“You Have Been Forewarned”

do-not-enter-danger-signWe can either heed the warning of the “do not enter” or “danger” sign and stay on this side of safety or we can ignore the warnings and walk into a potentially dangerous situation. The sign has a very clear purpose and is pretty much universal in its message across the world. With that being said, I know that there are a number of people out there that see this sign and ask the question, “how dangerous is it?” For them it sparks a certain amount of curiosity and interest, questioning that of what lies beyond the warning.

“Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” (2 Peter 3:17). Peter is closing his second letter with this warning, so it makes sense that he writes to us in his letters in a way that alerts us of some potentially “dangerous” situations. The most notable of these warnings is the influence of the false prophets and teachers that have been working their way into the lives of the people and the church. Over and over through his letters we are told that we will suffer because of our faith in Jesus, a warning and notice that our suffering for doing good is commendable before God. As we continue our reading through the text we are also warned of the enemy (the devil) who “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 peter 5:8).

As leaders today we can fall prey to theses dangerous situations. Peter describes for us, the means by which the false prophets work, secretly introducing destructive heresies that are contrary to the sound doctrine we are growing in. Often times there is no danger sign shouting out to us to stop. Peter reminds us to grow not only in our faith through knowledge, but in goodness, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love. When we build these qualities into our faith, into our leadership we will not stumble, we will see the warning signs against the teachings of false doctrine, we will stand strong in suffering, and we will see the devil prowling around us (standing on guard). We may hear these warnings, we might see the signs, it is up to us to heed them even when our curiosity, our broken human condition of self and pride try to prevail.

God’s Timing and Prayer

old-clockWe all need reminders of things from time to time; this has been proven over and over throughout history. Peter writes to the believers of his time to encourage them as they face opposition and false teaching both inside the church and in their community. Peter’s encouragement for them was a reminder of what the Lord had done for them in the past; chapter 2 recounts many of the events throughout the history of their people.

As I reflect on the role of prayer in my own life and in the lives of others I was mainly drawn to the words of chapter 3:8-9,

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promises, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”.

I know that Peter is talking about the coming day of the Lord in this passage; I find encouragement in these words when I consider them in respect to my prayer life. Often I pray for something and wait (sometime patiently and other times not so much) for God to answer my request. These verses remind me that we (God and I) work on a different timeline; He does promise to give us what we ask for (in His time and His way). As we grow in our relationship with God we can begin to understand how He can use this time to strengthen our faith. As hard as it is to appreciate I think that “unanswered” prayer prompt us to dig deeper into our faith and be patient in waiting just as He is with us.

This verse talks about His promises, not just that Christ will come back one day but He also promises to be with us here and now. The key to any great relationship is communication, time in prayer with God, spending time in the word are the ways we have to build and grow in our relationship with Him.