- Jude 1:1-25
- 2 Peter 1:1-3:18
“…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing…” –2 Peter 1:5-8, ESV
These readings hold a broad array of exhortations. From personal exhortations to avoid sin, to the highlighted scripture above of what to do instead of sin, to predictions and warnings about false teachers. If you were to put together a synopsis of what a Christian will face in their mortal life, these sum it up well. The reason I highlight the scriptures above are two-fold: 1) my analytical side already tends to picking out the wrong in a teaching or situation; and 2) the critical nature expressed through social media does this as well.
In behavioral counseling, there lies a concept that you cannot simply stop doing something. If you practice a “bad” habit, you cannot simply stop doing it. You must, instead, replace it with something else. If you do not replace it purposefully by choosing a healthy substitution, you will naturally replace it with whatever comes along. I cannot simply stop analyzing the teachings; and I do not recommend blindly receiving any teaching lest one be lured away. However, instead of trying to focus less on that, I choose instead to focus more on what I should be doing. Which qualities in my life should be increasing? What stands in the way of that happening? As I analyze my own behavior and work with the Spirit to root out negativities there, my compassion and grace towards others increases. By focusing on what should be happening rather than only what shouldn’t be happening, I find my time spent in a more positive frame of mind and heart.