What does it mean to Fill Up and Live Out? If we are going to use this as our tag line for Student Ministry, then we should have a purpose for it. Better yet, how do we go about helping the students embody this statement, and why do we do it?
Ultimately, we are to grow in Christlikeness. This is our daily goal. “How can I die to self, and became more like Christ?” Did you know that there are certain habits that you, as a Christian, can create to help you in your walk with the Lord to accomplish that very goal? Let’s be clear, we are not talking about keeping your mouth closed when you chew, or keeping your spine straight and shoulders back. We are talking about habits that run deeper than that. Habits that are more life changing than those.
Let’s take a look at 2 Peter 1:3-8
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
At first you may wonder what in the world does this have to do with what I was discussing beforehand. So, let’s break it down.
Verse 3: With knowledge comes power. The simple fact is that God has given us an open invitation to tap into His power, for His purposes, and for His glory. This does not come without a habit of gaining more knowledge, more right knowledge of who God is, what He has done, what He is doing, and what He will do. This will therefore deepen your relationship with Him and prove to lead you in godliness and Christlikeness.
Verse 4: We are no longer of this world. We have in fact been separated, severed, and cut off from this world through His power and continually so as we continue in Him. Think of it like an already and ongoing sort of process. At the moment of salvation, our old self dies, and we are made new. However, we are not removed from this world entirely, nor are we removed from the sinful desires and pulls of the flesh we still wear. Therefore, we must continue in Him so that separation can remain intact, so the influence of the world and flesh dies more and more.
Verses 5-7: Let’s start by defining a few of these words. “Virtue” is goodness or uprightness, and/or acting with graciousness. For “knowledge” you could use doctrine or wisdom. “Self-control” meaning self-restraint or continence. “Steadfastness” meaning endurance or perseverance. “Godliness” meaning piety or devotion to God. “Brotherly affection with love” is referring to philadelphus which is fraternal affection that is guided by agape, which is an unconditional love that can only come from God.
Now, understanding the words of those verses, and adding in verse 8, we understand that we are called and instructed to mold and shape our lives to be transformed by our daily activities. This is otherwise known as creating habits that bring us towards God, not away from Him.
These habits are what will continue that separation process from the world and its influence and continue our growth, maturity in God, and movement towards Christlikeness. These habits can be many, and may vary from person to person, as we are all unique members of the body of Christ. However, the general umbrellas they fall under would be 1.) spending time with God, 2.) spending time with others, 3.) knowing and using your gifts, and 4.) sharing your story. Each of these ‘markers’ are the guiding principles with which we teach in the student ministry.
We desire for students to not only know, with a head knowledge who God is, but know Him intimately on a personal level. Furthermore, our desire is that they grow and mature in their walk with Him, becoming true members of the body of Christ, as well as true members of the local church body. Over the following weeks we will unpack what each of these spiritual habits entails and how we strive to teach it within our ministry.