ODJ: the road more travelled

September 22, 2014 

READ: 2 Peter 1:1-15 

I will work hard to make sure you always remember these things after I am gone (v.15).

Ever heard of “swarm intelligence”? Ant colonies use it to establish the quickest paths between food and their nests. Scout ants leave a trail of pheromones (a chemical substance) as they make their way to edibles. More ants follow, causing the scent on the trails to become even stronger. Over time, the best routes become more popular and scented, while the less-efficient paths steadily decrease in both the number of ants traversing them and the pheromones left behind. “Swarm intelligence” allows ant colonies to consistently find the best paths to the nourishment they need.
Peter didn’t use pheromones to help his readers make their way towards a vibrant faith in Jesus (2 Peter 1:1), but he did leave them a trail of important things that could help them get there. The apostle identified “moral excellence”, “knowledge”, “self-control”, “patient endurance”, “godliness”, “brotherly affection” and “love for everyone” as markers along the path towards spiritual maturity (vv.5-7).

While the sequence wasn’t important, the overall establishment of these things in the life of believers in Jesus is vital. Why? Peter wrote, “The more you grow [in displaying these qualities], the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v.8). This knowledge of Jesus and the ability to leave the ‘scent’ of true faith in Him that others can follow is something that Peter acquired by working “hard” (vv.10,15).

You and I can daily follow the path that God has established in His Word. As we work hard to do so, we amplify the path towards true spiritual nourishment and maturity that others can follow.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan› Matthew 26:57-75

Consider the ‘trail markers’ Paul listed in Galatians 5:22-23 (the fruit of the Spirit) as well as those found in 2 Peter 1:5-7. As you look over these lists, which trait do you most need to work on today? 
What’s the quality of the path you’re leaving for other believers in Jesus to follow? What will help you grow in spiritual maturity this week?