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Just dropping by ... Divine nature footprints

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairyman Published on 18 January 2016

Lately the world is buzzing with talk of “climate change.” If the weather is too cold, it is global cooling. If the weather is too hot, it is global warming. The major flips back and forth in the weather has caused some debate in the scientific community. They can’t decide if it is global cooling or global warming, so they started calling it climate change.

In my day, the weather was always unpredictable. I have watched blizzards in the middle of June and have seen 90ºF temperatures in January. I never thought emissions from my little Rambler coupe made such a difference. Of course, I am not a scientist.

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Nowadays, if there is a natural disaster, it’s because the climate is being influenced by carbon emissions from man-made equipment. We are all leaving carbon footprints that are destroying our world.

Some entrepreneurs cash in on the phenomenon and sell carbon credits so a person can make a bigger carbon footprint without consequence. As I understand it, if you buy carbon credits, you can continue living your same lifestyle and your carbon footprint doesn’t impact the environment.

Amazing! Sounds like snake oil to me, but I am not a scientist. In any case, all this foofaraw about “climate change” is symptomatic of an elite society that has forgotten who is in charge.

There are footprints, however, that have changed the world for good or ill. The world will never be the same after Hitler walked the streets of Germany. Napoleon left his footprint on the lives of thousands of soldiers and their families. Stalin and Lenin both left woeful tracks in the world.

Think of the tracks left after 9/11 and Columbine, Sandy Hook, Colorado and Paris. Those footprints are indelible in the hearts and minds of those who suffered.

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On the other hand, Mother Theresa left tracks of kindness and mercy wherever she went. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington left footprints in American soil that will not be forgotten. Joseph, who was sold into Egypt, impacted the world for good – and his name is remembered over the centuries.

Moses and his law is intertwined with our laws even today. Christ left a set of footprints that truly made an impact on the climate of society. In fact, He changed the world, and His followers continue to make an impact. The footprint of His “divine nature” has given light to the world and a path to follow.

Unlike carbon credits, investing in His divine nature will make a difference in our own lives and change the world around us. You can’t buy divine nature credits. You must foster them by making choices every day.

The Apostle Peter explains that through the Lord Jesus Christ’s divine power, He has given us “life and godliness” and has called us to “glory and virtue.” He has given us “precious promises” so that we will be able to be “partakers of the divine nature” and will “escape the corruption” of this world. Then he gives nine attributes of the divine nature to which every Christian should diligently strive (2 Peter 1:1-9).

What is this divine nature? Divine means godly or having to do with God. Nature means the characteristics and personality of a human being. Divine nature means that our characteristics and personality are like God’s. As we walk in His divine footsteps, we become more like Him.

Faith is the first principle of a divine nature that will give us the characteristics of a true Christian. We must first believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke many times about a mustard seed, comparing it to faith.

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A mustard seed is a tiny seed but grows into a huge tree. Faith starts out small, sometimes with only a desire to believe, but if you act on the faith by praying, reading and applying the scriptures, your faith will grow until it becomes a tree that cannot be shaken by the winds of false doctrine.

Peter says, “Add to your faith virtue.” Virtue is the application part of faith. Keeping the commandments builds faith, and the commandments are designed to change the heart and mind, even our very natures.

The Ten Commandments are the milk, but the Law of Christ as found in the New Testament is the meat. “Love your neighbor as yourself. Pray for your enemies. Do good to those who despitefully use you and persecute you.” Those are commandments that really test our nature and make us grow to be like the Master.

Peter suggests that we add knowledge to our virtue. Knowledge is proved faith. In other words, we have had experiences that prove what we only believed. We believe that God answers prayers, but when we have a specific answer to a prayer, we know that God hears our prayers. We no longer have faith in prayer. We have knowledge; we know that prayers are answered.

Peter speaks of temperance and patience being added to knowledge. Sometimes answers to our prayers don’t come as quickly as we would like. We have a tendency, in our instant-gratification world, to want perfect knowledge all at once. We don’t want to wait for our little grain of faith to grow into a tree. So we expend tremendous amounts of energy in prayer and reading one day; then on other days we spend little or no time in our quest.

We need to find balance and wait upon the Lord for His timing. It must be a daily quest, a quietly-burning candle, not a firecracker-once-a week explosion of effort. That is the kind of temperance and patience Peter is suggesting.

Godliness, brotherly kindness and charity come next on Peter’s list. It seems strange that Peter would use the word godliness when that is the final goal of divine nature, but it all seems natural when you think of the saying, “Act the part until you obtain the virtue.” Peter was saying, “Act like you already have a divine nature even if you are not there yet.” Be a Christ-like person. Pretend you like to show brotherly kindness until you do. Acts of charity have their own reward.

The feeling of love washes over you, and you feel that God is pleased with your effort even if it is not quite with pure intent yet. The more you act in charity and try to purify your motives, the more you become like the Savior who did everything for the benefit of mankind.

Charity, of course, is the greatest of all the attributes of Christ, and it endures forever. Paul says it will never fail.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

—1 Corinthians 13:8-10

I would say, “when that which is perfect is come,” we won’t need Peter’s steps to obtaining a divine nature; we will have obtained it, and all of our motives and actions will be pure charity.

Until that time, we need to continue our quest for divine nature until we reach the point of pure charity. Speaking of the attributes of divine nature, Peter says:

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

—2 Peter 1:8-9

As the world continues to fret and worry about “climate change,” we need to remember who is in charge. He created the earth. His hands spanned the starlit heavens. His footprints are upon the sea. He controls the winds and the waves. I am sure snowflakes don’t fall without His notice.

He “causes it to rain on the evil and the good.” A sparrow does not fall to the ground without Him knowing it, and He arrays the lilies of the field with glory greater than Solomon. Why should we worry about what is in His control? We need to worry about what is in our control.

Let us concern ourselves about the footprints we are leaving in the world. People of true charity, the pure love of Christ, can make a huge difference in a world that has grown cold – and not from global cooling.  PD

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