“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7 NKJV)
Christian growth results in a virtuous lifestyle. Peter began by talking about our divine nature. Then, he reminded us that’s the reason that we add these virtues to our life and our faith. It’s not that doing good works and adding the human approximation of these qualities will bring us salvation, it’s that as we embrace the divine nature that we have because of the grace of Jesus Christ, it will make a difference . People should see us living with more faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Some would understand Peter to teach that we add virtue to faith until the virtue cup is filled, then we can work on knowledge until that cup is filled, etc. I don’t understand that way. I see these qualities spiraling into our lives as we allow God to work. We may get lots of brotherly kindness before we get perseverance. It may be that by showing brotherly kindness that we learn perseverance – and so on.
Steven Curtis Chapman wrote a song called The Change. In that song he sings about the people who all the visible stuff that shows that they’re Christians: t-shirts, jewelry, bumper stickers, and welcome mats among other Christian junk. (Yes, I said that. Yes, I have some of that stuff.) In the song, though, he asks the question: where’s the changed life? Where’s the difference? Our lives become different once we stop trying to force change and let God work work that change through us. Notice that I said “different” and not “easier.” As we seek God, as we draw closer to Him, we’ll start seeing these qualities, or rather opportunities to display these qualities more often. I think it’s safe to say that God doesn’t give us these qualities so much as put us into situations where we can live them. That’s how we’re able to add them to our faith. Let God keep making the change in your life and let the world see the difference a relationship with Him makes.
Lord, please keep changing me. Let my life reflect Your love and grace so that other people will want to experience a relationship with You.