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
 

Recent posts

What you need to know about our partners part 2: Helping in a disaster without harming

What you need to know about our partners part 2: Helping in a disaster without harming

Wednesday, 21 October 2020 — Andrew Robinson

Imagine being caught in a moment of crisis—pushed beyond your ability to cope. You are swept up in circumstances outside of your control, left vulnerable, overwhelmed and in need of help, but you don’t know where help will come from. Tearfund hears the cries and responds to disasters through local partners to meet the immediate needs of people. Tearfund also works with the community to help people build back their lives in a sustainable way.  What’s important is the people we serve are protected and treated with dignity. 
 

Read more

Six authentic ways to be generous and not judgemental

Six authentic ways to be generous and not judgemental

Friday, 16 October 2020 — Compassion International

As Christians we are called to live generously, not putting our hope in things but in God. He is the only one who can judge us. It’s a balance of enjoying the things God gives us, being generous, doing good, and not chasing riches. Here are six ways you can be generous and not judgemental. 
 

Read more

Outworking faith through advocacy

Outworking faith through advocacy

Wednesday, 14 October 2020 — Grace Stanton

Rosie Paterson-Lima has always had a heart for people, especially people less fortunate than herself. She was exposed to poverty from a very young age. It impacted her so much that she dedicated her life to helping bring people out of their situation and into their God-given potential. She became an advocate for Tearfund in 2010 and is now working for Tearfund as a Programmes Specialist. 
 

Read more

TJC as easy as 123: Three reasons why you should attend The Justice Conference

TJC as easy as 123: Three reasons why you should attend The Justice Conference

Tuesday, 13 October 2020 — Grace Stanton

The Justice Conference gives you a platform to learn about different justice issues and a chance to see how other people live out justice, so you can learn, advocate and do justly yourself! Here are three reasons why you should attend!

 

Read more

Why your efforts to tackle child poverty matter now more than ever

Why your efforts to tackle child poverty matter now more than ever

Tuesday, 06 October 2020 — Compassion International

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the vulnerable. Many people have been unable to work and if they can’t work that means they can’t feed their family. Children are also out of school because of government restrictions and people are scared to go to the hospital to get vaccinated against other diseases for the fear of catching Covid-19. Tearfund’s partner Compassion is doing all it can, alongside the local church, to meet the needs of struggling families.
 

Read more

A life of hope in a world destroyed by drugs

A life of hope in a world destroyed by drugs

Monday, 05 October 2020 — Compassion International

Angelyn’s world fell apart when she discovered her parents were selling drugs. She refused to tell the staff at the Compassion child sponsorship programme out of a mistaken fear that they would reject her. She lost hope and stopped coming to the project. At the age of 12, she began drinking alcohol and going to nightclubs. When her caseworker finally reached her, he invited her to a youth camp. Reluctantly she agreed, and her life changed course. 
 

Read more

From being orphaned, beaten and homeless to living out God’s plan

From being orphaned, beaten and homeless to living out God’s plan

Monday, 05 October 2020 — Compassion International

Vivian was just nine years old when both of her parents died. She and her younger sister were taken in by their aunty, who neglected them, stole from them, and beat them. One night their aunty had had enough and kicked them out of the house. Vivian and her sister were left homeless until Tearfund’s partner, Compassion, brought them in. Now Vivian can live out God’s plan for her life.
 

Read more

Show more