LINK: 2 Peter 1
About 2-3 years after writing his first letter, Peter wrote this second letter encouraging the believers.
In the first half of this chapter, Peter exhorts believers to be diligent in their growth. God has provided salvation, but the believer has a responsibility to practice godliness.
The second half of the chapter is a reminder of the validity of the gospel message they (we) received as well as the validity of all scripture available up to that point.
So what are these steps of growth Peter talks about?
faith = > moral excellence => knowledge => self-control => perseverance => godliness => brotherly kindness => love
None of these is a one-time activity or accomplishment. They aren't things that we must conquer sequentially. Faith is the starting point. While keeping the faith, we add moral excellence to our lives. While keeping faith and moral excellence, we add knowledge. We continue in faith, moral excellence, and knowledge and add self-control. And so on. These are things we can come back to on a daily basis. We should occasionally evaluate ourselves on our progress in all of these areas of life. This is a very tall order, and will take an entire lifetime of work. No one will reach perfection in this life, but everyone can be growing throughout this life.
And what is the result of this kind of growth? Peter says that if we have these qualities and they are increasing in our lives, then we are neither useless nor unfruitful. In other words, God will use us! We will bear fruit for Him. How's that for exciting!!!
On the other hand, if we lack these qualities, we are blind or short-sighted. We won't see God's work. We won't reap the benefit of having been purified from our sins, because we'll still be living in those sins.
I think it is definitely worth all the effort it takes to grow in order to be useful to God and produce fruit for Him!!
Lord, help us to be diligent in our growth, seeking to have more faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love in our lives. Thus may we be used by You and produce fruit for You until Jesus returns. Amen.