By Iva May
None of the Jesus’ disciples were slackers, especially Peter.
Peter begins his second letter to second generation disciples by exhorting them—not to be slackers—but diligently to add character to their faith: “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. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins” (2 Peter 1:5-9).
Two spiritual mathematical equations are found in the above verses:
Believers + diligence in character development = fruitfulness in life and relational intimacy with Christ
Believers – diligence in character development = barrenness in life and in relational distance with Christ
Peter begins his list with the addition of virtue (moral excellence). Sadly, we don’t hear that word much any more, nor do we see much of it in action in our world. Believers, however, have opportunities to demonstrate moral excellence. For example, yesterday as I paid for a number of picture frames at Hobby Lobby, I realized that I had not been charged for one of the frames. I quickly brought this to the employee’s attention. She was grateful that I had caught the mistake and thanked me profusely for being such a good person. Aware that people behind me in line were listening to the conversation and wanting to prevent both the employee and the other customers from thinking that I am honest because I am good person, I quickly said, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ; therefore, I want to pay for everything I take out of those doors.” The lady directly behind me said, “Wow!”
We do what we do because of whose we are. Most disciples of Christ focus on the private spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, memorizing Scripture, and so forth; and so they should, for these are crucial for spiritual growth. The seven traits mentioned in 2 Peter 1:5-9, however, express one’s identity with Christ publicly. The lack of these—virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love—brings barrenness in life and in fellowship with Christ and prevents His divine nature from being revealed in and through us.
From which mathematical equation do you operate on a daily basis?