“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life… In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises… work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen.”
(II Peter 1:3,5,10)
Thoughts… Every authentic, healthy follower of Christ wants to grow spiritually. That’s usually right up there at the top of everyone’s wish list. But just how does one experience spiritual growth? That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it?
For most, spiritual growth is a mystery. It is vague, not defined, something that is felt, not measured. If it is to happen at all, we see ourselves as the passive recipients of a divine agent that catalyzes growth rather than as the catalyst ourselves. In other words, our development into deeper spirituality, stability, maturity, and Christ-likeness is more up to God than it is to us.
Yet according to Peter, there is to be a pretty active partnership in this business of growth. God is the senior partner, you the junior. And here’s the deal: God has done his part in setting you up for spiritual growth. Notice what verse 3 says:
“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” Did you see the word “everything” in that verse. In the Greek, that means “everything!” God has set you up, my friend, to be a growing, godly believer. Me, too!
Now it is up to us to supplement what God has so graciously and completely done in order to move along the continuum toward deeper spiritually. So what is our growth assignment then? Look at verse 5-8:
“Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Notice the seven key catalytic agents to growth that Peter mentions: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brother affection, and love.
Very simply, when there is a choice between that which is morally pure and anything else, guess what? You and I have to choose moral purity! God can’t choose for us. He can strengthen us and prompt us, but we must make the choice. Added to moral purity must be Biblical knowledge, which frankly doesn’t come without regular meditation on God’s Word. Furthermore, purity and knowledge are safeguarded by self-control. Self-control is what teaches you to say “no” to anything that would hinder, hurt or destroy God’s work in you or in another. (See Titus 3:11-13). Adding to self-control is the exercise of patient endurance. Truthfully, there will be times when the only thing we can do is to grit our teeth and hang in there! Endurance must be connected to godliness or it is nothing more than stubbornness. Godliness means to think and act like God; it is to practice the presence of God at all times. Then along with godliness comes kindness and care for our brothers. Finally, to wrap everything into that which causes growth, we must express Christ-like love for all people at all times.
Purity, learning, self-control, endurance, godliness, kindness and love are the things that you can and must do to grow. And they are the very things that will make you more productive in your faith and useful to your Lord.
That’s your assignment today. So get out there and “grow” for it!
Prayer… Lord, thanks for giving me everything I need to grow into a thriving, useful, God-pleasing saint. I have no excuses not to grow. So today, I will do my part to supplement what you have already done for me.
One More Thing… “A soul may be in as thriving a state when thirsting, seeking and mourning after the Lord as when actually rejoicing in Him; as much in earnest when fighting in the valley as when singing upon the mount.” —John Newton