a fruitful life?

Lately, I’ve been anxious and scattered in my thinking. My schedule seems to fill with unexpected items that clutter my mind and increase my anxiety for fear I’ll forget to fulfill a commitment or not do it well. As always, I fear failure. I cringe when my imperfections are brought before my eyes through mistakes. And, I’ve realized, the rising anxiety also reflects a fear of my life becoming a waste — an unfruitful existence.

There’s a bookmark shoved in my Bible at the start of 2 Peter, and for some reason I keep flipping to that page. Verses 3 and 4 of chapter 1 are underlined, with the reminder “BFA 2007” written in the margin. Those were the theme verses of my second year at Black Forest Academy. I pondered them then, with bland thankfulness, but they return to me now with a greater force. As I read the whole passage this morning, I thought about the practical side of what Peter is saying.

For His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. It helps me to narrow the focus and recognize that these are the fruits of a life lived in Christ. Maybe part of my recent scattered-ness comes from emphasizing the wrong qualities, or seeking after false satisfaction? I don’t know. But it heartens me to know that I have permission to narrow my focus to these fruits as the most important. And, of course, the best part is the promise in verse 3 that I don’t have to conjure them up. His divine power has given me everything I need.

The tools, the means, are present, but… am I using them? In many ways I feel “blind and short-sighted” like “the person who lacks these things.” Once in a while I get an epiphany of His perspective but so much of my life, I feel, is in the fog of human misunderstanding.

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