by Pastor Tim Burt
If I have ever repeated a statement in my writings, it's this: We can not live life the way God asks us to live it, without His help. God does not just want us to live day-to-day as though life were a grind. God wants us to live out each day with the purpose of being a light for Him. When we do, we will see and experience more of His help and presence than we could have every imagined. And one day you'll even realize that living your life with Jesus as your Savior and with the help of the Holy Spirit is a supernatural life—a life experiencing the miraculous power of God's touch again and again. Think I'm crazy? A supernatural life? Really? Absolutely yes! Lets read these words! 2 Peter 1:4 (NIV) "...God has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires."
I hope you noticed two important things: a) you get to participate in the divine nature, and b) you get to escape the life of corruption that the world lives in because of their evil desires. 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV) tells us more saying, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness."
In that last verse you should have noticed two more important things: a) His power gives us the ability to live this life with God's help, and b) it happens through our knowledge of God who has called us to do so. So how does that work?
Peter continues to tell us that the divine nature will work in us through this: 2 Peter 1:5-8 (NIV) "...make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I am going to apply God's divine help and nature to marriage. How do these virtues tie in? Your marriage will become wonderful over time as you develop in putting on these godly virtues. God will help you through them. We are to persevere in learning what puts love in your spouses love bank and likewise, learning to avoid what provokes and creates conflict. Anything we work hard at and according to God's instruction, will in time become the blessing God intended it to be. This is true in marriage. As you persevere learning what makes your spouse happy and how to not provoke each other, and then practice it until you are good at it, will in time become part of your instinctive behavior. You will develop instincts and good practices at being a good spouse if you work hard at it. In time it will become much easier and marriage will become a blessing and not a curse. We are to have faith that our diligent effort will produce results. God’s power working in your divine nature will help you persevere and succeed where others would fail.
This verse also says to add “godliness.” Generally, wives want husbands to develop a more Christ-like character. They also want them to take a spiritual lead. They want them to sit down and initiate reading the Bible or praying together. This elevates the perception of the husband in the eyes of most wives (that love God of course.) Guys, this doesn't mean you have to be a spiritual giant or understand profound spiritual truths. It means you stop at a Christian bookstore, pick up a daily devotional that you and your spouse both like, and initiate by saying honey, let’s sit down after dinner (or after the kids are in bed) and read through this devotional together. It might take five minutes to read. You might talk about it together for a few minutes and then pray out loud from your heart together to ask God to help you in what you read about and with the needs in our life. This may not seem like profound revelation yet God says in Matthew 18:19 (NIV) "I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven." God will honor your faith and effort. He'll hear and answer your prayers. He'll speak to your heart in a way you can relate to. It can be powerful and yet it is simple! It will help you both develop in godly character and put on "godliness."
Husbands want their wives to become more godly in character. To most men that simply means to be more respecting and honoring of them. Ladies, you have God-given instincts on how to make your man feel love and appreciated and respected. I know they should do the same to you! That will come. He doesn't want to be lectured. Encouragement without making him feel like he is already failing at something helps him greatly. I recently dropped some weight in trying to get back to my running weight. Renee hasn't lectured me in helping me. She has just been there to help buy and make better and healthier foods so that I don't grab and snack on things that derail my goals. She’s makes it a point to tell me I am looking good! That is a great encouragement to me. That is the character quality of godliness. She has learned to encourage without nagging or bringing condemnation.
Finally this verse says to add “brotherly kindness.” How does “brotherly kindness” work in a marriage? These words carry the meaning of displaying appropriate attitude and behavior consistently. It means a life without temperamental outbursts or mood swings. It has more to do with someone always looking out for your best interests as we see in Philip. 2:4 (NLT) “Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing.” We all know what kindness is and what being mean or rude is. Let kindness and exhortation to each other become your pattern of life and if you do, your marriage will thrive.
Renee and I started our marriage, immature and selfish. We wanted a supernatural marriage —a marriage built on God's word and with His supernatural imprint on it. We diligently persevered in developing these virtue. We saw God's grace help us do things we could not have done in our own strength. That's what it means to participate in God's divine nature.
We absolutely found out that it takes more draining energy and emotion to live a sloppy and defeated marriage than it does to live a great marriage. The power of God reminded and helped us be kind and do kind things regardless of feelings! We learned that good feelings followed right attitude and behavior. God helped us listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit rather than our mind and emotions tempting and provoking us to flesh out into potentially explosive moments. The power of God helped us shut our mouth when we needed to. God helped us to pause and let our emotions calm down until we could think clearly and minimize issues rather than turn every little thing into a mountain of strife. His power in us helped us develop what started as pure chaos, into a beautiful marriage.
1 Peter 4:8 (NIV) "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt