Being Fruitful – Part Two

ImageFor 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. (2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV)

Today I share part two of my thoughts regarding this passage in 2 Peter and the list the apostle gives us. I want to point out that lists are great and give us a road map of some things to strive for but the lists and the practices themselves are merely a way for us to grow in our relationship with God. If we use these types of lists merely as “checkoffs” in a box that we set up, then we really aren’t allowing God to use them to strengthen our life with Him. That is the whole purpose of spiritual discipline. I pray that if this list has touched and challenged you, that you will give it the respect it deserves but do not elevate it any higher than God Himself. With all of that said, we move on to the final three traits that Peter highlights…

1. Godliness. Peter is speaking of a reverent fear of the Lord. A magnification of Him in our hearts. Adoration that’s truly heart felt. Do I have this at all times? Do I make it known to others? Remember the first four in this list have to do with preparing our hearts for the outward work we are called to do. Moral excellence, knowledge of good and evil, self-control and patience all help to guide our speech and our actions and keep a check on our emotions which can run out of control if we are not careful. Now, Peter adds a Godly fear of the Lord with adoration. This leads to the cornerstone of what we should strive for in the final two traits…

2. Love for other Christians. Peter speaks of “brotherly affection” here. He is referring to our love for those in the church. As a pastor, I know full well I am called to love the church I lead even if at times, my emotions say otherwise. What about you? Do you love the people God has called you to serve? Can you say that you love the people even if there are some you may not like at times? This type of love is necessary if we are to take it, and go out into the world which brings us to the last trait.

3. A genuine love for everyone. “Brotherly affection” brings about a genuine love for people. We are called to witness to them. Do we, as Jonah did, secretly cry for their destruction, or, like Jeremiah, do we weep over the lost and do what we can to love them? This is perhaps the hardest trait of all and I think it’s not by accident that Peter finishes up his list with this one.

To love others is what we are called to do. This is not easy and sometimes, we may feel it to be an impossibility. Peter never said it was automatic. He told us here to work on it, to be adding to it. He tells us that if we do, we will NOT be unfruitful. In fact, later in the passage, he tells us we will not fall if we do this. I believe him. I pray you do to. Take this “list” and seek to grow in these areas. See if God doesn’t bless us!

Being Fruitful – Part Two

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