His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (NIV)
2 Peter 1:3-4
The ‘Divine Nature.’ My first reaction to Peter’s words is to think surely he is exaggerating. The word ‘divine’ means godlike. And my nature refers to how I operate, the way I think, respond, perceive, reason, and react to the things around me. Is he really saying that I can have a godlike nature?!? Well, I suppose the answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ No, I will never be godlike on my own, but yes, I can participate in His divine nature. I can become like Him.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (NIV)
We see a little bit of this same thing with Paul. The new self I put on, that is for me to live in the new creation I am by faith in Christ and this new creation was created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. As I submit to the Holy Spirit, my demeanor, my mode of operation, my thoughts, dreams, perceptions, reasoning, demeanor, attitude, etc. will become more and more like God. Wow! Let’s talk for just a minute what that looks like.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked. (NIV)
2 Kings 6:15-18
In this moment, we see the contrast of the human nature and the divine nature. When the servant of Elisha wakes up and sees an entire army coming to get Elisha because of his help to the King of Israel, he freaks out. I see him running around, arms flailing, screaming at the top of his lungs, “We are going to die!!!!” Then here comes Elisha, relaxed, laid back, no worries. Elisha I think is still waking up. He sees the army and yawns. A big early morning stretch diminishes the screams in his ear for just a moment. As his servant rushes by him, arms flailing like a madman, Elisha tries to speak to him, “Do not be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” But his servant is beside himself, like a 12-year-old without an Xbox is having a panic attack. To have mercy on his soul, Elisha asks the Lord, “Open his eyes, Lord so that he may see.” Like he hit a mack truck, his servant stops in his tracks when he sees the glorious fire and angels on their chariots. We don’t read what happens to the servant, but in my mind, great peace overwhelmed him. He no longer was anxious, but stood in awe of God, worshipping and praising. And this is the divine nature.
There is no fear in God. He is never afraid. He is never nervous. He is never anxious. He is always under control. He is able to be like this because He has no threats. The closest threat I suppose would be Lucifer, but Lucifer has already been defeated by a simple word. There was no struggle or fight. The Devil was shut down by the very presence of God. And the Devil knows already that his time is short and there is coming a day when he will stand before the Lord in chains. He will bow down and confess that Jesus is Lord, then he will be escorted to the Lake of Fire. There is no fear in the Lord because He has no threat. Nothing and no one can challenge Him. We don’t have the same presence, but Peter is teaching us that though we don’t have the same presence of God, we can abide in His presence and influenced so heavily by the Holy Spirit that we react and respond in His divine nature. This is what Elisha did.
How is it possible? How do we come to this place of participating in the divine nature? Peter teaches us that it is through His promises. He doesn’t mention any of the hundreds in Scripture. It is just the fact that God makes promises and He doesn’t break them. He always does what He says He will do. Elisha had confidence. He knew the Lord would protect Him. He was not surprised by the attack of the enemy, but he was also not overwhelmed. He was filled with peace because God promised to protect those who were faithful to Him. He also knew that God would thwart the plans of those who tried to come against them. Remember God’s promise to Abraham. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” Elisha was so certain and sure that God would do what He said that in the face of the enemy at work against him, peace was his first reaction.
How our life would change if we lived every moment as if God was going to do what He said He was going to do! God promised blessings to those who honor Him and curses to those who don’t. When I am in a situation, I don’t have to worry about what anybody says or thinks. I only need to know what the Lord says and believe it to be so. He promises to rescue those who pursue Him. He promises blessings to those who obey Him. He promises forgiveness to those who forgive. He promises peace to those who pray with a spirit of thanksgiving. He promises the divine nature to those who draw near to Him. But wait, there’s more…He also promises to bring down the haughty. And He promises to destroy the wicked. So when I see the enemy at work, knowing that God will do what He said He will do, I need only to know what God says about how to react, then I must trust what He said because He said it.
God never intended for you to be overcome, overwhelmed, or overrun by anything in this life. No, in all these things, He has called us to be more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. Trust His promises and they will lead you away from the deceitful desires of the human nature that cause so much drama and lead you to the divine nature.