Last week we looked at digital community. This week I am wrestling with how we can deal with all the elements competing to shape our day-to-day following of Jesus.

Reading

2 Peter 1:3-7     Jesus’ divine power has given us everything needed for life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of destructive cravings, and may become participants in the divine way of life. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. 
 

Reflection

Buy more. Spend more. Have more. Get more. Need more. Must have it all! Must hoard it all! Or must I? How do we negotiate the incessant invitations begging us to consume more every day? The letter of 2 Peter envisions the Christian life as one where Jesus empowers us by the Spirit to be people characterised and shaped by virtue. Rather than being corrupted by destructive cravings, we are invited into the divine way of life. This divine way of life is exemplified in the list of virtues mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
 
A key virtue concerning consumption is self-control. In the New Testament, there are various words, which can be translated as “self-control.” One of them refers to “sober-judgement”, as in not being like a drunk person unable to exercise good decision-making, easily given to silly choices and where mistakes are almost a predetermined outcome. Another word refers to “self-mastery” and indicates that you are aware, informed, and enabled to not follow the whims and temptations of worldly desires but take charge of yourself. Both of these are seen as skills and equipping, not inherent abilities, and as such, they can be weak or strong and require regular implementation to grow and strengthen. In 2 Peter the original word is the second one I have described, it refers to having self-mastery. Because Jesus empowers us, we do not have to follow every whim and temptation in the world. We do not have to give in to destructive cravings. By exercising self-control, we can enjoy the benefits of a virtuous community and participate in the divine way of life. In a world, which would seek our attention, affection and allegiance to consumption, we are those who are aware of God’s goodness and kindness to us, and the life that God invites us to live. Rather than be mastered by destructive cravings, we are invited to exercise self-control so that we may flourish and may enable others to do likewise.
 
Therefore, the invitation today is to begin to strengthen our self-control. Start by making small and intentional decisions about your consumption. Think about the choices you make. Are they the best choices for you at this time? Do they reflect the person you want to become, the people Jesus wants us to become?

 

Prayer

Gracious and empowering God, thank you for your provision. Thank you that you care about us and the people that we are becoming. Thank you for inviting us into your divine way of life. Continue to help us be aware of your empowering Spirit. Give us the strength to make beneficial choices that will shape our character to reflect you and your ways.
 

Questions

Where can you exercise self-control in your consumption?
How will your consumer choices shape the person you want to become?

 

Quotation

Even a little self-control can save you a lot of time, energy and errors. – Unkown
 

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