We all like to feel that we have “arrived”. This is the feeling that we get when we have reached our goal or accomplished something we set out to do. We sit back, put our feet up and admire our accomplishment. This is a very rewarding time in life. It feels good to reach our goal and we should be satisfied.
Yet when we reach a goal, isn’t it also good then to set another one? This keeps us striving and working towards something. It would be unhealthy for us just to sit with our feet up after we reached our first goal. So we set the next one and keep on trying.
Our spiritual life is no different. The apostle Peter takes us down this line of thinking:
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to 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.” (2 Peter 1:3-8, NIV)
Now, first of all, what is “this very reason” Peter is referring to? He is talking about our salvation. The great gift of God that He has promised us, eternal life. Peter refers to it as escaping the corruption of the world. We are rescued from the punishment our evil desires will inevitably lead to.
And because God has rescued us from our sin, through the sacrifice of His son, we need to respond to Him. It is not enough to sit back contentedly knowing that we no longer have the specter of eternal punishment hanging over us. We need to move on and keep growing in our faith. The apostle Paul tells us we are to “continue to work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). We are not to rest on what has happened before. We are not to take it easy or be satisfied. Once we have faith then we need to start to grow in our faith and continue to grow.
So being a follower of Christ involves a first step of believing in him. Then we need to work at becoming more like him and living our lives in a way that pleases him. And this is something Peter urges us to do, not just a little bit or just on Sunday morning. We need to make every effort to build and develop these qualities in our lives.
What a challenge! How many of us can sit back and say we are satisfied with the goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love that we find in our lives? If we are really honest with ourselves, do we see all these qualities in great abundance in our lives? Do we still have some growing to do? You can be sure we all do!
Let’s all take a minute now, even as you read this to see what God is saying to you. Where do you need to grow? What can you do about it? First, pray. Pray God will reveal areas of your life where you need to develop. Pray God will show you how to address these issues. Then you need to do something. Make every effort to grow in your spiritual life.