Hello, sweet friends of Doodling Faith!
I'm so blessed - like, super excitedly blessed - to be using the Doodling Faith blog for sharing the love and life we have in Jesus our Christ!
For those of you that don't know, I'm a HUGE fan of this team in its outreach, its heart, its purpose, and its absolute love for God and His glory. There is nothing more that I want than to team with sisters and brothers of the family of God to bring the Word to any and all that will hear/read!
The purpose of THIS blog is to share a bit of what my home-church pastor preached this last Sunday.
Part 6 of his series called, "Fit-ish," landed me right where I needed: evaluating and analysing my growth in the Lord. I would absolutely encourage you to listen to the sermon (click here), and let me know in the comments what your thoughts are, and what impacted you the most! Everyone comes away with something different and particular to their own journey with God when they read scripture or hear a sermon. I hope you'll give it a listen as you sip a lovely cup of coffee, study notes in hand. Should you really feel ambitious, I would also recommend the prior instalments of this sermon series! :D
Am I spending time exercising my soul in His Word?
Am I living in accordance with His Word to His glory?
Am I giving Him top priority and power in my life?
Am I adding to my faith the things that Peter speaks of in order to grow as a Christian?
These are just a few questions that came to mind during the sermon, a sermon I will not forget quickly!
And, I took LOTS of notes.
So many notes.
Oodles of notes, just scrambling to catch all the rich and hard truths as they were preached "from the pulpit," so to speak.
The Word of God says, "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God." (Romans 10:17)
Pastor Kyle, here in good old Vestal, New York, reminded me once again of the utmost importance of living a life that promotes spiritual fitness - spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord.
As you can see in said notes, he supplements this concept and doctrine of growth mainly from 2 Peter 1:1-11.
"To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior 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, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
No matter what your religious affiliations or preferences, faith is the centre. In Christianity, following Jesus starts with faith. Not faith in something abstract, unreal, or completely unfounded. Faith in the God that no one can see, who sent His Son, the One we CAN see. Faith is the journey we fall into once we have received Christ as our Redeemer of our lives and Lover of our souls.
To be spiritually fit in Jesus, means we must have faith in Jesus. And as said before, faith grows by the hearing of His Word. The passage above is crucial to read and understand by way of this idea.
Faith is the foundation of our growing up, rising up, and bearing up in our journey with Jesus.
Peter expounds further how to obtain a constant and consistent growth, by telling us of how to "add to your faith" and thereby live your best life for Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
The pyramid you see here in my notes, is the one taken from the sermon. I used Pastor K's sermon slides to help me visualise further what it means to grow as a daughter of God.
With faith as our foundation, we must then build upon it with the following:
Self-Control (the one I'm most lousy at)
Each of these sections is given an explanation so to better understand where they fit, and Pastor Kyle does not mince words when he comes to each of them. In fact, the reception of what he said hit so hard in my heart that it felt as though he was preaching only to me.
Which of these sections on Peter's pyramid is one that you excel in the most?
Which of these is the biggest struggle?
Yes, mine is self-control. I have not exercised the ability to work outside my emotions every time. I have not developed good habits of making decisions based on the foundation of my faith, Jesus Christ. If you struggle in this area too, Pastor K gives us a couple things to think about.
1. Preserve your will power.
There's nothing harder than being able to think logically and work patiently if you have been emotionally or mentally spent. Take down time. Use rest and reprieve to help gain perspective, and utilize the Word of God to help in areas of wisdom.
2. Create new habits/patterns.
It's incredibly difficult to have self-control if we have not been willing to change our mode of operation. Just as an example, I cannot promote healing in my family relationships if I am not striving to habitualize speaking grace, love, and kindness throughout the day. Even if it's difficult at first, the dynamic WILL change and I WILL see results in the overall mood if I initiate a new form of communication. This WILL have its affect; this WILL NOT be in vain.
One last thing that really stood out to me is that, at the top of this spiritual pyramid, is the peak we call Love. The icing on the cake, if I could use a food analogy. And this is not the brotherly love spoken of just prior; this is Jesus Love.
"Agape" love which is the love that says I will pursue your best interest regardless of what it costs me.
It's a more difficult love to exercise than we think as it pertains to even loving your enemies, but it IS doable. Peter says so. Jesus says so.
I ask again: where are you excelling, and where are you struggling?
If you don't see growth in your walk with God - if you are not seeing success in your journey with Jesus - it may be time to scan these character traits of a Christian given here in 2 Peter. It may be time to ask God to give you the insight and wisdom, heart and desire to change. It may be… I know it is for me. May the grace and peace of our Lord be on you as you pursue growth in Him. May He bless you richly as you strive to glorify Him!
Much love from your sis,
PS - the digital kit on the Doodling Faith website gave such a beautiful touch to my note-taking. That digital kit can be found here. The traveller's notebook I used for said note-taking can be found here.