There are too many believers who have fallen victims to the compromising schemes of the world. The book of second Peter shares some great insights on this subject.
Peter knew that we can’t enter into the joys of the Christian life by simply being admirers of Christ. Many have the mindset that faith is enough, but they soon find out that it isn’t. There are some prerequisites that are our responsibilities in living the Christian life successfully. Most believers ask: why are we still here after receiving Christ? Well, one the answers is to enable us build a character fit for living in the new Kingdom. This is what the apostle Paul meant by working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13).
The word ‘add’ in the verse (2 Peter 1:5) denote that we already got something. However, it’s our responsibility to do the ‘working’ them. God already gave us faith. So by ‘adding’ he means to walk in (exhibit) them. We are to dig deep into us to bring them out from our inside.
Another meaning is to supply them lavishly. Too many Christians sit and wait for the Spirit to move them. They never do anything great for God because they never make the effort to take on any challenge. Peter says if these are in us in increasing measure, we become fruitful. For example, a believer can refuse to cheat, steal, lie, etc. Why is this so? Because he is fruitful in these areas. He is mature in the full knowledge of God.
OUR PART (THE SEVEN STEPS)
Many have been Christians for so long but are unfruitful. These seven additions to our faith are clearly outlined in 2 Peter 1:5-7.
Virtue refers to moral excellence. It is the intentions behind our actions. True faith will result in a desire to do the will of God, to please Him and to do what is right. Unless a person has a genuine desire to do the right thing, all progress will stop. The question is, are we pursuing virtue with all diligence?
Matt 5:6, some questions to ask oneself are: do I want to do the right thing, please God, walk with Christ, being led by the Spirit, overcome my habitual sin, spend more time with the Bible, or spend more time in prayer?
Good intentions are however not enough for the Christian race till we move to the next step.
2. VIRTUE NEEDS KNOWLEDGE
This is putting our minds to work- studying. If you don’t know, you will lose out and be cheated even though you have faith. Once we have the desire to do the right thing, we need to know what the right thing is. Psalm 1:1-2. The human heart is very deceptive.
Many of us are ‘experts’ in issues such as God’s sovereignty, His decrees, his prophetic decrees, and legalistic tradition, while we remain crude in spirit and proud in heart. We need to know what God is like, what God loves, hates, who Christ is, what Christ did for you.
Additionally, you need to learn about who you are in Christ, your spiritual resources, the importance of prayer, the importance of fellowship in a church, the importance of telling others about Christ, etc.
Proverbs. 3:13-14- Solomon admonishes us to pursue knowledge and understanding with all of our hearts.
3. KNOWLEDGE NEEDS SELF CONTROL/TEMPERANCE
Knowledge is incomplete without self-discipline. Temperance is akin to holding oneself in. An athlete who wants to win a race, restrains himself from taking in certain foods. The apostle is admonishing us to keep ourselves in check. Say no to anger and bitterness.
That’s why Jesus said when you are struck on one cheek, turn the other to him as well (Matthew 5:38). This is because knowledge without self-control tends to give people a big head, and people who know their doctrine and bible history thoroughly are often overcome by pride, anger, lust, envy, bitterness, unfaithfulness, alcoholism, greed, etc… (Gal. 5:19-20)
Then again, knowing and doing the right thing is also not enough. The rabbit started fast, the tortoise hurried slowly; but when the race was past, Endurance won the show.
By Fati Issifu, AGN Contributor