Daily D – 2 Peter 3:1
This is my second letter to you, dear friends, and in both of them I have tried to stimulate your wholesome thinking and refresh your memory. 2 PETER 3:1 (NLT)
My dear friends, this is now the second time I’ve written to you, both letters reminders to hold your minds in a state of undistracted attention.
Is there a better definition of focus than “undistracted attention”? Focus is a superpower. The ability to tune out what does not matter to concentrate deeply and unhurriedly on what does bears beautiful benefits. Much is written these days in productivity literature about the necessity of beginning the day with undistracted attention regarding what matters most.
This leads to the question, “What matters most?” Peter helps us here. He who learned the heart and mind of Jesus, often the hard way, teaches us from his treasure trove of life lessons. Here, he says, are the most important items to return to day by day.
First, he calls us to wholesome thinking. We know what this means largely as we consider its opposite. Unwholesome thinking is the theme of most television shows and the characters inhabiting their imaginary worlds. It would be good to remember this fact of their mythology.
Wholesome, on the other hand, is beautifully described by the Apostle Paul when he says, “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise,” (Philippians 4:8).
A little practice of this ritual exercised in the pursuit of a new habit brings to conscious awareness how much unwholesome thinking goes on in our minds. Choosing to think differently requires effort. Like any habit, it takes time got build the muscle memory of choosing to think the best rather than the worst.
A wonderful discovery in thinking the best is how much less stressful life is when we do. Removing painful anticipation and replacing it with expectations of delight lightens the load considerably. Choose wonder. Discard difficulty.
Second, Peter calls us to remember. Memory is not a trick. Memory is not a method. Memory is developed by paying attention in the moment and revisiting moments again and again with new questions and different observations.
Some memories require less of our attention or the assistance of outside perspective. Other memories, including those unmistakable God moments of our lives, deserve regular revisitation.
One memory so emblazoned itself upon Old Saint Pete that he never recovered. Who could? Why would you? Revisit his memory in 2 Peter 1:16-18. He says, “We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father. The voice from the majestic glory of God said to him, ‘This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.’”
In the transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9; Mark 9:2-13; Luke 9:28-26), Peter saw Jesus as he had never seen him before. He never looked at Jesus the same way again. Whenever he considered Jesus for the rest of his life, he remembered what he saw, what he heard, and how much he longed to stay on that mountain in his glorious presence forever.
Pete was an old man when he wrote this last letter. He was soon to pass through that veil where Jesus exists in all his glory and where all the pains and problems and cares of this world melt away. That memory did not pull him backward in time, it drove him into the special future only our Father in heaven could engineer and welcome us into forever.
Look back. Where have you unmistakably encountered the hand of God in your life? Remember what he did. Prepare for an endless day where every moment is that beautiful, that peaceful, and endures without end.
Think better thoughts. Remember the God moments of your life. This creates a little more heaven on earth. As one of my favorite authors says it, “Eternity is now in session.”
I will think wholesome thoughts and enjoy heaven on earth.
Our Father, fill our minds with thoughts worth pondering. Fill our hearts with memories of your hand at work in our lives. Shape us for heavenly living here and now. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”