The struggle is real. Daily. We want to “set our mind on things above, not on things of the earth.” But we live here — on earth!
Planet earth, where all around us it seems that things are going wrong. We see it in our kids, we see it in ourselves, we see it in our relationships. We see it in our churches and in the news and in social media. Things seem bad, scary. We clamor to rescue ourselves, our families, and the earth itself, but it backfires because we simply can’t do it.
Enter 2 Peter 3:9-13:
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
The world throws the difficulties of life in our faces and says, “Look at all this bad stuff — it’s horrible! You must do something to stop it!”
But Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, says something different. Instead of worrying about Earth’s problems, we acknowledge that these problems are temporary. The heavens are going to be burned with fire (!!). The earth and everything done on it will be laid bare.
And because of this impending future event, what do we do? Fret? Bite our fingernails? No. We live lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God.
We as Christ-followers have nothing to fear because we have Someone to trust. We know we can’t be the savior of the world, but we can place our hope in the One who is. We can lead lives of holiness and godliness and, in doing so, show others that we have a living hope in the living God, that we are eagerly awaiting a new heavens and a new earth, a place not of sin and sadness but of only righteousness always. Rather than focusing our attention on worldly problems, we can redirect our efforts to leading others to this place, God’s place.
In Peter’s first letter, he wrote:
Let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit… And you are [Sarah’s] children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. (1 Peter 3:4a, 6b)
One thing I appreciate about this verse is that it acknowledges that there are frightening things on the earth. We simply choose not to fear them. Our spirits can be quiet and calm. Why? Because we choose to live in faithful trust of our Creator. We choose, like Sarah, to live lives of holiness and godliness, submitting to authority (read verses 5-6) and doing good.
So, what sort of people ought we to be? Holy. Godly. Faithful.
May God enable us all by His mighty power to live lives like this, for Him.