Key verse: 2 Peter 1:10
Big idea: A truly changed heart produces a changed life.
Imagine that you are walking through Walmart and a slightly crazed man walks up to you. "Hello, friend. I am Dr. Zerubbabel Locoman. I have developed a transformation ray, capable of turning a person into a bird!" He pulls out what looks eerily like a water gun and squirts you with something that feels suspiciously like water. You are slightly worried at his wild laughter and cries of "Fly, my little friend, fly!" Yet, when you reach around and touch your shoulders, you do not find any wings. You still have skin of your usual shade instead of feathers, and the thought of eating worms is still several ranks below a slice of cheesecake. What conclusion would you draw? Probably that you have not been changed into a bird, and are the same person you were before you made Dr. Locoman's acquaintance. You, brilliant scientist that you are, have discerned that something that has truly been changed will be different.
There is a clear analog in spiritual life: If we have truly been changed by placing our faith in Jesus, that faith will grow and bear fruit. Peter describes it as a process of adding new graces to those we already have, showing that our transformation is not immediate, but is gradual. If we suppress our natural growth, we will lose sight of where we have been and what God has done in our lives, robbing us of assurance and joy. But if we diligently work out the salvation which God had begun within us, we will walk forward with confidence. When we have been truly changed on the inside, it is only natural that we will be changed on the outside.
Discussion idea: What are some dangers of expecting everyone to grow on the same schedule? How does a late bloomer differ from someone who never has any fruit at all?
Prayer focus: Go through the list at the beginning of the chapter. Where are you weak? What comes immediately before that? Ask God to help you see opportunities to strengthen in that area, and to give you the assurance that your weakness does not nullify His faithfulness.