Monday, September 18, 2023

           I opened a package recently that had the words “Fragile: Handle With Care” stamped on it.  And the words were true.  The inside contents were fragile and could have easily broken if the package had been tossed or dropped.  The same warning could be applied to many things we face in life.  Indeed, life itself is fragile and brief and must be handled with care.  Tomorrow is not promised to us.  Peter, in his own words, wrote about the brevity and fragility of life.  His words serve as a good warning for how we are to live.  The apostle wrote, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:11-13).  If we spend time reading his words carefully, we can identify some lessons for how to live today.
            First, Peter made it clear that life as we know it will one day end.  The creation, as it is, will not last forever.  The creation is stained, stunted and saturated by sin and human defiance.  From the episode in Eden involving Eve all the way to now, humans have defied and disobeyed God. The results of this disobedience can be felt throughout the world.  So, God has a new order in mind and some reconstruction that He plans to do.  It certainly makes sense not to hold on too tightly or too eagerly to the things of this world.  Jesus instructed us to put up treasures in heaven that are not subject to ruin, theft or decay but are suitable to last forever (see Matthew 6:19-21). 
            Second, Peter said that knowing this world will not last forever should impact and determine what kind of people we will be.  Peter asked his readers the question, “what kind of people ought you to be?” (3:11).  That kind of question gets us to thinking.  Such a question is not rhetorical.  Nothing could be more practical or appropriate than asking who or what we ought to be.  Such a question gets to the serious and practical matters like faith, character, trust, ambitions and what we value or prioritize in life.  If you knew that life was ending tomorrow, you would choose to live much differently today.  It might be wise to live with a sense of urgency or perspective today.  It might be wise to live like the world is going to end because it will.  We do not know days or times but we can be certain that the end will come one day.
            Third, Peter challenged his readers to live holy and godly lives.  To be holy means to live distinctly and even separately.  To be holy means to chart a course that follows Christ and not the crowd.  Choose Christ above all the other options and ways you could go.  In verse 12, Peter gives us some motivation to live a holy and godly life—we are looking forward to the day of the Lord and His coming.  We want to be ready and waiting.  We do not want to be found ashamed or unaware when the Lord chooses to come for His people.  Jesus taught His disciples to live watchfully and expectantly.  The whole season of Advent is about sharpening our lives to welcome His return.  We want to live in wholesale anticipation of His return.  Imagine that you play on a football team but you are not a starter.  You are a backup but the coach has told you to be ready because the time will come when the team will need you to step up and play well.  So, you prepare, practice and plan to be ready when the moment comes.  When the coach calls your name, you want to be ready to do what needs to be done.  You may recall that New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rogers tore his Achilles tendon just four plays into a game in a new season with a new team.  Can you imagine being his backup and learning that you are now the starter for the rest of the season?  Life comes at us fast.  And so will the Lord some day when the time comes for His return.
            And fourth, make plans for a new home.  We are not talking about selling or buying real estate.  We are not making plans for a new construction.  Rather, Peter said in verse fourteen that we are to look forward to a new heaven and a new earth.  God will do something new.  God will redeem and reclaim what has been lost to sin and rebellion.  Paul said that eyes have not seen, ears have not heard and human minds have not conceived of what God has prepared for His people (1 Corinthians 2:9).  God will amaze and astound us by what He has chosen for His people.  Think of the most beautiful thing that you have ever seen or experienced and then multiply it by infinity.  That is what God has in store for His people.
            In the middle of 2 Peter 3:11-13, the apostle used the expression “that day.”  Peter is pointing us to the future.  We can look forward to that moment when God changes everything.  Do not be discouraged by what happens around you or the mundane moments that invade your life.  “That day” is coming.  It is closer now than yesterday or last week.  The enemy would like to keep us looking backward or stuck in the present challenges.  But Peter points us forward.  Have a great Monday!  Remember you can worship any time at 

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