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. 2 Peter 1:5-7
Don’t you just love plans? Sure when you’re young, you want nothing more than to break away from the policed structures placed by parents and school. As I got older and watched my structures be taken away, I grew to develop a deep appreciation for plans. There’s nothing as disconcerting as a blank canvas with infinite possibilities. As a believer, this is frustratingly false.
Have I lost you? Don’t worry. I’ll try to make some sense. If you are a born again believer, you are no longer lost because you have been translated from the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of light. There is most definitely a yellow-brick road set ahead of you. This is God’s will.
Does this mean that if you take one wrong step, you ruin God’s will? Not at all! God gives us the freedom to make ALL kinds of decisions on our own. It’s up to us to choose which decisions will bring God glory. He doesn’t need us to fulfill His plans. He graciously allows us to play a role in His story.
It doesn’t stop there. God left us a trail to follow to know if we really are on the right path in our walk with Him as believers. I’m just going to briefly touch on them. First off, you have to have faith! Without faith, you have no foundation to build on, but Christ said that you just need faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains.
After you have your foundation, next is virtue. This is moral goodness. Many things can actually fall under this category. This would include your actions, words, and attitudes influenced by the power of the Holy Spirit. The following building block is knowledge. This is a hunger for the knowledge of God’s Word, Him personally, and even your own heart.
Self-control, one of the fruits of the Spirit, is the next step on the right track. (Yeah, this is one is a tough one, and I’ll be the first to say that I utterly fail in this department sometimes.) I think that might be why the next one is SO important: steadfastness. This is so vital in the walk of a Christian. You will lose track of how many times you will stumble and fall, but one of the most important things that we are called to do is to be steadfast and not give up on our race. Don’t lose heart. Don’t listen to the lies that the enemies try to tell you. Just keep going forward!
Without you even realizing it, you will be a reflection of your heavenly Father by showing His godliness in your life! This is not by our efforts, but by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit who continues to transform us daily. When we reflect God, is it any wonder that we show brotherly affection? I get so happy and excited when I see and meet other believers. I get to live life with my spiritual siblings who have been redeemed just like I have!
Then the last (but really this will continue forever) step is love. This goes beyond love for people who are nice or easy to like. No, we are meant to love even our enemies as ourselves. We are called to love everyone because every human being is an image bearer of Yahweh. Since God is love, it makes sense that the last step in our walk is to be completely one with Him who showed us the greatest love on the cross.
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. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 2 Peter 1: 8-9
When you’re on the right track, you will be fruitful. That is one of God’s promises when we abide in Him (John 15). However, when we steer off the path, we will begin to listen to the lies that are whispered in our ears. Things like doubt, worry, condemnation, apathy, and even hate will burrow its way into our hearts and blind us if we allow it.
Christians, don’t be blinded. Instead, just take it one step at a time and trust that He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it until the day of Christ! Believe me. God does all the planting and the growing. We reap the benefits for eternity.