Last week, the seeds planted by my mother and two grandmothers that had lain dormant for the past two years thankfully sprouted and took root again inside me. The joy over my most favorite holiday returned, transforming my Thanksgiving preparations into pure delight. Like many of you, I asked all my peeps for their food requests, made my grocery list, shopped till I dropped, decided what could be made ahead and what would be last-minute dishes. Then I donned my apron, and enjoyed days of chopping, slicing, simmering, and stirring. I remembered some of my grandmothers’ tricks as I went along, adding a dash of this and a sprinkle of that. It felt good to be connected to them like that again. I’m praying my grandchildren will store away those kinds of memories to conjure up later on.
Sometime during this Thanksgiving Day process, my quiet time took me to 2 Peter 1, and naturally my wheels started churning up thoughts, words, and lessons – some for you, but more for me. I began to notice that Peter’s words made a great recipe for “MORE”. Doesn’t God’s love seem like a plateful of Thanksgiving goodness, always leaving us wanting just a little bit more? The more love we have, the more we’ll be able to share love with others.
Peter began his second letter by handing us God’s menu. On it, we see that the Master Chef included every possible delicacy free of charge. “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Peter 1:3, CSB, emphasis mine)
It’s as if Jesus beckons us to God’s buffet and then waits to see how we will respond. Will we heap our plates high, having complete confidence in the quality of His meal, or will we lack faith in who He made us to be and only dip out a few measly crumbs? God planned for our meal to begin with substantial faith and end with a deliciously, decadent amount of love.
So, how do we expand our simple faith into this kind of belt-loosening love? It’s a process that’s not merely survived, but one in which we THRIVE! Peter spells it out perfectly. We set our plate of FAITH on the table. Then, because we crave more, God helps us to methodically spoon out helping after helping of the following dishes:
GOODNESS. As the Holy Spirit stirs inside us, our desire to make good moral decisions gets folded into our already-existing faith. His power at work in us allows others to taste and see God’s goodness expressed through us.
KNOWLEDGE. The more we get to know God, the more understanding and wisdom we will digest. The wiser we become, the more effective we’ll be in sharing God’s goodness. Experiencing God’s love, the grace of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit will quickly turn our sour religion into sweet relationship.
SELF-CONTROL. A deeper friendship with God and an acceptance of His grace motivates us to say ‘no’ to our own selfish desires. We trust the Spirit to help us see the consequences of putting our own desires first. This helps us avoid the things that are bad for us.
ENDURANCE. Just when we’re beginning to thrive in God’s process, Satan dispenses discouragement to shove us out of line. When we’ve had more than we can take, God helps us purge all that’s been making us sick, so that we can receive His hefty dollop of “everything good”. The joy of the Lord becomes our strength that helps us endure!
GODLINESS. Realizing where our help comes from allows us to become more like Jesus. Godliness forms when we realize life is not all about us. We were made to praise God and give Him the very best reviews. As our faith gets richer, it becomes the spice of life that releases the fragrance of Christ.
BROTHERLY AFFECTION. Realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around us, allows us to see others through God’s eyes. Brotherly affection can take many forms. It might come through a phone call, a text, flowers, an unexpected meal, a short note, a long letter, errands run, babysitting, listening, or just giving your time. In a nutshell, brotherly affection is anything that makes someone else’s day better, all because the giver wants to, not because they think they should. (We can usually tell the difference, right?)
LOVE. When we pile our faith high with goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, and brotherly affection, all the world sees is love – God’s love!
Thanksgiving isn’t the only day we give thanks. It’s a special day of remembrance that grows sweeter every year. In the same way, Peter’s process of enriching our faith isn’t a one-time thing. It’s like enjoying your favorite meal again and again. Every morsel creates a more glorious and inexpressible joy because we’re drawn that much closer to Love.
May the seeds we plant today sprout and take root in those coming behind us. May our children’s children be filled to overflowing by the gracious goodness of Jesus.
“Though you have not seen him, you love him; though not seeing him now, you believe in him, and you rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”1 Peter 2:8-9, CSB