2 Peter 1:3-8 (NIV)
God’s power has given us everything we need to lead a godly life. All of that has come to us because we know the One who chose us. He chose us because of his own glory and goodness. He has also given us his very great and valuable promises. He did it so you could share in his nature. He also did it so you could escape from the evil in the world. That evil is caused by sinful longings. So you should try very hard to add goodness to your faith. To goodness, add knowledge. To knowledge, add the ability to control yourselves. To the ability to control yourselves, add the strength to keep going. To the strength to keep going, add godliness. To godliness, add kindness to believers. And to kindness to believers, add love. You should possess more and more of those good points. They will make you useful and fruitful as you get to know our Lord Jesus Christ better.
This passage is tremendous for every Christian. We are God chosen and to us he has given us everything we need to lead godly lives and glorify him. This is a little bit like a friendship or marriage where two people choose each other. God chooses US… we choose GOD. We start a relationship (walk) with Jesus at that instance.
As a result of this walk with Jesus, God is giving us a ‘share in his nature’. I had to go back to the Greek on this phrase and investigate it a bit and this really is point us to being an active participant in being God-Like or godliness. This blessing God imparts on us provides us with the ability to ‘escape from the evil in the world’
Okay, so that’s God investment in this relationship (walk with Jesus). But like any relationship it is a two sided endeavor. If one side of that relations fails to be ‘Active’ in the relationship then stagnation comes into play. The relationship suffers from the lack of nurturing when either side fails to contribute. So starting with verse five we see the ingredient build this relationship and allow us to grow. Grow closer to our Lord and savior.
Goodness: In almost everything we do in our interactions with people we are around or interact with throughout our day we are faced with a decision we make regarding how we are going to behave. The first ingredient is goodness. When faced with an interaction I can choose to be wary, detached, critical or spiteful. I can also choose to be optimistic, carrying, concerned, and engaged; which all encompass goodness. Be willing to listen. Be eager to lend assistance when we are able. Be willing to go that extra mile be a positive influence in the lives of those around you.
Knowledge: The Greek word ‘Gnosis’ points toward a deeper more perfect and enlarged knowledge of Christianity. So knowledge would encompass your worship, devotionals, study and reading of the word of God, as well as sharing the same with your brother’s and sister’s in the Lord.
Self-Control (‘the ability to control yourselves’): How often do you say: ‘I just couldn’t help myself!’, ‘I can’t resist.’ etc. Now what you are referencing there isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when all that drive us is our desire to have something, do something, be something; we need to consider what our motivations are that drive that desire. Self-control isn’t not doing, having or seeking certain things; it is the consideration of these pursuits and making a right choice to act on those desires that are in keeping with our faith, in keeping with our understanding of our wellbeing.
I desire to attend worship at my church. I desire peach pie. I want a new car. Acting on all of these desires may well be keeping with self-control, but in each case there could be factors that make acting on them an example of a lack of self-control. You and the Holy Spirit will be the key input. The knowledge talked about prior to this gives you the information to make a good decision to act or not act, the Holy Spirit guides us when we lack that knowledge. The more we practice self-control the easier it becomes. The closer our walk.
Tenacity (strength): Again I went back to the Greek to investigate just exactly what the root word is addressing and found the word ‘Hupomone’ which as a definition of: “steadfastness, constancy, endurance in the NT the characteristic of a man who is not swerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings.”
You can see this isn’t just a laundry list of things that the writer is tossing out, there is a pattern here that takes these ingredients and builds one on the next. So once we’ve established ‘sefl-control’ we are being told to be consistent in that self-control; regardless of all that is around us telling us what to do. Take that knowledge, use self-control, and remain strong! And our footsteps are a little closer to Jesus!
Godliness: From the word ‘Eusebeia’; “reverence, respect, piety towards God.” Be a living sanctuary to God. I love how this tells us ‘piety towards God’ in the definition of this word. Not going about with a Bible slung under your arm for all to see or making a show of your prayer before meals in your local restaurant. No, piety toward God. Always remembering, we as Christians are constantly in the presence of God (he’s everywhere), our brother Jesus walks beside us, and the Holy Spirit is within us. This calls for reverence, respect; godliness.
Kindness to believers: Back to the source of this in the Greek we find this stresses brotherly love, affection, goodwill, benevolence to other Christians. That extra measure of ‘goodness’ that we are drawn to just by being in the presents of other believers.
Love: This is the big one! Love in the Bible is shown in so many different forms it is important to understand which form the writer is talking about. Here it is Agape. The selfless love without condition of a spiritual nature. You’ve seen it you’ve felt it. The Holy Spirit inside you interacts with this love. You can feel the presents of this love.
And at last we are to the eighth verse and read “You should possess more and more of those good points. They will make you useful and fruitful as you get to know our Lord Jesus Christ better.”
You should possess more and more of these. It is an active exercise daily, moment to moment, ever adding and ever growing. They will make us ‘useful and fruitful’ as we grow closer got Jesus and we have that closer walk with our Lord and savior!
I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.
Here in this passage we see exactly how to have that closer walk with Jesus.