by Jane Barrick
"For this reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2nd Peter 1:5-8 NIV
In our youth, we focus more on what we want to do, how we will reach our goals, and what to do to be successful in life. What 2nd Peter is telling believers is that God's word is focusing on our "BEING" all He called us to BE. As followers of Jesus Christ, our passion and drive should be to posses the characteristics of our heavenly Father with a longing to be like Him. Possessing these characteristics is evidence of the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us; for we can only achieve this through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The scriptural command here is simple and direct, "Make every effort to add to your faith..." Achieving goals in our earthly life is not as important as first being focused on God's directives. The use of the word 'every' is defined as "to make the greatest possible effort." Not just to make one attempt or not a half-hearted effort, but the greatest possible effort until it is accomplished. This is the pathway of true discipleship.The wisdom is in discovering and accepting God's truth of being and reflecting Godliness.
The words that follow verse 8 are 'key' to what we are called to be a slave to righteousness, and virtuousness. We are to focus on developing our character following our Lord and Savior's example. Becoming participants in His Devine nature adding virtuous qualities to our faith, is also a shield of protection from the desires of the flesh.
To be invited by God to be a partaker of His Devine power should give us the desire and determination to become more like Him. Scripture gives us the specific virtues we are to add to our faith; the Holy Spirit provides the power to accomplish this directive. The results, we will have the knowledge of our Lord. Rather than focusing on doing things that will only make us "appear" like Him, God's word is clear. The higher priority is to make every effort to be like Him. The word instructs us to place our faith and trust in Him and posses His qualities in increasing measure. These qualities will give us everything we need for life.
2nd Peter 1:3 clearly states, "His Devine power (the Holy Spirit) has given us everything for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us."
We've all heard (and probably made) prayer requests to God to remove the burdens of trials and tribulations from our lives. It is normal human behavior to care more about our comfort than about the benefits gained through pain and suffering. However, what we are praying to be taken away is exactly what God provided to teach us perseverance, self-control, etc., to strengthen our character. It may be human nature to be more focused on comfort and doing, but we display evidence of possessing these virtuous characteristics when being thankful and praising God for what we are becoming through endurance. We are reminded in the verses that precede chapter 1: 5-8 "...if we do not possess these virtuous characteristics of the Father we have forgotten that we have been cleansed from past sins." We must not fall prey to spiritual amnesia and forget the debt Jesus Christ paid for us, the free gift of salvation. This is our motivation to "Be" what He called us to be.
These verses leave us with three important Biblical Truths: