Life is interesting. In life, we have wonderful things to celebrate like graduations, weddings and new beginnings.
We also have not-so-wonderful things like pain, divorce and death.
When we choose to have Jesus become Lord of our lives, these wonderful and not-so-wonderful things continue, but we change. Whether we are in the midst of celebration or grief, or dealing with a combination of the two, we are to respond and live differently as believers in Jesus Christ.
In 2 Peter 1, we read: "Jesus' divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
"For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
As Christians, we are to tap into the divine power of Jesus that gives us everything we need. This does not mean God desires to give us every material blessing imaginable.
This does mean that Jesus will be there for us in our times of joy as well as our times of sorrow, teaching us how to respond and how to depend on him for all of our needs.
This means we can live victorious, Christian lives.
Peter reminds us that we are here not just to exist and "get by," but to be effective and productive in our relationship with our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, which in turn will make us effective and productive in our relationships with others.
With God's help, we can cultivate the qualities Peter described: faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love.
Sometimes, we are content to live how we have always lived because that's just who we are, but Jesus loves us so much he does not want to leave us how we are.
He sees us and loves us for who we are, but he also sees the potential for who we could be. He sees the lives that could be impacted by the cultivation of these qualities in our lives, by our cultivating a real, growing relationship with him, by being an example to others by how we respond in all circumstances.
In my own life, people have truly had an impact by the legacy they have left.
One in particular was Rev. Bill Beck. He was one of those people who was a challenge as well as an encouragement to me.
He lived his life cultivating qualities like godliness, goodness, perseverance and brotherly kindness. He was not content to just get by, but rather he would testify by his words and by his actions that Jesus is Lord and the heavenly Father is in control.
When Beck died, it was truly a celebration of his life. Person after person stood and told of his or her own experience with "Ol' Bill Beck."
He not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk.
The challenge for all of us who claim to be believers in Jesus Christ, then, is to cultivate the right and godly qualities Peter talked about so that at the end of our lives, these qualities may be said of each one of us.
I pray that I may leave a legacy much like Ol' Bill Beck, living out these qualities and many more. Together, let's work to cultivate godliness, goodness, perseverance, and brotherly kindness in our own lives. Are you up to the challenge?
Laura Skiba is pastor of North Star United Methodist Church at Mile 25.5 of the Kenai Spur Highway in Nikiski.
Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m. and worship is at 11 a.m. For more information, call 776-8732.
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