"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, 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 knowlege of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8
Josh Hamilton is the All-Star outfielder for the Texas Rangers. His story of recommitting himself to Christ and battling drug and alcohol addiction to regain an opportunity to play professional baseball is chronicled in his 2008 book, Beyond Belief. That same year, he won the hearts of fans everywhere with a spectacular performance in the All-Star Game Homerun Derby. It seemed as though he had turned the corner of his troubles, but then something happened just months later. He had a highly publicized relapse when he went to Arizona to prepare for the 2009 season. He took one drink, which led to about twenty, and a horrible situation followed. Once the ordeal subsided, Hamilton began to process the events that led to his relapse. He realized that the whole mess occured after neglecting his spiritual disciplines for three weeks. He said, "For three weeks, I stopped reading my Bible. I stopped doing my devotions. I stopped praying. I stopped fellowshipping with my accountability partner." As Hamilton acknowledged, "It's an everyday battle", so we can never afford a hiatus from the disciplines that help us stay on track spiritually.
2 Peter 1:5-8 provides a great model and step-by-step process for spiritual growth and discipline. First, we are saved so that we can grow to reflect Christ and serve others. Growth is essential. God desires to spend time with us and produce His character in us. But we need to actively participate, applying all diligence. To accomplish this, God requires our discipline and effort. When we begin to obey Christ, we begin to develop self-control, not only in respect to food and drink, but also as we continue to apply the ongoing list of virtues.
Are you reading your Bible daily? Are you praying daily? Are you fellowshipping with other believers? Are you taking time out to witness and share your faith in Christ? Are you taking spiritual growth steps? These are the fundamentals. I encourage you to continue to practice and refine these basics of the Christian life.
One of the marks of a good athlete is constant repetition.
Posted on Thu, August 18, 2011
by Keith Knight