, or drink – but we don’t realize that doing all those things is just as bad as not doing what God wants us to do.

imageA few weeks ago in part 9, we looked at brotherly kindness, and what it means to love others with a love that’s not just specific to certain types of people – but with a family-like love that loves others despite their faults: the way Jesus loved.

imageLast week in part 10, we saw how at the end of it all – we need love. Because without it we are nothing. I was really challenged by a message I heard the other day that – we should not be praying for Jesus to teach us to love; rather we need to pray that the very person of Jesus would come into us and our lives would be an outpouring of His love. We can’t love on our own, because we are fallen human beings. But through Christ’s love, as we so beautifully saw this past week during Easter, surpasses all, and through Him we can love others.

And today, here we are at the end of the series. Let’s look at the last verse of this passage:

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren, nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh! To think! To be neither barren, nor unfruitful. So often I feel as if my life is empty, like I’m not doing anything for God – but God has placed me on this earth for a specific and special purpose.

It sounds super cliche to say that God has a purpose for your life.

But think about the power of that again. God has a purpose for your life.

It’s not just arbitrary. You’re not living this life for no reason or no aim – God has something very specific for you. But until we’re willing to seek Him fully, to give of ourselves to Him, all the things we cling to – our fruit will be worthless.

I have absolutely nothing – I mean nothing – of value or worth to do, make, say, or proclaim outside of what Christ has done for me. I am no one, but through Christ I am someone precious that He loves.

By myself,  I will be barren and unfruitful. My life will be nothing. It is only through Christ, in Christ, and because of Christ that I can further His kingdom – for His glory, and His alone.

Think about all the times the kids in Narnia tried to do things on their own. The times they tried to further themselves, their looks, their status, their own plans. What happened? They couldn’t see what Aslan had in store for them, but when they failed to trust in his plan, things went wrong. Yet in surrendering their own desires to the knowledge that Aslan had something better in store, they were able to do so much more.

image1 Timothy 1:17 – Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.



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