But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
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.
So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. (2 Peter 3:10-14).
Wow, this is a fire and brimstone passage. A good preacher could definitely have a field day with it. Or at least I think they could, I don’t really have much experience with those kind of sermons…and I have listened to A LOT of sermons in my day! I am a PK (Preacher’s Kid). For decades, I listened to my Dad preach from God’s word every Sunday morning. If you never had the opportunity to listen to a Gary York sermon, I’m sorry you missed out. He was (and still is) really awesome. During his ministry, God used him in incredible ways to profoundly impact many lives, including mine. Fire and brimstone wasn’t really his style. Rather than paint a picture of the situation or environment, then rely on his audience to “find themselves in it”, he really had a way of making things personal. If preaching from this passage, I don’t think my Dad would have focused on Jesus’ coming like a thief in the night or the destruction of everything. Rather, he would have made it personal by taking his audience straight to the question in verse 11 and the direction found in verse 14.
…what kind of people ought you to be?
…make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
These are pretty weighty verses. They are very personal for all of us. Here’s how they showed up in my life this past Wednesday – A couple weeks ago, one of my Managers officially announced the voluntary departure of one of his team members. With three children under the age of 5, Joni decided to leave the company to stay home with her children. I had the opportunity to spend a little time with her this week. Before she left, I wanted to make sure I thanked Joni for the contributions she made to our organization over the last 18 years. More importantly, I wanted to applaud her for having the courage to make such a tough choice. I shared with her my story – how ten years ago, I changed employers for a similar reason. While my change has not proven to be an overly beneficial career choice, I wouldn’t trade the healthy family relationships I’ve gained in return for the sacrifice. I encouraged Joni to move forward with confidence, knowing her priorities were in line, and trusting God would bless her choices. I’m confident she won’t regret it.
Joni didn’t make the decision to leave her career easily. In fact, she and her husband have been working on it and praying over it for the past two years. I think her story reflects the guidance in 2 Peter 3:14 – Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. As I looked in her eyes on Wednesday, Joni is at peace with her decision to invest in the lives of her children while she looks forward to Jesus’ return. This change is allowing her to be the person she ought to be.
What about you? Are you making every effort to be the person you ought to be? Are you at peace with God? At best, I’m afraid my personal answer is only sometimes. Some of my choices are good, others are not so good. I’m so grateful Jesus’ blood covers me, as this is the only way I will ever be spotless and blameless before God.
In their song This is Your Life, Switchfoot says it well – This is your life, are you who you want [or who you ought] to be?