When I was in College, I was challenged by one of my professors to select a “life verse” that would guide me into my future. At the time I knew that the Bible had a bunch of verses and wondered how could I possibly do that?
Actually, there are 23,145 verses in the Old Testament and 7,957 verses in the New Testament, for a total of 31,102 verses!
However, knowing it to be a daunting task, I took this advice seriously and spent time praying and reading and actually came upon one that has guided me throughout my life and ministry.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. II Peter 3:18 NRSV
As a student at Gulf-Coast Bible College, majoring in Christian Education, I was learning about the educational tasks of the Church and seriously concerned about discipleship. This verse seemed to fit very well into my studies and subsequent ministry.
Throughout the years, I have kept this verse at the forefront of my life and ministry, asking questions like: How am I growing in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? How am I growing in [the] knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? How am I bringing glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? And then as a leader, asking how I am helping others to grow in these areas as well?
I must admit that growing in knowledge is a little easier to determine. As I am immersed and engaged in the Gospels, I am ever learning about our Lord and Savior. However, I am convinced that this knowing is more than just knowing about and truly knowing Christ, i.e. living in intimate fellowship through the indwelling Spirit.
It is in this intimate relationship that I am a recipient and channel of his grace. And I have come to believe that one aspect of growth in grace comes through the rhythm of receiving and giving grace!
And when it comes to bringing glory, Jesus becomes my example when he says in his High Priestly Prayer: “I glorified you [Father] on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.” John 17:4 NRSV
So, having a “life verse” guides me in my life and the ministry that I believe God has called me to fulfill. And as it is ever before me, it always reminds me that I have not yet arrived and must always seek to; Grow in Grace, Grow in Knowledge, and Give Glory to Jesus!
One of my favorite quotes is by George Elliot: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
Let me ask you: Do you have a life verse?
“It is never too late…”
Dr. Michael D. Sanders
Dean of Faculty, Professor of Christian Formation