Second Peter was likely one of the latest books written in the New Testament. Referencing the book of Jude and the teachings of Paul, it was written in a popular style of the age to align with the tradition of the church passed down by the apostles.
The main purpose of 2 Peter is to address Christians who held Peter in high esteem, urging them to escape corruption. Second Peter 1:3–11 gives instructions on how to do that, setting the stage for the rest of the book.
Second Peter 1:4 says we must escape the corruption that is in the world because of lust or evil desire. What does this mean for each of us?
Remember, desire in itself is not bad. Many of our desires come from the Lord and provide happiness and contribute to a full life.
Desire is not the enemy. But think about the desires that creep up that are not in line with the teachings of Jesus or the virtues God has revealed to us. These desires look different for everyone, and we each must fight to escape them in order to stay effective and fruitful, as this passage teaches us. Sometimes this can feel overwhelming, and it can be difficult to know how to stay on track. This passage provides us with the tools we need to do just that.
But what do these tools really mean for us and how do we use them effectively in our lives and Christian walk?
Think of some practical ways you can strive toward each of these, and how you can work to sharpen these tools.
One way we can work toward these things is with the help and encouragement of others. We are called to live in community. For some that is with members of a Sunday School class or small group, for others it’s one or two close, trusted friends or a mentor.
Be willing to truly share your life with whoever is walking alongside you in this journey, asking for help and support when needed and offering encouragement and advice to them, as well. Whatever we try to ignore or shove down and hope will disappear will only worsen and continue to show up over and over again.
Which of the qualities listed in verses 5–7 do you struggle with? Maybe you find yourself in a season of life where you are surrounded by people you have a difficult time loving. Rather than just gossiping about your coworkers, classmates, or neighbors, acknowledge your frustration and, together with your community, work toward ways you can change your perspective and find ways to combat the bitterness you feel toward them.
Now, what about those qualities that are easier for you? Maybe self-control isn’t a particular struggle for you or it’s something you have discovered how to maintain in the past; share this with others who are struggling and help guide them along their way.
We don’t have to do this on our own, and that’s great news! More great news: God is with us every step of the way.
My prayer for you is that you will be strengthened and comforted knowing that the Lord is always with you, providing guidance, support, and love. This passage of Scripture is just one way that has been revealed to us.
Continually return to the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and always remember God’s gifts and promises. May you continue to be effective and fruitful. With the help of God and others, may you continue to sharpen your tools of goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly and sisterly affection, and love.
Haley Seanor serves as a hospital chaplain in Birmingham, Alabama. She feels blessed and humbled for the opportunity to walk alongside others in this role. Haley was a contributor for the book Reading the Bible Outdoors: The Practice of Lectio Sub Divo, A Devotional Guide.