Person To Person - January 2011
“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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” II Peter 1: 5-7
A few weeks ago, over a cup of coffee, a girlfriend of mine posed the question, “So now that you’ve completed your MA degree at Multnomah, what’s next in your goals for the year ahead?” Not having yet had the opportunity to really reflect upon the question, I was caught a little off guard. “I want to keep on doing what I’ve been doing — moving forward in the direction that I’m headed in," I thought. She went on to suggest some areas I might consider — you know the traditional ones we aim for at the top of a New Year ( i.e. to lose weight, become more physically fit, make space for relationships, etc.) and while offered in caring consideration, her proposal was somewhat disheartening.
As is custom at this time of year, we often find ourselves burdened with ambitious “to do” list — weighted with tasks to accomplish, goals to conquer, objectives to attain, ambitions we find the rest of the world engaged in and thus feel we should take on too. Yet, if we’re not careful, these well intended resolutions can become nothing more than an exercise in futility. Please don’t misunderstand me, I find it most appropriate at year’s end to look back at where we’ve come from in order to regain clear perspective for what’s ahead. In fact, I often find myself in meaningful reflection as I inventory the challenges and victories of life that have shaped me, but sometimes I think we just need to hear,
"You’ve come a long way, you’re on the right path…keep going!"
“Keep On Doing What You’re Doing!”
I appreciated Dr. Lockwood’s message to our December graduates this past month as they faced the long awaited graduation day. Encompassing feelings of exhaustion, as well as elation, his challenge to them really was quite simple: “Keep on doing what you’re doing!” In your pursuit of integrity, in your desire for biblical competence, and in your goal of ministry readiness “keep on doing what you’ve been doing!” In essence, he was reminding them of the very motivation for which they had begun their Multnomah journey. Their desire to live lives of integrity, to possess an expression of biblical competence, to be ambassadors in their world for Jesus Christ — This had been their goal during their tenure at Multnomah and would continue to be from hence on.
Often times, new resolutions made at the top of a year can sound familiar to commitments we’ve made to ourselves in the past: lose weight, be more active, be more engaged in community, become stronger readers, be better listeners, spend more time in the Word and in prayer – pursuits that are really lifelong goal and sometimes we just need a simple reminder to keep on doing what we’re doing.
A Reminder From Peter
In II Peter 1, the apostle challenges his readers, as he confirms their calling and election, in reminding them that they’ve been given everything they need for life and godliness: “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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
I’m thankful for the opportunity, at the top of this New Year, to reflect on goals of years past; as well as for the reminder to keep pressing on in that which the Lord has called me to ahead. My encouragement to you would be the same. By doing things just to do them, because that is what we do at the top of a New Year, or even engaging in spiritual activity by spending time in the Word and prayer, because that is what we “should do” as believers, we can easily lose desire and motivation to continue on.
As we’re considering potential resolutions, in response to that which God has prompted within our own hearts, my prayer for us would be that by recognizing this truth — having everything we need for life and godliness, and by making an effort to pursue these characteristics of integrity, we would look to Him and desire to live lives in ways that showcase His glory. May the actions we engage in not become those of mere duty, but actual expressions of a faithful commitment from the convictions in which we live.
Pursuing Him in “Keeping On,”
Director of Alumni Relations
Multnomah Bible College and Multnomah Biblical Seminary