Monday, 29 August 2016

Living As God Intends You To Live

2 Peter 1:5
'But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith...'

Peter who spent around three years with Jesus,
learned some things from the Lord that he later put into letters for the benefit of the church. Peter writes, '...giving all diligence to add to your faith...' for a very good reason. God expects His people to grow spiritually; the following text tells us how.

'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.

Once we're born again we're not supposed to stay spiritual infants all our lives, though some do! The truth is, God has plans to grow you and I into full adulthood and  2 Peter 1:5-9 is the blue print that Peter left us just before he was to die for the Lord. Here's how we're supposed to grow:

1) Add to your faith Virtue
What is virtue? 'Virtue (Latin: virtus, Ancient Greek: ἀρετή "arete") is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being,'-Wikipedia.

2) Add to your faith knowledge.
This is talking about the knowledge of spiritual things which can only come from the word of God. Time spent in the scriptures will bring much growth in knowledge that will effect every area of your life.

3) Add to your faith self control.
This is self explanatory: Do not give yourself over to loving the world and all its sin; be diligent to bring your body under control. '...but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy," 1 Peter 1:16.

4) Add to your faith perseverance.
It has been said that our life in Christ can be compared to a marathon race which takes tremendous endurance to reach the end. 'Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him,' James 1:12. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved," Matthew 24:13.

5) Add to your faith Godliness.
God expects His children to grow up and act like His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. 'For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters,' Romans 8:29. '...but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head, Christ...' Ephesians 4:15.

If you don't know what Godliness looks like then get into the four gospels and study the life of Jesus. Read and re-read these four books, and you'll soon come to understand Godliness.

6) Add to your faith, brotherly kindness.
In other words, treat the brethren with respect and gentleness, and treat others as you would want to be treated, Matthew 7:12.

7) Add to your faith love.
We're talking about the unconditional love of God here. This kind of love crowns everything we do in the wonderful kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. Without such love we are nothing. Paul writes, '
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have absolute faith so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing,' 1 Corinthians 13:2.

Dear reader these virtues may seem impossible to attain while here on this earth, but because we have the Greater One (the Holy Spirit) living on the inside we can attain such lofty expectations. It is Jesus Himself who empowers us through the Holy Spirit to grow in these virtues.

Now here's the kicker: Being obedient to the instruction laid out in 2 Peter 1:5-9 brings promise of abundant reward. '...for if you do these things you will never stumble;  for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,' 2 Peter 1:10-11.

Be diligent, therefore dear reader, to add to your faith these seven virtues. For in doing so you will not only begin to look like Jesus, but you'll be guaranteed an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God. 

Have a blessed day
Paul
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