Tuesday, December 02, 2008



When your life is out of control and your back is against the wall, you need a faith-lift. Your faith-lift will necessarily emerge from within your heart-inside out. This is why it's so important to get over yourself with that toxic pride and controlling attitude. You see, there is no room for this kind of toxicity, if you are practicing and experiencing the love of Jesus. In fact, without this kind of Jesus' love, nothing else much matters.

Paul spoke to this when writing to the followers of Jesus in Corinth. He said: If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love must be present in everything we do and say. If the love of Jesus is absent, you may be saying and doing all the right things, yet sounding like offensive, clanging cymbals.

I want to address four primary issues of life that if handled correctly will produce the most beautiful expression of life's symphony ever-usefulness, fruitfulness, perfect perspective, protection from stumbling, and enthusiastic approval from your Creator. However, these same life issues if handled poorly will produce the most annoying and unsatisfying sound ever-the sound of ill-timed, ill-played, clanging cymbals. Cymbals require skillfulness to play, a symphony with whom to participate and a certain surety of the precise timing of when to strike.

Each of us has been handed a set of cymbals in life and must handle them with care. This four-part series will interact with the fine line between the enjoyment of playing your cymbals correctly and the irritation and embarrassment of holding a set of clanging cymbals.

As we examine each one over the next few days, you are eligible to receive four vital promises from the Creator-God, Himself. The answers to not becoming clanging cymbals and the accompanying promises are found in the first chapter of II Peter. Let's briefly take a look at the promises you can count on if you apply the principles over the next four days.

FIRST-The promise of productivity! Peter says: For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you embrace the four principles over the next four days for yourself and continue to grow in them, you will experience outstanding fruitfulness in your life.

SECOND-The promise of perspective! Peter says: For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. If you lack the four qualities or principles, you will be blind-not be able to see where you are, short-sighted-not be able to see where you're going, and forget how your sins have been forgiven-not be able to see where you've been.

THIRD-The promise of protection! Peter says: Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. If you not only embrace these four principles for yourself, but practice them, you will never, in any way stumble.

FOURTH-The promise of prosperity! Here Peter says: for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. You will be presented a special entrance into the Kingdom with all of its abundance.

There is no other biblical passage that is as clear as II Peter 1 about what promises you will receive, if you do certain things. The four principles we are going to examine are found in a few verses just prior to these promises:

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply virtue, and in your virtue, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.

It begins with your faith and ends with love. But note one thing. He says be diligent to supply all these things to your faith-virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. The word "supply" is an interesting term. It means that you are to fully underwrite or sponsor these qualities to your faith. It was used in the Greek city-states and referred to a wealthy citizen who was asked to underwrite or sponsor the next big event for the city.

You aren't to pray for these things, but you are to do these things and practice them with your faith. You are to do them-virtue (an initial step of commitment), experiential knowledge, self-control (self-strength), perseverance (the ability to hang in there), then when you have been hanging in there through the difficult times, you will learn so much and acquire qualities of godliness. Don't try to do these things alone, but practice brotherly love and then supply unconditional love to your faith.

What's very interesting is that the same term is used in the fourth promise. Only this time, it is said that God will abundantly supply (underwrite or sponsor) a special entrance into the Kingdom just for you. The image here is an Olympic Champion who is welcomed home by making him a special door or gate named for him to honor him. In this case, if you richly supply these principles to your faith, God will abundantly supply this sort of special entrance for you. And it won't be just a gate to the city, but to the Kingdom of God. Over the next four days, do your best to embrace each of these principles for yourself.