High Priorities (6)

The best steel is well-tempered steel.  Do you sharpen others?

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1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

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(faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity [agape])

In the 18th century, the word “temperance” was used almost synonymously with the word “abstinence.”  What the word actually means is moderation, or self-control.  And since the word is much older than the 18th century, it would stand to reason that with the word we are examining actually arising from a Greek word having to do with mastery of a thing, and that includes personal appetite, should be considered in the more ancient of its forms that could date back as far as the times of Jesus.

One of the finest examples of the use of the word “temperance” is its use in the making of steel, and that would especially apply to the use of steel in the making of fine swords, or cutlery.  The steel that is used in fine cutlery, and especially in swords used in warfare, are tempered in a very special way.  My writing today is not to discuss the various means of tempering, such as that which may have been used by the Japanese in the making of fine katanas, but I will speak of the artistry and utilitarian function of well-tempered swords as it relates to the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God, and its connection to the temperance that should be produced as part of the fruit of the spirit in the life of a believer.  The fruit of temperance is directly connected to how a believer can walk in the arena of the Spirit, being always sharpened for the task at hand, and hardened or softened by a master sword maker so as not to be too flexible (easily bent or misshapen), nor to be too brittle and so easily broken by things that may oppose it.

When steel is made for a fine sword, there MUST be the proper blend of iron ore, carbon, fire, temperature, the forging of the hammer, the application of water (and in some cases, certain oils) for cooling, and timing for the proper curvature of the blade and its ability to hold an extremely sharp edge.  For the believer, that means a Holy Spirit-master blend of the Word of God, binding and tempering agents, the timely and properly applied fire of Holy Spirit, the use of the Master’s hand with the forging hammer in shaping, the application of the Word and Spirit together for the proper shaping and cooling of a life, and the leadership of Holy Ghost so that the elements of making a master-blade are done in proper order, placement, and blending.  This can only happen as an obedient vessel of God is truly yielded to the work, way, and wisdom of Holy Ghost.  Be that sword, my friend, tempered by the Master.

Manna for Today –  1 Peter 1:3-25; 2 Peter 1:3-15; Proverbs 27:17; Ephesians 6:10-18;             Galatians 5:22-25

High Priorities (5)

When the Word of God sets forth a prescribed order, it behooves us to follow it.

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1 Peter 1:14-16 – As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

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Based upon the prescribed order of the Lord set forth in 2 Peter 1, we see that “virtue” follows “faith.”  But then, what follows “virtue?”  The answer is clearly given.  Following “virtue” is “knowledge.”  In the Greek language, the word for “knowledge” is “gnōsis,” meaning knowledge, being aware, being sure, to perceive, being able to speak in a knowing manner. 

I find it intriguing that so many Christians seem to think that any knowledge they have will simply flow from the Lord.  Such thinking, however, is erroneous.  I am fully aware that certain elements of knowledge, especially what we call revelation, must truly flow from Father, and comes to us by Holy Spirit.  But in our present study, the 2 Peter 1 passage clearly indicates that there are certain things Father expects us to pursue for ourselves.  These things are not automatically given to us.  They must be sought after by the believer, and it is clearly our own responsibility to go after them, study them, develop them, and maintain them.  Each of these is clearly a priority in God’s eyes.  I urge you to take the time to read 2 Peter 1:3-15, see it for yourself, settle it in your heart, and if you have not already done so, begin the work of pursuing these immediately: faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (agape).

Today’s emphasis is on “knowledge.”  Yes, there are elements of God’s knowledge He desires us to possess that can only come from Him alone.  But there is a vast volume of God’s knowledge that He commands and expects us to pursue on our own through reading, study, meditation, and obedience.  These will NOT simply be given to you.  They must be mined from the Word of God.  And then there is knowledge that one gains from life experiences that are bourn out as we expose our natural learning to the authority of God’s Word.  Such would be elements of true science, of learning the basics of communication in speaking and writing.  We may not all be professionally trained speakers or writers, but we should all be able to clearly communicate the things we know to be truth, and that is especially relevant of our knowledge of God’s Word.  My friend, the ability to talk, and even the desire to do so, does not mean one has the ability to speak clearly and well about their subjects of discussion.  That comes through the knowledge on gains through sound education, proper application of learning disciplines, and exposure to quality models of such in our lives.  Such knowledge requires commitment and dedication on our part.  Just as we study to show ourselves approved unto God, let us seek to represent our God at the highest possible level of excellence through the knowledge we demonstrate in day-to-day living.

Manna for Today – 1 Peter 1:3-25; 2 Peter 1:3-15