By Sarah Morrison
Originally Published in the Be Still Magazine, Issue 6
Second Peter 1 is an anthem. Peter knows he’s about to be martyred for the cause of Christ, and he’s writing to fellow believers in order to remind them of what they already know: Christ is the sufficient source of all knowledge, and His Word is trustworthy and strongly confirmed. A man who knows he will soon taste death echoes once more that Christ is enough, and those echoes still matter two millennia later.
His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness2 Peter 1:3
It is often very easy to forget the purpose of the written Word of God. It’s not a personality test we take to discover who we truly are, nor is it a confirming source meant to tickle our ears. No, the Word of God is strictly such: a firm and immutable source by which our hearts and minds are illumined to the character of God. When we don’t treat it as it ought to be, we find ourselves dreadfully bored by it—and rightfully so. Thankfully our Bible is not a mess of whimsy and sometimes-but-not-always true precepts, but instead it is the vessel by which all things worth knowing are revealed.
Yet, it is eerily easy to grow discontented with the Word of God. Not because its fount of truth has dried up, nor because we have learned all there is to learn, but because our hearts tend to desire things that are temporal in value instead of eternal. I’m guilty of taking sips of Scripture and deeming that sufficient for sustenance. I’m guilty of not desiring the piercing words of Scripture, which spur me on towards holiness. I’m guilty of being discouraged in daily reading, lacking the understanding that I see others might have. And most ghastly of all, I’m guilty of deeming things in Scripture as inapt to me.
We must be better in the task by tirelessly pursuing the knowledge of God because it is so dearly precious. Prior to the aforementioned verse, Peter writes a detailed list of attributes that should supplement our faith: goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Thereafter he offers a sobering remark,
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Peter 1:8
I have been stuck in the monotony of being useless and unfruitful for the cause of Christ before, and it is awfully bitter. I had a friend once offer me the wisdom that when we aren’t in God’s Word, we don’t desire God’s Word. The same vein reigns true with this verse—when we are not involved in God’s Word, we don’t desire good things. Friends, if you’re in that headspace right now, please know I earnestly plead to God on your behalf. Peter bids stern warning to believers who are not increasing in godliness by calling them blind and forgetful of the cleansing from past sins. So, I entreat you not to stay there, but to cling to the light of Scripture that God has so graciously given.
We also have the prophetic word strongly confirmed, and you will do well to pay attention to it as a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your heart.2 Peter 1:19
I love the quietness of morning. I’m captivated by the simple sounds you hear while the rest of the world is still waking up. The warmth of a mug in hand, a dog in my lap, and a single lamp lighting up our living room is one of the most peaceful places for me. I used to treasure this time beyond anything else. And while that single lamp is sufficient for the pre-dawn morning, I gladly trade that lamp for the sunlight everyday. It is sufficient for the night, but I eagerly welcome the sunrise so the light can stream in more fully.
Light breaking is not an uncommon symbol—I’m sure one of your favorite Bible verses or worship songs probably calls to mind this imagery. And it’s an image of hope, and a call to continue moving forward. It is okay to be in the dark of night, with a mere lamp at your side, but it isn’t okay to snuff out the only light you have. The lamp at your side is the only means by which the rest of your life is illumined. It is okay to be confused or frustrated or weary—but it is not okay to stay there. Intentionally look forward to daybreak, but steward the light you have in the meantime. Continually move forward in your knowledge of Christ because He is so worthy to be known. Right now we have a mere lamp with pitch black all around us, but there will be a glorious day when we will experience the light of Christ irradiating all things.
When I’m bored or indifferent or frustrated by Scripture, it is not because God’s Word is boring or lackadaisical or frustrating, but because I don’t seek to read it well. Because I get discouraged and give up when something doesn’t make sense. Or I throw angry fists up at God for not giving me epiphanies when I feel so desperate to have answers during suffering.
Tired Christian, take heart in these verses. Not only does the Holy Spirit confirm through Peter that dwelling on God’s word is beneficial for us, but he reminds us that while we merely have a lamp right now, full sun is coming.