Read 2 Peter 1:5-8 (ESV)
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. 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.
How are these verses like a shot in the arm for a believer who feels stuck in their faith?
So you put your faith in Jesus Christ. Praise God! But now what? Does your faith feel stagnant? Do you worry that you aren’t making any kind of difference for the kingdom of Christ? If so, Peter has the prescription for you.
In today’s passage, he says to supplement your faith with the qualities that mark you as a Christian. I like to think of these as multivitamins for your spiritual life. As Christians, we definitely need a steady diet of the Word of God and an active prayer life. But that’s not all we need to be spiritually healthy.
Our faith is a lot like getting physically fit. I can study and learn all there is to know about healthy meal plans and effective exercise routines. I can truly believe that those methods have the power to change my physical health and appearance. But if I do not put them into practice, my faith in that fitness program will be ineffective and useless. I won’t reach my goals. I won’t see any results. Nothing will change for me.
In the same way, if we do not put our faith into practice, Peter says we will be “ineffective” and “unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Now, we know that our works do not save us. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8). We don’t work for our faith but we do need to put our faith to work!
Peter says that we should supplement our faith with these active qualities: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. He says that possessing these qualities and growing in them is a mark of a healthy, useful Christian faith.
But how? First, we need to ask God to cultivate these qualities in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is the one who empowers us and enables us to grow and change. He can transform us! But that doesn’t mean we have no responsibilities. It is our job to participate in the process.
Friends, be encouraged. Peter said these qualities are to be “increasing” in us. Just as we don’t become physically fit overnight, spiritual fitness is a lifelong journey. No matter how much we improve, there will always be room for more growth. But we won’t see any results and our faith won’t be useful for God’s kingdom if we are just sitting on our spiritual couches all day eating junk food.
So, take your spiritual vitamins and put your faith to work! Invest time and energy into learning and growing in your Biblical knowledge and in the foundations of the Christian faith. Strive to live your life with moral virtue and godly character. Discipline yourself to exhibit self-control and be steadfast and faithful to God in your daily decisions. Seek fellowship with other believers and challenge yourself to find ways to express God’s love to those around you. When you do, your faith will come alive!
Lord, I want to have a fruitful and effective faith life. I don’t want to be deficient and spiritually unhealthy. Keep growing me in You so that I can be useful to You. Empower and strengthen me. Help me to become more spiritually fit. Amen.