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Devotional: January 11, 2022

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. Second Peter 1: 5-9 The Message Strive for a well-rounded spirituality: that seems to be the message of this letter from the Apostle Peter. Although having a basic faith is a good start, and a great foundation for our lives, Peter encourages his readers to build upon that foundation. Strong moral principles like integrity, honesty, and patience can be coupled with friendliness and generosity to form building blocks. We must constantly grow in our faith, building our lives to exhibit spiritual maturity with our Lord Jesus. We have all met people who have tremendous gifts, but whose deficits and shortcomings seem to torpedo their chances for success in life. The most brilliant professors may fail their students if they are not disciplined enough to show up for class regularly. Peter reminds us that growing in faith is a two-fold process. We must build upon our natural gifts and talents, for they are given by God, for His glory. This first step involves sharing those gifts for the sake of the Christian community. However, concentrating upon our strong suits is never enough. We must also acknowledge where we are weak, (which is not always easy), and strive to become stronger in those areas. For instance, those who are prone to give up easily might seek to grow in perseverance. That way, they could push through suffering and discouraging times. The good news is that the Lord is always there, wanting and willing to help us grow in faith. When pushed out of their comfort zone, many people discover that their fears are more in their heads, than in reality. Some who are withdrawn might need to grow in friendliness, especially towards strangers. While they might think people won’t like them, they may discover that being friendly is easier than they thought. Plus, they discover that they are worthy of friendships. Still others may think they are not smart and cannot learn. Yet with the right guidance, and patient teachers, whole new doors can open for them. Whatever hindrance is keeping you from growing and using all your gifts and talents, ask the Lord to guide you to find ways to work through those issues. Jesus’ ministry affected so many people positively because he did all things well. He had no shortfalls or deficits. May we seek to pattern our lives to become the people God intended for us to be. We will never be perfect in this life, but we can always let God work on perfecting us! May we grow in every possible way, including strengthening our weak spots, in order to win people over to the gospel. Q-What areas of your life need some attention? Think deeply and honestly about this question, and then ask God to help you shore up these weaknesses, even as you lean upon, and into, your natural, God-given strengths and gifts for ministry…. Prayer Lord of all, You know me so well. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for which I am eternally grateful. Help me to be attentive to Your leadings. Grant me the courage to look at myself honestly so that I can see where I most need grow in my faith. Then challenge me to thrive in every area of my life, including those places where I am weakest. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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