2 Peter 1:3-8
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When breaking down this passage, the one thing that stood out for me is the succession of one level to the next; I believe the order is very specific.
Without Faith none of it works which is why it is listed first. Then without a virtuous mind, a desire for holiness and a realization we are not holy, only then can we truly and humbly desire or even digest true knowledge.
Once we start having the “oh wow” moments of awareness and knowledge comes upon us (I was blind but now I see), then comes the battle (or for life-long addicts like me, I do mean battle) to be steadfast in our self control to follow God’s loving rebukes and graces… each layer building upon the previous.
We can dabble in all of these areas separately, out of order, at random times throughout our lives without Christ and even in journey of sanctification in Christ, but without a purpose-driven focus on becoming more ‘Christ-like’ there will likely only be fleeting moments of growth as a Christian.
If however we are intentional, filled with a driving purpose to follow Christ and yearn to become more Christ-like (the final stage, unconditional love towards all of God’s creation and the wisdom to know how to carry that love out); then each level must build upon a strong foundation of obedience to the previous condition of the heart.
This is a pursuit we can never perfect, but lest we give up the race, give up working out our own salvation, we must spend the rest of our lives reaching towards this goal.
Also take notice my favorite power word toward the end of this passage… “IF”. The success or failure of Sanctification in our Christian walk, the effectiveness of our individual fruitful (or fruitless) lives is dependent upon our response to His grace and mercy.
To be born again means we are to live actively in this process and thrive while doing it, not remain in bondage to our old dead ways of living in and for ourselves.
So what does this look like
(taken from Dictionary.com)
- confidence or trust in a person or thing: faith in another’s ability.
- belief that is not based on proof: He had faith that the hypothesis would be substantiated by fact.
- belief in God or in the doctrines or teachings of religion: the firm faith of the Pilgrims.
- belief in anything, as a code of ethics, standards of merit, etc.: to be of the same faith with someone concerning honesty.
- a system of religious belief
- the obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc.: Failure to appear would be breaking faith.
- the observance of this obligation; fidelity to one’s promise, oath, allegiance, etc.: He was the only one who proved his faith during our recent troubles.
- Christian Theology . the trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved.
Synonyms: acceptance, allegiance, assent, assurance, belief, certainty, certitude, confidence,constancy, conviction, credence, credit,
credulity, dependence, faithfulness, fealty,fidelity, hope, loyalty, reliance, stock, store, sureness, surety, troth, truth, truthfulness. understanding, discernment, comprehension; erudition, scholarship
- moral excellence; goodness; righteousness.
- conformity of one’s life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness; rectitude.
- chastity; virginity: to lose one’s virtue.
Synonyms: goodness, probity, integrity.
1. acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition
2. familiarity or conversance, as with a particular subject or branch of learning:
3. acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report
Synonyms: understanding, discernment, comprehension
- control or restraint of oneself or one’s actions, feelings, etc.
- fixed in direction; steadily directed: a steadfast gaze.
- firm in purpose, resolution, faith, attachment, etc., as a person: a steadfast friend.
- unwavering, as resolution, faith, adherence, etc.
Synonyms: sure, dependable, reliable, constant, unwavering. Steadfast, staunch, steady imply a sureness and continuousness that may be depended upon.
Steadfast literally means fixed in place, but is chiefly used figuratively to indicate undeviating constancy or resolution: steadfast in one’s faith.
- conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devout; pious.
- coming from God; divine.
Synonyms: religious, saintly, holy, righteous, good.
- fond attachment, devotion, or love: the affection of a parent for an only child.
- Often, affections
- emotion; feeling; sentiment: over and above our reason and affections.
- the emotional realm of love: a place in his affections.
- a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
- a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.
verb (used with object)
- to have love or affection for: All her pupils love her.
- to have a profoundly tender, passionate affection for (another person).
- to have a strong liking for; take great pleasure in: to love music.
- to need or require; benefit greatly from: Plants love sunlight.
1. tenderness, fondness, predilection, warmth, passion, adoration. 1, 2. Love, affection, devotion all mean a deep and enduring emotional regard, usually for another person. Love may apply to various kinds of regard: the charity of the Creator, reverent adoration toward God or toward a person, the relation of parent and child, the regard of friends for each other, romantic feelings for another person, etc. Affection is a fondness for others that is enduring and tender, but calm. Devotion is an intense love and steadfast, enduring loyalty to a person; it may also imply consecration to a cause. 2. liking, inclination, regard, friendliness. 15. like. 16. adore, adulate, worship
If we truly desire to stand apart, to not be conformed to the world, to make ourselves holy and pleasing in the site of God, then we must press on, always realizing we are less than others and with that we need to work on lessening ourselves so that we may increase others.
Jesus modeled that with His very life, both as He lived and as He died. Up to the bitter end, washing the feet of Judas and asking God to forgive those who placed Him on the cross as they gambled for His clothes while he suffered for us.
Our sacrifice is not what is important, it is the glorifying of our Father who gave us everything, life, salvation and a purpose to serve Him fully with our entire lives.
Are we going to go all in today, or just give God our leftovers?
My prayer today is that God continue to bless us and show mercy on our shared journey of redemption.