(This Wednesday Ann Voskamp hosts a community of those who share about “The Practice of Resurrection.” Below I share an idea that may help resurrect a dead motivation to follow God, resurrect a dead excitement for being fruitful, or resurrect a dead hope of overcoming sin. Click on the Holy Experience badge to read more posts on “The Practice of Resurrection”!)
What do snowball fights, knowing God, and 2 Peter 1:8 have in common?
I live with four family members, and all of them are male.* I still don’t get why snowball fights are fun. Why do they love being pelted with icy globs? To me, it’s like being hunted.
But they have their great fun packing snowballs while I watch (from inside) and take pictures with the window between me and them. I heat water in the kettle and take out the marshmallows so that the hot cocoa will be ready when they come in, red-cheeked and happy.
That’s in winter. In the summer I work with my sons on the simple skills of catching and throwing a baseball. I tell them how to position the mitt. I remind them not to shut their eyes when the ball is coming at them. I show them that if they throw the ball with the right hand, they should step with the left foot (not the right, as they were doing).
Sometimes the progress seems slow. At the beginning of one summer, though, I went to the backyard for one of the first throwing and catching practices of the year. They were much better than I remembered; their skill level was even better than it was end of the previous summer!
Wondering what happened, I told my husband about it. “They got so much better at throwing all of a sudden! I haven’t even been working on it that long!”
Charles’s explanation came immediately. “It’s because of the snowball fights.”
Maybe the way to get better at throwing is not so much to “work on” throwing skills. Maybe we should just have snowball fights, and the throwing will improve automatically, almost without thinking about it. Plus, it’s fun.
The Snowball Fight of 2 Peter 1:5-8
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(2 Peter 1:8)
What?! If something will guarantee my usefulness and fruitfulness, then I want to know what it is!
What, then, are “these qualities”? What is the snowball fight?
Now for this reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.
(2 Peter 1:5-7)
Instead of fretting over or “working on” being fruitful, I should focus on “these qualities,” things like
Then (God help me!), the fruitfulness will follow.
The Snowball Fight of Knowing God
Avoiding sin is the throw-and-catch practice. Knowing God is the snowball fight. Maybe the way to get better at conquering sin is not so much to work on avoiding that sin, gritting my teeth and saying, “I won’t sin, I won’t sin, I won’t sin!” Maybe I should just know God better and better, and overcoming the sin will follow as a natural consequence, almost without thinking about it.
And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him…
No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.
(1 John 2:3-4 and 3:6)
I think it’s worth a try. Plus, knowing God better is fun.
*Note: If you’ve read my previous post for a book club on writing, you will have noticed that a large part of this post is identical. But the thoughts above on knowing God and 2 Peter 1:8 came before the thoughts on writing. I suppose, if I consider what Laura Boggess said: “Good writing requires living well,” then it’s not surprising that the snowball-fight insights would apply in multiple areas!