“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV
When we study the passage above hopefully we see there is no room for complacency. Though faith is so important that no one can please God without it (Hebrews 11:6), faith is one of the steps on our journey with God.
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in god. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.” Hebrews 6:1-3 NLT
It is God’s will that all of his children, “Move forward to further understanding.” God knows better than anyone that growth takes time. So if you see areas in your life where you need to improve (all of us should) don’t fret. It is good that you want to please God. If we do not give up we will eventually become the people God is molding us to be.
ADD TO YOUR FAITH GOODNESS
It takes no effort at all to be bad, but it takes discipline to do what is good. In reality no one is truly good, only God is. (Luke 18:19) But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t imitate God’s goodness. When I think of the goodness of God this profound verse comes to mind:
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 KJV
ADD TO YOUR GOODNESS KNOWLEDGE
God tells us to add to our goodness knowledge. This is a deeper understanding of our Father. Hence we must study God’s word. In it we see just who God is, and who we are. He also shows us how to please Him and benefit ourselves. Because the truth is like a light that gets brighter and brighter our study of God’s word is a lifelong process:
“The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Proverbs 4:18 NIV
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 NIV
Be sure to set aside time each day (if just a few minutes is all you have) to study our Father’s word and add to your goodness knowledge.
ADD TO YOUR KNOWLEDGE SELF-CONTROL
In today’s society everybody is trying to control someone else. Self-control is not popular. But it is a must to live the life of faith. A person with self-control learns to master his/her passions and desires, especially their sensual appetites. They have desires just like everyone else. But they are brought under the control of the Holy Spirit.
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11 NIV
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:16-17 KJV
People with self-control are not slaves to their sinful cravings. SIn is not their master. They mess up sometimes. But they get back up. People with self-control when provoked to anger give gentle answers like this next verse says:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIV
ADD TO YOUR SELF-CONTROL PERSEVERANCE
One who has perseverence is said to have steadfastness, or stick-to-it-iveness. Perseverence in the faith means unswerving loyalty to God no matter what trial we are going through. And who is the greatest example of this? Hence the next passage:
“Fixing our eyes on JESUS, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:2-3 NIV
“For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:19-23 NIV
Having perseverance doesn’t mean we only bear our trials, or just learn to put up with them. Perseverance means we learn to bear temptations the way Jesus did, following His example.
ADD TO YOUR PERSEVERANCE GODLINESS
Godliness is having very deep respect, awe, or reverence for our God. How could we not revere Him? He made the heavens and the earth and all that is in them! Pondering God’s greatness will keep us in awe of Him. He is the only person deserving of such. Being pious toward God is healthy. Meditating on his goodness warms the heart.
“I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Psalm 77:11-13 KJV
ADD TO YOUR GODLINESS MUTUAL AFFECTION
Another way to describe mutual affection is brotherly love and kindness. There’s a special bond we have with our spiritual siblings.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10 KJV
Shouldn’t we love fellow believers in Christ? Are we treating them like this?
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
ADD TO YOUR MUTUAL AFFECTION LOVE
God is not redundant when he says to add to our mutual affection love. Remember, love is the greatest commandment:
“Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The LORD our God is the one and only LORD. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 NLT
“You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” Now that’s some love. But didn’t God show this kind of love for us when He created us? When He gave His only begotten son to die for our sins? (John 3:16) Are we loving God like we should when we fill our hearts, souls, and minds with junk on TV? Or with wicked music? Is all of our strength and energy focussed toward showing love for God?
Jesus also said we must love our neighbors as ourselves. That means loving everyone. A simple way to sum this command up is with something else Jesus said:
“Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” Luke 6:31 NLT
As Jesus said, “There is no commandment greater than these.”
There are great benefits in adding all of the above mentioned virtues to our faith:
“For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:8 NIV
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