Thursday, August 29, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 21

2 Peter 1:9, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”

Nowadays it is a popular thing to assume that there are no consequences to anything we do. Because the notion of consequence has so been diminished, people do very foolish, very permanent things to themselves regretting their choices later in life, perhaps belatedly realizing that tattooing your favorite football team’s name on your forehead in large block letters wasn’t the best career booster, but being unable to do anything about it.

Some believers have the same attitude when it comes to Peter’s admonition and encouragement to possess the godly virtues readily available to us. They see these virtues as options a Christian can either seek and desire after, or ignore completely without any adverse consequence or repercussion.

It is the Word of God that dispels the notion of zero consequence if we do not possess these virtues, and it does so quite clearly. When we lack knowledge, virtue, perseverance, self-control as well as the other things Peter listed, we are shortsighted in regards to our spiritual wellbeing, and we are told even to blindness.

A shortsighted person only sees what is directly in front of their face, while a blind person sees absolutely nothing. A blind individual can feel their way around, they can touch and discern certain shapes, but they can never know the true aspect of a thing because they lack the ability to see.

What is most astounding about those who are spiritually shortsighted or outright blind is the vehemence with which they defend their position even though their position is contrary to Scripture. There is no soul so unreachable as one who believes they already know it all, and have nothing further to learn. They shut themselves off from counsel, they shut themselves off from the urging of the Holy Spirit, and they shut themselves off from the truth of God’s Word, all because in their mind they’ve determined the absolute rightness of their path.

Because it is so easy for us to become certain about some doctrine or some opinion of man, the Word of God is ever insistent on the point that it and nothing else must be the plumb line by which we choose to receive or reject certain teachings.

Even though it may sound good to the flesh, even though it may make us feel good about ourselves, if what is being said does not line up with the Word of truth, if it does not line up with the Scriptures, then we are believing a lie. Yes, lies can make us feel good about ourselves; they can elevate our mood and cause us to see ourselves in a different light.

Those who know me know I tend to tip the scales on the huskier side of life. As such, although I hadn’t lost any weight, each time someone would ask me ‘have you lost some weight?’ it made me feel good about myself even though in my heart I knew nothing had changed.

It is much the same with false doctrine. It makes us feel good about ourselves even though we know that in our hearts nothing has changed. We fool ourselves and deceive ourselves and follow after men who feed us poison all because we like the way they make us feel about ourselves.

When a man becomes shortsighted then blind, he begins to forget that he was purged from his old sins. Herein lies the dilemma, because nowadays few if any continue to teach that we must be purged from our old sins, that we must lay aside the wickedness we so reveled in, that we must part ways with the vices which had ensnared us, and be renewed in mind and heart, made into an image of Christ Jesus our Lord, Savior, and King.

How can one know the necessity of the virtues Peter insists we must possess, if they have, as yet, not been purged of their old sins?

How can one find the light when they are being told they can remain in the darkness yet still be partakers of the divine nature?

It is because we’ve stopped preaching truth that the lie has grown to such heights. It is because we thought ourselves wiser than God, and set upon attempting to transform His Word to better suit our evil hearts that we are now seeing an entire generation ignorant of what true repentance is, how necessary it is, and why every believer truly born again must experience this life transforming truth.

The blind are being led indeed, but wholly unaware that the one doing the leading is as blind as they are. This, by far, is the greatest tragedy visited upon the church in our generation, and since the bliss of ignorance is a narcotic for the conscience more and more flock to a Gospelless Gospel than ever before.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Reckoning

Sheep being victimized by wolves is not new. It has been happening since before the days of the Pharisees, way back to the time of the priests when those such as the sons of Eli would be corrupt of heart and do unspeakable things in the name of the Lord.

Although the existence of wolves among the sheep of God’s pasture is no new thing, their explosive growth is worthy of noting, as well as the particularities with which they attempt to deceive those of the household of faith. The particularity of their deception is relevant in this case, because the things they teach have eternal consequences for the sheep, and not just temporary heartache or the loss of a few hard earned shekels.

The one common trait all wolves possess is the utter absence of love for the sheep. To a wolf a sheep is just a meal and nothing more.

Because the sheep themselves have grown indifferent, apathetic, and are given to wander aimlessly, the wolves have been successful in disseminating fractured half-truths and outright lies and passing them off as absolute truth.

As such, nowadays it is popular to trod out such lunacy as insisting one can love Christ without loving the Word, or that the only reckoning we are sure to experience is when we aren’t faithful in our tithing, everything else, including repentance, righteousness, holiness and obedience being tertiary issues which God really is indifferent toward.

Because most often the Word contradicts us, and we don’t like that one bit, we’ve taken refuge in the intellectually dishonest idea that it is the Word which contradicts itself. Because we allow ourselves to believe this, the seed of doubt as to whether or not the Word is absolute begins to take hold, and we begin to cherry pick what we like, dismissing the rest offhand as having been contextually insignificant or a matter of tradition.

For every strange doctrine we choose to believe, for every teaching we assimilate and subsequently pass on, for every compromise we make, there is consequence. There is, as there has always been, the reckoning which is beginning to make itself visible.

We will see the true measure of damage strange doctrines and foolish teachings have done to professing Christians when it is already too late. That is the tragedy of it all.

One sees the absence of a foundation when the storm begins to pound and the house begins to sway, and once the storm is unleashed there is nothing the individual can do but hope against hope that in spite of his ill-preparedness his home will somehow endure.

We’ve been looking forward to rapture for so long that we’ve wholly dismissed the reality of the battle the Word tells us is a certainty before the saints are caught up. Once again, the ingenuity of man knowing few limits if any, we’ve skirted and meandered our way around the Word and came up with new teaching that does away with the notion of battle altogether, taking us straight to the victory celebration afterwards.

Because so few speak on the battle, fewer still are doing anything to prepare for it, trusting in the words of men rather than the Word of God because it is more convenient, and less taxing on their constitution. Just because we ignore the reality of a thing it does not make the thing we are ignoring any less real! Just because we’re checking our watch every five minutes and rolling our eyes in frustration thinking Jesus is late in returning, it will not make Him return any sooner than at the time the Father has appointed.

The bill for our choosing the easy road rather than the right road, the light hearted rather than the sober, the deception rather than the truth is coming due, and as is the case with any running tab it will be much higher than we assumed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

What God Hates Part 10

This is the tenth and last part of the series on what God hates. Thank you all for your kind words, comments, and encouragements. War is never easy, and lest we forget even for a nanosecond, we are at war.

We are at war with sin, with darkness, with despair, with compromise, with duplicity, with hypocrisy, and more often than not with ourselves, our flesh, and our propensity toward attempting to find the easier path rather than the right path.

Those who forget they are at war will fall prey to the enemy who has never forgotten, then turn around and bitterly persecute those who obeyed, had their armor on, and prepared themselves for the spiritual battle certain to descend upon them.

The link to the teaching is below. Be blessed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

What God Hates Part 10

Monday, August 19, 2013

Some Still Do!

We are living a faith of half measures. We are living a Christianity of our own making wherein the cost has been discounted to such an extent that you can find eternal salvation in the bargain bin next to dented cans of peas and damaged boxes of Kleenex. It’s good to be an American Christian!

The general apathy has grown to such proportions that we hear of homes and churches being burned, and Christian men and women being butchered in places like Egypt, and we shrug our shoulders, roll our eyes, and think to ourselves ‘they should have sown more seeds and had more faith!’

Seeds and faith, after all, are what guarantee us an easy ride into heaven while simultaneously being bogged down with all the excesses of this earth while we walk upon it. It’s because they didn’t have the secret keys to the magic room that contains the magic cash machine that these Christians are being martyred, not because they stood for Christ even unto death.

We get angry at God if we can’t afford our dream vacation or buy our dream mansion. How would we react if we were called upon to suffer or even die for the cause of Christ?

In our hubris and pride and selfish nihilism we look down on those who are bleeding and dying for the sake of the gospel, smugly thinking to ourselves that they’re doing it for the cameras, because nobody really does that kind of stuff anymore when no one is looking and when there is no profit in it.

If a Christian dies in a dank prison cell from wounds suffered at the hands of his torturers and no one is there to film it, did it really happen? Does it really matter?

If there’s no feel good story, no positive message, no twist at the end of the saga about the power of positive thinking but just an unmarked hole where the body of the fallen is unceremoniously dumped does it even count?

If you can’t tell me how to get rich and get everything I ever wanted or prosperity think my way into a million bucks or bribe God into giving me my yacht, why are you wasting my time with tales of tortured and dying Christians? They should know better. They should go along to get along. They should learn the art of compromise. It’s not, after all, the fault of the Westernized Christians that those folks are so stubborn! We’ve learned to make peace with the world, we’ve learned to give in to their demands, we’ve learned to grovel and boot lick and compromise our way into the world’s acceptance. Why can’t they do the same?

They’re just trying to make us look bad…that’s what it is. They’re trying to guilt us into growing a spine, and actually stand up for truth and righteousness even at the cost of losing the feigned friendship of the world. They’re trying to shame us into being the Christians we claim to be, and not just playing at it as though this was some lifelong game and nothing more.

What is currently happening in Egypt ought to remind everyone of us who have been blessed with the grace of freedom that some still do suffer and bleed and die for the cause of Christ. We ought to be humbled by the knowledge that some still make the ultimate sacrifice for their King and Lord and Savior, and don’t just preach a veiled humanism aimed at making us feel better about our sin. No, perhaps it’s not happening in your church, or in your town, or as yet in your country, but some still do give their all, and joyfully so!

I am angry and frustrated and tired, because though these things are happening, and visibly so, we are still regurgitating the same tired message about the widow of Zarephath, and how since she made the pancake for the man of God first it is perfectly reasonable for the preacher to have a multi-million dollar house and drive around in a hundred thousand dollar car.

The men we revere and idolize today will become the scapegoats of tomorrow, but make no mistake, we will have no plausible justification before an all knowing God for not having stood, for not having persevered, and for not having overcome, because though most men today are teaching foolishness and heresy, the truth of God’s Word remains and all we have to do is read it and receive it.
2 Timothy 3:12-13, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceived and being deceived.”

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Good the Bad and the Identity Challenged

I was nine years old when I came to America. A few months later, once I got settled into the neighborhood and started to know some of the kids my age I got invited to a boy’s house to watch television. I had never, until that time, seen a television before and it was, for a nine year old boy, something truly magical.

Even though decades have passed since then, I still remember the cowboy movie that was playing on the television that day, and how you could tell the good guy from the bad guy by the color of their outfit and the closeness of their shave.

The bad guy was always dressed in black, a little rough around the edges, unshaven for at least a few days, and with a propensity for chewing on a cigar. The good guy was usually dressed in white, clean shaven, and looked less dusty than his nemesis.

My mom wouldn’t let me go over often, but every time she would, I and my new friend watched cowboy movies. You kind of knew how they would end, but they were nevertheless fun to watch. You lived with the expectation of the good guy outdrawing the bad guy, and riding off into the sunset even though halfway through the movie fifteen men were shooting at him and all they managed was a shoulder graze which was always ‘just a scratch’.

As a nation we’ve cast ourselves into the role of the good guy, and even though our clothes are no longer white, our character is no longer noble, and our intentions are no longer pure, we still cling to the fallacious notion that we are in the right.

I will not argue or belabor the point of this nation having started out as a shining light upon a hill, a noble and worthwhile experiment in self-governance and hard work. Although some might disagree, I do believe in the beginning this nation blessed God and was in turn blessed of God because it blessed Him, seeing His hand of providence guide it through tumultuous and highly volatile situations.

If once we were the good guy, we are the good guy no longer. Those who are watching can see the hideous caricature we have become, they can see the role we’ve started to play and are in a confused state as to how it is possible we can still think of ourselves as the noble, gallant, chivalrous gunslinger whose only desire is to save the damsel in distress, free the townsfolk from an oppressive villain, and ride off into the sunset content with simply having done a good deed.

Simply saying we are the good guys does not make it so. One’s character and intent are always weighed and measured and after having assessed the true nature of the individual’s character, one concludes whether they are in fact the good guy or are just playing at it for some nefarious reason.

Because we have cast ourselves in the role of the ultimate good guy, we naturally see everyone else as the bad guy. Due to this perception, though the actions of others are nobler than our own and their moral compass more in tune with virtue, we still dismiss them as less than, and beat our chest proclaiming the righteousness of our path even though righteousness is utterly absent.

Man is by nature an arbitrary relativist, so given the chance to judge his actions based on his own standard, he will never be in the wrong. Hence the reason that even the way which leads to death seems right to a man. When there is no independent standard, when there is no independent plumb line by which we judge ourselves, we will always be the good guy, dressed in white, and fighting the good fight.

Unfortunately we are not judged by the standard we establish for ourselves as a nation, but by the standard which God has established for every nation. We do not strive to live up to our own expectations, our own ideals, our own sense of right and wrong, but to God’s expectations, ideals, and absolute definitions of rightness and wrongness.

When we see ourselves in the mirror of our own understanding, we can, perhaps, still talk ourselves into believing we continue to be the good guy. When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, however, not only do we see that we’ve fallen short, but that we’ve rejected every noble virtue and ideal that made the good guy what he was, and embraced the practices and predispositions of the vile and the wicked, making us into the selfsame thing we once loathed and fought against.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 20

Another thing this verse implies is that one can be both barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ. There is theoretical knowledge of Christ, such as one who studies world religions and Christianity among them, from a purely intellectual standpoint, and then there is the saving knowledge of Christ, which transforms an individual from the inward parts, and sanctifies them.

An intellectual curiosity, a theoretical knowledge, a tangential inquiry into the person and nature of Christ Jesus, is both barren and unfruitful if it does not lead to the truth of who Jesus is, what He did on the cross, and why He must be made Lord and King of one’s life.

Because the knowledge many possess is one which is both barren and unfruitful, they see Jesus as something less than He is, and as consequence retain not an ounce of the requisite reverence one must have for the Son of God.

Because reverence for Christ is lacking, so is the impetus to obey Him rather than our own wants when the two happen to diverge and go their separate ways. This is largely the reason we see so many aberrant teachings, doctrines, and practices within the church, and why so many people are utterly confused as to what their lives ought to be even though Jesus made it very plain and readily understood in His teachings.

Lack of reverence leads to absence of obedience, and absence of obedience ultimately leads to rebellion when we don’t like what God is asking of us, or when we think the Word of God is perhaps too harsh or too narrow for our taste.

A barren and unfruitful knowledge of Christ will, sooner or later, be evident in the actions, conduct, and thought process of the individual. I realize it’s popular nowadays to fake it until you make it, but you can’t fake intimacy with God, you can’t fake fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and you can’t fake a relationship with Christ Jesus. Yes, one can fake it for a day, a week, a month, a year, or for as long as the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and there is not a cloud of trouble in the sky, but once the storm clouds gather, once the sun stops shining, once the birds start falling from the sky, the obviousness of one’s unfruitful and barren knowledge of Christ will be evident to all.

When one’s knowledge of Christ is barren and unfruitful there will be no transformation within the heart of the individual. True knowledge of Christ produces fruit, it produces change, it produces repentance and humility and obedience and worshipfulness.

I hate to break it to you, but all the folks who raised their hands at a crusade at some point in their lives but never did anything to pursue Christ afterwards – all the while thinking themselves saved and sanctified – have a barren and unfruitful knowledge of Christ just as Peter said.

True knowledge of Jesus compels individuals to see their sinful nature and acknowledge their absolute need for a savior. When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, when we look into the mirror that is Jesus, we see the hideousness that sin made of us, and come to understand that in order to look different, in order to be more like Christ, change is mandatory, repentance is a must, and a righteous and holy walk are a given.

When there is no compulsion to, or necessity for transformation, when there is no urgency, hunger, and desire to know more of Jesus every day, then the knowledge of Christ we’ve acquired is barren and unfruitful. Not only does that knowledge not produce fruit, it is unable to produce fruit until our knowledge of Him goes deeper.

Before I start getting the hate mail again, I would urge you to grab a dictionary and look up the word ‘barren’.

My dictionary, albeit not the latest version of Webster’s but still good enough for a reference, tells me the word barren means infertile, sterile, arid, fruitless, unproductive, or without capacity to produce.

Since I still believe that every word in the Bible is divinely inspired and therefore the full meaning of the chosen verbiage must be acknowledged, I do believe Peter is saying that a superficial knowledge of Jesus makes one incapable of producing fruit. It makes them sterile, unproductive, something Jesus Himself said would have to be cut down and cast into the fire if not remedied.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

What God Hates Part 9

The link below is to part nine of the series on what God hates. One more to go after this. Be blessed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

What God Hates Part 9

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 19

Although it would be easy for me to get sidetracked and go into the various attributes of love, distinguishing between true love and feigned love, we will table that discussion for another time and continue with our journey through Peter’s inspired admonition toward all believers.

One need only understand the time and place of Peter’s upbringing as well as his chosen profession to likewise understand that the words he penned were not his own, but were from another source, one which flowed through him rather than being inherently his.

Peter was a fisherman. He knew how to cast nets, bring the nets in, fill his boat and go sell the fish he happened to catch on a given day in the marketplace. He was not singled out for being a deep thinker like Paul, nor an educated man like Luke, but simply as one who knew how to labor with his hands and do what he must to feed his family.

If the words he penned in his first and second epistle would have been attributed to one such as Paul, they would be no great surprise. He was after all the most educated of the men who followed after Christ and wrote epistles. Coming from Peter however, from the calloused hands of a laborer who had no formal training in the ways of philosophy or introspective thought, it is something worth pondering and acknowledging as having been divine in origin.

2 Peter 1:8, “For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

At first glance this verse seems relatively innocuous. When we begin to ponder what the verse actually implies, we begin to see a depth heretofore unexpected.

The first thing we notice is the conditionality of the verse. Whenever we see the word ‘if’ in the Bible, it implies conditionality. I realize the notion of conditionality is one many believers have a difficult time with, but God will not change His Word to spare our feelings, nor will He compromise Himself in order to come in line with our way of thinking.

If men attempting to will their doctrines upon the mind of God were not so tragic it would be outright laughable. We have lost sight of whom God is, who we are, and what our relationship with Him ought to be, and because of this we continually attempt to pressure God into lowering His standard, changing His stance, or compromising His Word, all the while diluting ourselves into believing this is possible.

God is not a Calvinist, nor is He a Wesleyan, nor is He a Lutheran, nor is He a Baptist, Pentecostal, or Methodist. God is God, and He will not be neatly fit into our denominational boxes, quietly bidding His time until Christ’s return, reward in hand.

God is unchanging. He identified Himself as unchanging, or as being the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Either we submit ourselves to His authority, align ourselves with His Word, and obey His commandments, or we are calling Him a liar to His face all the while expecting His bountiful blessings to be poured upon us.

God demands obedience and He will settle for nothing less.

I know we’re supposed to consider ourselves the most special generation amidst the most special nation to have ever graced the planet, but that is only due to the arrogance and the self-importance we shower ourselves with. In reality God is no respecter of persons, He does not see Americans, Romanians, Italians, or Puerto Ricans, He sees His creation and whether or not His creation is clothed in the blood, righteousness, and holiness of His Son Jesus.

In attempting to widen the path, in attempting to make salvation as pain free and absent of sacrifice as starting a new checking account, we’ve endeavored to remove conditionality from the Word of God, deride those who insist it is still included therein, and pretend as though God didn’t say what He said, nor meant what He meant.

If these things abound in us, if we possess faith and godliness, knowledge and self-control, love and brotherly kindness, and the other things Peter outlined, it is only then that we will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 18

As I continue to meditate on the handful of necessary attributes Peter tells us we ought to have, I’ve come to the realization that if all the others are building blocks in our spiritual house, love, the last attribute Peter mentions, is the roof which protects all the others from the elements.

Love is the covering that keeps faith, brotherly kindness, virtue, godliness, perseverance, and self-control, and without love, though one might have possessed these things they begin deteriorate over time.

If love is not the driving force behind our actions, no matter how much we attempt to do, no matter how completely we devote ourselves to some branch of ministry, it will have been for naught.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.”

What we must understand is that we can be noble, selfless, charitable, giving, empathetic, and guileless, and still not possess love. Paul even goes so far as to infer that one can be selfless to the point of self-sacrifice, yet still not possess the requisite love. If this happens to be the case, though an individual sacrificed themselves, it still profits them nothing if love was not the engine, the driving force, the reason behind the reason they made the ultimate sacrifice.

Men do various things for various reasons, and very rarely is the reason something as pure and noble as love. As children of God our reason for doing all we do in the name of God must be love in order for it to be received as a sweet smelling sacrifice.

So how do we know it is love fueling our endeavors? How do we know we possess the love Paul speaks of? Like anything else in the universe love has certain attributes, certain characteristics by which it is identified, and being the detail oriented man that he was Paul goes on to define love, and outline the attributes thereof.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

In order to ascertain whether or not someone is acting out of love or an ulterior motive all one must do is see whether the attributes which go along with what love is and how it is defined are there. If someone parades themselves, is puffed up, behaves rudely, is selfish or seeks their own agenda or profit and envies, then chances are that they are not acting out of love, and that love is not present in their actions.

The Bible not only tells us what love is, it tells us what love isn’t and how we can discern between feigned love and true love.

First, true love suffers long and is kind. Although the notion of suffering long is a subjective one, since a long time for me might not seem so for another, it is only when we choose not to understand what the Word is attempting to say that we can feign ignorance.

Love suffers long. Within the context of this scripture to suffer is to tolerate or to endure. As such, to suffer has a negative connotation. We don’t suffer a day at the beach, but we do suffer martyrdom and persecution.

Many an individual define certain aspects of their existence as suffering when it really isn’t suffering, then grow proud of their own ability to suffer long even though in actuality they’ve not suffered.

Some define suffering as not having found their preferred flavor of ice cream at the supermarket, or their jean size at the clothing store. That is not suffering, or at least not the suffering that love compels us to endure.
It is because we love, and because love suffers long that we endure the slights and mocking of the godless yet still tell them of the love Jesus has for them. It is because we love, and because love suffers long that we endure all that we must for the furtherance of the Kingdom, knowing that He who sees all will reward all in due season.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Growing in Christ Part 17

Any time we desire to build anything in the physical it requires planning, patience, and perseverance. Whether it’s a porch swing, a rocking chair, a log cabin, or a three story mansion, once we commit to building it, we must follow through, put in the work, exert ourselves, and overcome the obstacles that are sure to arise in order to bring our project to a good end.

Building a spiritual house requires no less work, no less commitment, and no less exertion than would building a physical house. I realize full well the notion of exerting ourselves or working in any shape, manner, or form is anathema to many believers today, but the Word has a not-so-subtle way of dispelling certain long held beliefs that men have perpetuated over the years.

Although most rational, thinking individuals are willing to work toward career advancement, a healthier relationship with their spouse or offspring, and even a better score at some video game, when it comes to spiritual maturity and growing in Christ many are violently opposed to exerting themselves, or producing a single drop of sweat.

It is in our unwillingness to press in, to seek out, and to strive for deeper truths and greater revelation that we betray our innermost heart in regards to the importance we place on our relationship with God.

If you gladly sacrifice of your time and money to get better at golf, yet are not readily willing to sacrifice the selfsame amount of time to grow in God and get to know Him better, then by your actions you declare to one and all that your relationship with God is not as important to you as golf is.

It may seem harsh, but when you boil it down to the essence, get rid of the excuses and justifications, that’s what it is, plain and simple.

We are so good at lying to ourselves, and talking ourselves into believing we are more spiritual than we really are, more mature in God than we really are, and more ready to sacrifice all things for the glory of God than we really are. It is in this self-deception that many today are wallowing, and it is due to this selfsame self-deception that the falling away which is by now on the horizon will be great indeed.

2 Peter 1:5-7, “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”

It took sixteen posts, but we have finally come upon the last brick one is require to have in their spiritual house if they hope to have a strong, stable, and lasting edifice. If even one of the virtues Peter outlines for us is missing in our spiritual construct, though we might think it irrelevant, or not overly important, the edifice is unstable, and given enough time or the right kind of pressure one will realize that though they thought knowledge, faith, perseverance, self-control, or godliness to be less than mandatory in and of themselves, they were nevertheless indispensable.

My mother was an awesome cook. She could make something out of virtually nothing, and the first few years we were in America that’s pretty much what she had to do since we were on a ‘fixed budget’ to put it mildly. In reality we were on a sometime dollar a day sort of budget, but somehow she managed to make the mites stretch and we never went hungry. Because she didn’t always have the right ingredients on hand or the money to buy what she needed, my mother was great at substituting ingredients in any given recipe.

Although she took her liberties when it came to cooking, there were certain key ingredients she could not substitute nor do without if there was a certain dish she wanted to prepare.

If she wanted to make roasted chicken, well, she needed a chicken, and though the recipe called for potatoes, she could substitute carrots, though it called for onions, she could substitute garlic,   the chicken was the must have in order to pull it off.

When it comes to secondary or tertiary issues, as believers we don’t all have to be in lockstep. We can agree to disagree on certain issues the Bible is not absolute on; we can focus on different branches of theology; we can have a predisposition toward pneumatology, prophecy, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, or deliverance, but the one thing we must all agree upon, the one must have ingredient for every single one of us is Christ Jesus.

By the same token, although the building blocks of our spiritual house may differ in size and shape, although some will have more faith than they will knowledge, while others will have more self-control than they will perseverance, all the virtues Peter outlines are must have attributes if we desire to be balanced and even footed believers.

If all the attributes are there to begin with, wisdom will tell us when we need more of one whether it is knowledge, or self-control, or godliness, or brotherly kindness, and having them readily available, being aware and accustomed to their nature, employing them in our growing process will be an easy task indeed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.