For if you do these things – “TAUTA” – you will never stumble.
2 Peter 1:10
I am fascinated by Apostle Peter – more is written about this man in the four Gospels than any other person, other than Jesus himself. His triumphs fascinate me: He walked on water, preached at Pentecost with 3,000 people responding in faith, and was delivered miraculously out of prison. His mishaps interest me as well. What on earth caused him to cut off a servant’s ear and soon afterward deny Jesus three times? How could he courageously walk on water one minute and sink the next? And what transformed this man who after Pentecost grew in steadfastness and courage becoming the leading gospel preacher of his time?
Who was the man Peter when he was first called by Jesus? As the spokesman for the Twelve, he was clearly singled out for special lessons. And who was the Peter when he wrote 2 Peter from prison facing imminent death by crucifixion? Thankfully we have a clear window into his thinking in his final letter to churches written approximately 1,943 years ago.
What did this passionate apostle, at the end of his life, want believers in his day to remember? And what in his parting message stands out for believers today?
Peter clearly wanted to equip believers to remain steadfast in the face of false teaching. He did not want to see them stumble nor become unfruitful. He knew what it took to face trials and to confront fears. He knew how to deal with major setbacks and disasters. He knew how to confront pain and loss. Tradition has it that he even had to stand by and encourage his wife, as she was crucified.
TAUTA (Greek for “these things”) is what kept Peter steadfast. TAUTA grew within him in increasing measure. TAUTA was the message he sent to believers in his final words. Timeless and powerful, his message as recorded in God’s word, applies to our lives today as directly as it did to the recipients of Peter’s epistles who went on to spread the Gospel around the world.
TAUTA consists of seven things we are to grow in increasing measure. (Interestingly seven is the number of fullness or completion used throughout scripture.) These seven things produce all the other things – the fruit we so desire in our lives. As parents we can get so focused on what we want to see happen in our kid’s lives that we fail to see WHAT will actually bring those things about.
Most Christian parents can articulate who they wish for their children to become and even the direction they desire for them to head, but few can articulate how they plan to accomplish the journey of raising their kids from infants to courageous men and women who are devoted to Jesus. Faced with tens of thousands of sources – books, DVDs, TV and radio programs, YouTube, church programs, magazines, blogs – they are drowning in a sea of advice that can be confusing, contradictory and all too often based on personal experience and bias. The massive amount of advice available is in and of itself stressful as parents try their best to determine which advice to listen to. Some try a little bit of everything hoping something will stick while others dive wholeheartedly into ideologies that are strong in certain aspects but void on other essential components.
TAUTA removes the confusion.
God did not place us in this generation of time and in this country so that we and our children would lose our way. Far from it.
His plan all along is for His truth to prevail in the hearts and minds of His children in every generation. In the midst of immorality and false teaching, in the midst of a crumbling economy, in the face of evil and recklessness, “his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life”. What we need to do – the right things are clearly spelled out to us. We simply need to open our eyes and SEE.
Jesus called ordinary men to become his disciples, ordinary men who went on to change the world because of their relationship with Him. Their impact was not because they were somehow unusual men – they were not – but because their hearts were unusually touched by the Master as they responded unusually to Him. The Peter who wrote his final epistle was a changed Peter from the young Peter who was first called by Jesus. He grew passionate about certain things and what he grew passionate about we should take note of today! He wrote:
….giving all diligence – (passionately) add to your faith:
to virtue knowledge
to knowledge self-control
to self-control perseverance
to perseverance godliness
to godliness brotherly kindness
to brotherly kindness
For if these things are yours and abound (are growing), you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1: 5-8
NOTE: A series on applying TAUTA to everyday life and education begins next week! Please read 2 Peter and contemplate the meaning of TAUTA!
VIRTUE: Quality of soul on the inside that precedes what you do on the outside
KNOWLEDGE: a teachable heart that seeks to grow in the knowledge of Jesus
SELF-CONTROL: Trained capacity to think clearly
PERSEVERANCE: Standing your ground and not letting setbacks defeat you
GODLINESS: devotedness to God – the opposite of worldliness or self-centeredness
BROTHERLY KINDNESS: Compassion- being your brother’s keeper
LOVE: loving others as God loves- sacrificially and unconditionally
Dear Peter Dusan,
Thank you for often being one of the first responders to this blog. You encourage me and remind me in ways of the apostle Peter because of your passion, courage and devotion. I still remember the day when God called you, an ordinary freshman football player, out of the ordinary teen lifestyle. The changes in you began to show up in your life immediately, as you responded in an unusual way to Christ’s call on your life. Your positive influence in the lives of other students grew to be unusual as well because they saw unusual change in your life. Our daughter certainly took notice. Long before you started to date Alisa, I noticed your unusual passion for Jesus. Since that time 12 years ago, I have watched you steadily grow in the qualities that together make up TAUTA. Keep on growing Peter. God used ordinary fisherman to change the world as they were unusually changed by Him. As you continue to respond unusually to Him, He will continue to unusually change you and do unusual things not only in your family but also in the ministry he has called you into.
It is a blessing to have you as part of our family!
(NOTE: Peter is a joy to our family and serves as an elder together with my husband Glen at Christ Community Church San Marcos. He is also a campus minister at Texas State through Every Nation Campus Ministries.)