Hanging On

To do the right thing is not a matter of willpower always. Many times, beloved, it has to do with trusting Jesus.

Scripture: 2 Peter 1:5, Hebrews 11


And hello radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing all right today? Oh, I trust so. Yes, I wait for you to answer because I know many of you do. That’s a little thing we have between us, isn’t it? I ask you something and you answer me. And of course, I don’t hear it but I know that you’re there and I know your answer is there. Bless your heart. Nice to belong to each other, isn’t it? I like that.

We’re looking at 2 Peter, Chapter 1. And now we’ve come to Verse 5 and Peter said, “Beside this.” Now, what did he say? He said, “I’m writing to people who share our faith, our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. The glue that holds us together is our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.” He said, “I am writing to you in terms of what God has done for us. He manifests His grace and as a result we enjoy His peace. And then He has given us all that we need to be successful as believers.” “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” And the way that becomes real is getting to know Him, through the knowledge of Him, who has called us to glory and virtue.

Now, the implementing force of that privilege that you and I have is found in the Word of God, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great, and precious promises, that by these promises you might be partakers,” that means sharers actually, sharing. It’s related to the word “Koinonia” that we often times use, Greek word meaning fellowship. “Sharers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,” through desire that gets the upper hand.

All right. Now, he said “Beside all these.” He said, “This is wonderful but there is just something more. There is something you can do.” He said, “Giving all diligence.” Giving all diligence, now, he uses diligence here in Verse 5 and he also used it in Verse 10 where he says, “Give diligence to make your calling and election sure, so an entrance will be ministered unto you abundantly to the kingdom of Christ.” But over here in Verse 5 he says “Now, beside this giving all diligence.” Why is he saying that? Because this is something which if you neglect it will keep you weak and ineffective in your Christian life.

These are qualities that are to be added to your character. Attributes that are to be added to your life and character by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and it’s something you do in connection with your faith in Him. “Giving all diligence,” what does he mean? Well, if you’re diligent at something that means you’d get at it. Number two, that means you’re thorough. Number three, it means you don’t quit till it’s done, right?

Diligence in house cleaning for example; those of you who are homemakers, who listened just now, what does it mean to be diligent in house cleaning? It means you get at it, it means you keep at it, it means you do a good job, you get into the corners and under the rug and so on. And get all the dust and curlers out from under the dresser and the bed that you really clean.

And do you remember that story of the little boy who said “Is it true that we were created from dust?” And his mother said “Yes.” Well, he said “Under the bed there’s somebody coming or going because you have a lot of dust there.” No, if you’re going to clean, you have get at it, don’t you? You have to be diligent and you don’t quit till it’s done.

I remember years ago, when we lived in the big, big house on the campus of the college, my dear Norwegian wife was busy cleaning one day and I have ventured to suggest that she just sort of give it the short method, “Why don’t you just ease off a little now? You don’t really have to kill yourself and work so terribly hard.” And she stood up and looked at me and she said, “Do you want me to live in this house?” Well, I said “Yes, I guess so.” Well, she said “If you want me to live here, it’s going to be clean.” And then she went right at it.

See, that’s how you dear ladies are and we respect you, and love for it. Diligent, do you know what diligent is then, don’t you? If you’re diligent about a business deal, that means you redefine print and you work it out until it’s done. If you’re diligent about a production matter in a factory, that means you don’t allow yourself to be careless, and you don’t allow yourself to do any day dreaming, lest the work be spoiled but you keep right at it until it’s done. That’s diligent, all right?

Well then, he said “Giving all diligence, add to your faith.” Now, what is this? How can you add anything? Well, I think you can make it easy for yourself to apply if you go back and realize that in Hebrews 11 it says, “But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

You can come to God and you can get an answer from God and you do it by faith. Three times in the New Testament you have a quotation of an Old Testament passage which says, “The just shall live by faith.” “One’s for salvation, and one’s for assurance, and one’s for keeping on the job.” Living by faith, we are saved by faith, we get assurance of salvation by faith and we stay on the job by faith. That’s what those three quotations refer to as I recall.

Now, he says “Here’s something else you do by faith.” He said, “You’ve got all you need. His divine power has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness.” And he said, “He has giving you the great and precious promises so you can actually share in the attributes of God’s nature.” Now, he says “You do something about it by faith, add to your faith, virtue and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance,” there’s that word again, “and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness Calvary love.” “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

It is double negative there, take that out and he says, “If these things be in you, and abound, they’ll make you fruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, you want to think about that for a moment? Giving all diligence, now the first thing that I have to do is to decide I have to get at this. It’s not enough for me to say I’m trusting Jesus to save me. He did that by faith and I’m God’s child, and I’m on my way to Heaven and the Holy Spirit of God has come to dwell in my heart. Hallelujah, that’s great. But there’s something I have to work on. He said “Add to your faith, virtue.” Now, virtue is the quality of spontaneously doing that which is right.

The quality of spontaneously doing that which is right, virtue. Ah, that really is a big order, isn’t it? That is a big order. “Giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge.” Now, how do you make this real? It’s one thing for Bob Cook to talk to you about it, it’s another thing to make it real on main street when you’re busy living on a given Thursday at ten o’clock in the morning. Now, you see what you do is you apply your commitment to Jesus Christ, and your commitment to the eternal Word of God, the Bible. You apply your commitment to God and to his Word in terms of situations. That takes something very simple.

You come to an intersection where there’s a traffic light, you’re driving along, you’re approaching that traffic light about 100 feet or 200 feet away from the traffic light, it turns yellow. You’re in a hurry, you’re late. There’s no one at the intersection that is about to cross. You don’t see a police car either and you think “Oh, well, it doesn’t matter and I’m late. I’ll just scoot on through on a hot yellow.” So, that before you even enter into the intersection the thing just turned red. And you’ve actually gone through a red light but nobody saw you, you say, and nobody was hurt. There wasn’t anybody that was going to come out that you might hit them.

Well, add to your faith, virtue. What does that mean? It means in simple little matters like driving like a Christian, by faith you’re going to trust God to help you do it. While we’re in traffic — let me give you another illustration. Have you been driving along, minding your own business when somebody suddenly cut out in front of you? And just about hit you as they cut you off in traffic? Doesn’t that get to you? Oh, it makes you so angry, doesn’t it? Now, he says “Add to your faith, virtue.” What’s the right thing to do? Go after the person and shout at him?

Coreen and I were on our way with Lois and the children the other day, up there in Connecticut, and there was a big traffic jam and I wondered was there an accident or something? Well, the man ahead of me grew impatient, so he got out of his car and walked up toward the head of the column of traffic, came back smiling rather bitterly I thought and he said, “Oh, there’s two guys arguing up there.” Well, finally then a line began to move and the other, well, that’s that.

We went on our way perhaps half a mile, and came to another traffic light, and now we were behind a car on the right and a pickup truck in the center of the road, both of them stopped at the red light. And again, the driver of the pickup truck got out of the car, went over, shook his fist and was shouting all sorts of obscenities at this man who had done something to offend him in a traffic matter.

Well, people behind him grew impatient and some of them tooted their horns. I didn’t as a matter of fact, aren’t you proud of me? But you know when somebody cuts you off in traffic and it makes you angry. You’re going to go up and tell him off? Or at least, are you going to give him a dirty look? Are you going to blow your horn at him in a manner that is equivalent to using a little nonverbal profanity? You know you can blow your horn in a very mean way if you want to. Now, what do you do?

He says “Add to your faith, virtue.” To live like a Christian, to think like a Christian, to talk like a Christian and to drive like a Christian is a matter that you take not only by effort but by faith. Yes, you make an effort to live right. Yes, you make an effort to obey God in what you know He wants you to do. But in those moments when the pressure is on, you bow and say “Lord Jesus, hang on to me now.”

I do want to tell you this, the most delightful thing in the world, to feel the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, changing your whole mood in a moment when you might be bitterly angry or when you might want just to react to something in a nasty way, find the Holy Spirit of God working in your heart and mind to keep you calm and cool, and reasonably pleasant. “Add to your faith, virtue.” To do the right thing is not a matter of willpower always. Many times, beloved, it has to do with trusting Jesus, to hang on to Him, and to do His work in your heart and in your mind, and your emotions and your feelings.

Dear Father today, O, may we be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God and may we really walk by faith, by believing Thee to hang on to us and guide us. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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