Applications of the Like Precious Faith
Disaster and Loss
It may be interesting for many of you to see the workings of the like precious faith as it relates to disaster and personal loss. There is never a shortage of events that fall into this category and nearly everyone reading this has been touched in some sense by it's impact. Here in Colorado were are in the midst of what has been called a thousand year flood at this writing. As part of our FoundationsOfTheLikePreciousFaith series let's look into how the Like Precious faith operates.
Lesson 1 - Righteousness
It is times like these where the righteousness of God is often challenged; when disaster strikes us personally. It is not that disaster doesn't happen somewhere all the time. We hear of it all the time on the news, but that doesn't necessarily challenge our faith. Other people we know are effected all of the time, but that is other people and not us.
Truth be told, I doubt that God is worried too much about our perceptions of His righteousness being challenged; His righteousness is more than big enough to hold it's own. It is perhaps even beneficial that our perceptions are challenged because our perceptions (even the best of them) fall so short.
The injury of say a flood or earthquake is in what we determine to be ours being taken from us without apparent reason, up to and including the lives of our loved ones. Not even the ground that we stand upon remains firm. Both the wicked and the good are equally effected indiscriminately. When the scriptures proclaim that no thing will beset us that is not common to all, somehow we equate that with hangnails and receding hair lines and not catastrophe.
The perception of the righteousness of God begins first with the simple presumption that somewhere in all of this uncertainty and darkness that it is in fact there, even if we are not yet sure where. From that point we pursue it further. It could be in that all people are effected indiscriminately. It could be in that this world is temporary and our preparation for the next is all that really matters. It could be in that nothing in this world is really ours until we receive our inheritance from Him in the real Kingdom. It could be in that nothing stands sure and eternal but His love for us.
Now that may not be a good enough answer for you at this time. It is a place to start your search however. If not for the presumption then there is no reason to search. I challenge you to search it out. I believe that it is there for the finding. It will be more than strong enough to wrestle your former mis-perceptions.
Fortunately, the scriptures are filled with challenging passages, passages where our perceptions are formed and challenged and tested. In them we see our perceptions challenged in the lives of other historic people so that when the challenge is upon our lives we have in hand and operate from better formulated perceptions. That doesn't mean we have all the answers, it means that in every case we can more easily give God the initial presumption and pursuit of His righteousness.
I can tell you that this presumption and pursuit, especially the righteousness between Father and Son our Christ performed on our behalf is the conduit from which our grace and peace in these trying times will have to come. From that will come the divine power giving us all things pertaining to life and godliness, the exceeding promises allowing us to operate within His divine nature above corruption when we go to apply our diligences. This in itself is a glimpse of His righteousness!
Lesson 2 - Diligence
The list of diligences line up well to this type of faith in God's righteousness and righteous provision.
Not only the courage to merely pick up the pieces and continue, but the valor to start up anew; the valor assigned towards a much larger moral excellence. The help of neighbor indeed. The empathetic attention given to the younger hearts unsettled by all of this turmoil not being as mature in faith or perception. The conviction of leadership when called for and the conviction of servitude when not. The connecting of people without to the greater resources of the broader body of believers within. It is the courage to move God's righteousness forward respectfully into these situations.
In part the knowledge that no amount of design/rebuilding to protect ourselves will keep us from the shifting soils of this awesome reality. We know now what we have seen. We know now of the friends and family of greater importance. We know now our only safe refuge is in Christ, not that we will be kept from disaster, but that in Him we will be strong even in these times. With this knowledge we seek how to reasonably rebuild and how to reasonably prepare resources for similar events elsewhere.
The tendency is for fear and emotions to rule and to wear down better sense. Individuals get so involved in what they think will make matters better, but in the long run either make matter worse or bare no significance at all to the whole. It is anxiety that say's it is better to do something than nothing at all. It is fear that says that I have take the driver's seat to control all this to its end. The temperance is in putting God's big picture righteousness forward and not our own.
Need it be said. Not everything is going to be fixed at once. Death. Destruction. Your whole world swept out from under you. Just as it is true in a physical sense it is true in a spiritual sense; you are going to need to give yourself patience. I don't expect many to immediately come to their senses about God's righteousness and where He is at in all of this. I only ask for your presumption that it is somewhere out that there and your promise that you will move into that realm and look for it. Will you also allow the same patience in the others around you as well?
Godliness as shown by Christ is not to stand above it all, but to place yourself within it. To be in the moment, to be connected, to not let an opportunity to do right pass you by. There is a form of godliness that denies the power there of. There is a form of Godliness that is every bit of that power and that power is the same power detailed by Peter here in this chapter.
Kindness at times like this is not a warm hearted fuzzy feeling that we are going through this together. It is a hand to the shovel or a shoulder for crying or a meal and a shower. Kindness is always tangible and is always sacrificial. It is the meal that you yourself would have had, the shoulder you yourself were seeking, the hand to the shovel that your home could have used. It doesn't mean that you neglect your needs it means that your needs are served by winning the tangible efforts of others in return.
All of this diligence is meant as a pipeline, an open conduit for transporting one thing...God's agape form of love. These diligences provide a flow throw that if allowed to be opened will flood the darkness all around you with light and purpose. The righteousness of God and Savior is the flowing of love. Not the nebulous forms of self love that we imagine ourselves holding God to; the righteously defined form of love that He holds us to. And why wouldn't we hold ourselves rather to this defined form of love that exceeds all earthly bounds?
Lesson 2 - Feedback and Correction
Once one begins operating in this like precious faith we know that the challenge has just begun. We know that there will be set back and we know that there will be corrections.
Peter gave us some very important feedback points for us to be looking at. One, that our lack in being fruitful in this knowledge is likely to from being short sighted as to God's righteousness and our use/application putting it forward into our lives and/or a struggling with our all too familiar former selves.
During crises the reaction time for input and correction compresses. It would have been better to have been experienced in the fruitful application beforehand, however that is rarely the case. It is most often learned on the fly by immersion into the situation. As the crises subsides this is where the feedback and analization towards correction is more likely to occur.
The problem becomes then a natural entropy in urgency and practice of these diligences, even a dying out of the fruitfulness once experienced. In essence we find a way to make it work in this situation, but not in all the rest. The like precious faith is not only to be applied when it is your neck on the line, it is to be applied for the sake of others. This is where the real challenge and correction occurs. This is what the majority of believers will shy away from.
Peter made it his objective to put us in constant remembrance of these things. He said that we know these things, that we would still need to be frequently reminded. The like precious faith applies to all types of situations not just the disastrous, there are always situations daily where these same things need to be applied.
Lesson 3 - Fable?
After reading this there may be those of you that will say "well all of this really doesn't tell me anything of what I need to do" and "it is all based upon a fable anyway".
I will admit that this brief composite doesn't tell much about what to do. In fact in a crises you will probably do what you would have done without the like precious faith. What is different initially is the "How you are doing it" and the "for what reason you are doing it". Become fruitful in that and you will plant the seed for becoming called upon to be fruitful in something other. As you become more established in the like precious faith in the eyes of God and others you may be called to actually do that something other; with that usually comes even greater sacrifice.
To simply dismiss Peter's approach on the bases of fable however is to ignore the enormous evidences in individual lives other than yours. A tree is known by it's fruit. This Sir is a very good tree with a very long track record tangible and welcome fruit. Life transforming fruit. From the brink of oblivion fruit. Numerous tiny daily fruits as well that helped a mother raise her child, helped a father go out and retrieve his prodigal son, helped a widow to better look upon her hope and expectation.
What is fable is more likely that we are in all of this alone, that we are an numerical accident of chaos, that there isn't purpose and meaning and righteous goodness even in the midst of our pain and turmoil.