There is a television commercial that plays occasionally advertising a delicious candy. It has a little girl looking in the window of a candy shop filled with enticing delicacies. The look on the little girl’s face is one of awe and anticipation as she considers her choice. You may have seen that same look on the face of a child as they see a Christmas tree with its pretty lights, colorful decorations and presents beneath. The look says something wonderful is happening. We can all recall moments in our life when we were filled with happiness, excitement and wonder.
The word wonder is described in the Oxford Dictionary as a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar or inexplicable. Just reading the definition makes me happy. What if we add the word reverent to wonder. Reverent wonder. It is a beautiful term isn’t it? We find this particular description in The Message translation of 2 Peter 1: 5-7.
“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…”
Some translations use words like godliness or righteous. Do you know someone you would describe as godly? Several come to my mind; my parents, Mrs. Moseley, my childhood Sunday School teacher as well as many others I have known or know now. The one person I have difficulty describing as godly is myself. Of course the reason is because I know me better than anyone. I know all my warts and blemishes; my shortcomings and failures. Legendary basketball coach, John Wooden (1910-2010) is quoted as saying, “Your reputation is what you’re perceived to be by others, but your character is what you really are.” On occasion my dear, sweet children have referred to me as “godly” in expressing their love for the woman who raised them. My immediate reaction is to look over my shoulder to see if they are describing someone behind me. I do not feel worthy of this expression.
The truth is I know there is no way I can attain the status of godly on my own strength. Even though I am a Christian, I live in a sinful world and struggle with sin. So why would Peter speak of me having a virtuous quality such as godliness?
I need to remind myself it is not because of who I was from my original birth but who I am because of my rebirth or new birth.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” Galations 2:20.
Peter tells us in the 2 Peter passage, “Everything that goes in a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.” He goes on to say we should not lose a minute building on what we have been given.
Peter is speaking to us not as a pious person but humbly, as an experienced person. How do we know this? Let’s take a minute to look into his life as the Scriptures describe him.
- He was a fisherman named Simon when Jesus called him to “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4: 18-19)
- Jesus gave him the name Peter, meaning rock, and said, “On you I will Build my church.” (John 1: 42, Matthew 16: 17-19)
So, Peter was godly wouldn’t you say? But wait. Let’s keep looking.
- In Matthew 16: 22-23 Peter disagreed with Jesus.
- He cut off the ear of a soldier arresting Jesus (John 18: 10-11)
- But the worst thing he did was to deny he knew Jesus. Not once, not twice, but three times. (John 18: 15-27)
I mean, who does that? Do we do that? However, there is more to Peter’s life we need to review.
- He helped start the early church (Rock).
- He preached the gospel to any who would listen.
- He healed people.
- He even gave his life for his Lord.
Peter is an example for us in that living a Christian life is not simple and is not easy but can be done with successful results when we follow God’s plan for our lives. We are all called to something and it is in our obedience to God’s call and plan for our lives; in growing in our walk with Him that allows us to lay claim to a godly life. Not because of anything we do but because of what Christ does through us.
Remember earlier when we looked at the definition of wonder and its definition of beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar? Isn’t that what Christ did in Peter’s life and is doing in our lives today?
So, go live the life Christ planned for you. Trust Him to surprise you, grow you and use you in unexpected, unfamiliar ways. Allow that reverent wonder to illuminate who you are in Christ to the world.
I like what Joe Stowell, a writer for Our Daily Bread, wrote:
Bring God into the ordinary situations of our world through the beautiful harmonies of Christlikeness.