2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (NIV)
I've almost completed reading John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress for the fifth time. I love the way Bunyan mixes the stories of Christian, the pilgrim, with verses and promises from the Bible. Page after page, the book overflows with words of encouragement and caution, inspiration and instruction. At one time, it used to be required reading in some schools. Sadly, many people today don't know that it even exists.
John Bunyan was imprisoned for his faith, just like the apostles Peter and Paul from the New Testament era. In Bunyan's day, preachers were required to obtain a license in order to preach the gospel. Bunyan refused to do this, and so he was treated as an antagonist. He went to jail several times, but he persevered in his faith.
Pilgrim's Progress was mostly written during his times in prison. Being unable to preach on the outside during his captivity, he wrote the book to reach the hearts and minds of people whom he never met. His book influenced more lives than his itinerant preaching ever did. His prose and poems are almost Shakespearean. What began as a project to help him get through the tedium of being in prison became a vehicle for his faith to inspire the same in others. The book has been translated into many languages, and it still touches the hearts and souls of thousands of Christians throughout the world today.
In today's passage, Peter emphasizes that God secures all that we need for life, and He promises an enrichment of godly knowledge, both of which enrich our hearts and souls. It reminds me of Bunyan, because he lived a simple life, devoted to God and enhanced by faith.
In our rush to succeed and to obtain all that we westerners can, we sometimes forget that life is for living and giving, not for getting and collecting. Perhaps if we enjoyed the simpler things of life, we would discover a brand of happiness, health, and hope that would completely satisfy our hearts and souls.
There's an old chorus that perfectly sums up these thoughts:
- He is all I need,
He is all I need;
Jesus is all I need.
He is all I need,
He is all I need;
Jesus is all that I need.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we complicate our lives by surrounding ourselves with many possessions that end up possessing us. Help us to let go of the things we have, and to let You have a hold on us. Grant us the discernment and wisdom to dedicate our ways to You alone. You are all that we need. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.
Listen to this devotional