Vol. 3, No. 7
A bright, new, shiny auto; a brand new house; a particular picture; a sparkling diamond; a gold pair of earrings; even a specific moment in time may well be considered precious by many. If so regarded, precious can have a premium price. To be precious depends on the depth of desire in the heart. If no desire, what was once held as special becomes as nothing, fading in brilliance or common. All worldly goods can be counted as precious and may be desirable, but will also perish with time.
Think how the word "precious" was used in the letters to the early church. Simon Peter, when writing, used the word to modify some phrases he penned. He said, "to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God" (2 Peter 1:1). Peter knew his faith was precious. It was a faith built on a lively hope. It was God-given. His faith came from hearing and believing the words of Christ. He knew Christ. The opening sentence of his second letter claims he was a faithful servant of his. Peter grew in faith, remembering no doubt the times he failed Jesus. The sinking in the Sea of Galilee and the bitter flow of tears at dawn are but two sharp reminders of his unfaithfulness. Peter hoped for better things and that hope sustained his faith. He stayed with it and came away with a faith purer than gold! Hope and faith demand obedience. Peter obeyed!
Add to faith, virtue and knowledge. Moral soundness will strengthen faith. Wisdom will increase it. Add temperance and patience, traits of moderation and endurance. Sometimes we want to move too fast or quit too soon, but Peter says otherwise. We are to be sober and endure all things. Patience is valuable, so be sober and patient! If it is necessary to change character, do so. Peter did. It leads to godliness! It gets a bit tougher, but not impossible. Peter heard Jesus say, "for with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). Jesus placed his footsteps on the pathway of time leading to Eternal Life. In faith, we are to follow. Become involved. Action proves faith. How kind are we when asked for help, money, food or clothing? Do we visit the sick, often quite unlovely in their illness? Do we give of our time and food to the needy? Do we shelter the stranger? "Whereas they speak . . . they may by your good works, which they shall behold" (1 Peter 2:12). Paul said sow sparingly and reap sparingly; sow bountifully and reap bountifully! Our "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son" (John 3:16)! We cannot out-love or out-give the Master, but we are to have some godly traits. "For if these things are in you and abound, they make you neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:8). When we do not have those things (traits), we will be blind, forgetting even that we were forgiven of our sins. We will have lost our faith and will return to the ways of the world! So much for preciousness.
Peter begs us to not return to the old ways. "Give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for if you do these things ye shall never fall" (2 Peter 1:10). We are to practice faith, becoming godly and wise in the truth. God is love and we are to be like him. Being established in truth, we are to live right -- to be righteous! We are not to follow after cunningly devised fables. Learn the truth. Peter speaks from his hope and faith as he writes. He did not learn fables! He was eyewitness of his Majesty. He was there when God spoke, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased . . . Hear ye him" (Matthew 17:5). Yes, Peter was there! He heard God speak! "Hear ye him" was directed to three disciples. Peter was one of the three.
"That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than that of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:7). Is the insulation in place? Will the firewall protect against the flames of sin that may scorch and sear the soul? We need not live in fear, but we may live in hope! Fortify your faith when living seems to be unbearable. Be as relentless as Peter when he said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life and we believe and are sure that thou are that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69). That living God gives exceeding great and precious promises. On command of the Father, Jesus the Christ will return in the clouds to carry the faithful home to "reward every man according to his works" (Matthew 17:27). May our faith though it may be tried by fire be found not like gold that perisheth, but even more genuine and much, much more precious!