If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, your roots are firmly planted in the Lord. The question then becomes are you growing in the Lord? Are your roots sinking deep into the soil and are your branches reaching up toward the sun? Are you producing good fruit?
In the book of 2 Peter we find a list of qualities that should be inside of each and every Christian believer. Peter tells us that if these qualities are missing you have lost your way.
2 Peter 1:9 (NASB)
“For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.”
These qualities are listed in 2 Peter 1:5-8. These qualities are an indication that you are growing in the Lord. Study each one carefully and consider how you might feed, water, and cultivate these attributes to continue in a healthy growth pattern.
2 Peter 1:5-8 (NASB)
“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence,”
Jesus wants us to follow Him, not accept his gift and then sit down. Christianity is not a passive endeavor. You have to diligently pursue your walk with the Lord every hour of every day.
“in your faith supply moral excellence,”
As a believer you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ and accepted the gift of eternal life. Your next step is to turn from your sin and seek moral excellence. We live in a world that continually pushes us toward compromise. I don’t believe compromise is a form of moral excellence. A true follower of Jesus should stand firm in their understanding of His teaching.
“and in your moral excellence, knowledge,”
The only way this world can push you around is if you are unsure of your understanding. This is why you need to continually be studying the Word of God. The more pieces of the puzzle you have put together in your mind, the clearer the picture you will have of what it means to follow Jesus. You can’t stand firm if you don’t know precisely how your foundation is constructed.
“and in your knowledge, self-control,”
Not only is this world pushing us in all the wrong directions, we also have a sinful nature that has a tendency to go off in the wrong direction if not held in check. As a follower of Jesus Christ you are to maintain control of your desire for excess. Keep all things in moderation.
“and in your self-control, perseverance,”
When you trust in the Lord you develop a peaceful patience that willingly waits for His promises to materialize. You should be developing your spiritual endurance as you are growing in the Lord. Followers of Jesus are not complainers expecting instant gratification – they are satisfied knowing they are in good hands.
“and in your perseverance, godliness,”
The ultimate goal of every believer should be to be like Jesus. This is not something we will attain in this life but it is a mission we should center our existence on. Through our diligence, moral excellence, knowledge of the Word, self-control, and perseverance we are in a constant pursuit of godliness.
“and in your godliness, brotherly kindness,”
If we truly seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, it’s not hard to envision how we should treat each other. The stress of everyday life sometimes makes it difficult to be kind in all situations. The competitiveness of work and school can disrupt our desire to be kind. We know we are growing in the Lord when we respond to every situation with love.
“and in your brotherly kindness, love.”
Loving God with all your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself is the central mission of a follower of Jesus Christ. Responding to every situation with love is not always easy. This is one area that sometimes takes more self-control than others. The true test of your loving heart is how your treat those who are difficult to love.
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Are your roots sinking deep into the soil and are your branches reaching up toward the sun? Are you producing good fruit? Are you diligently pursuing moral excellence, a deeper knowledge of the Word of God, self-control, perseverance, and godliness? Do you display a kind and loving heart in all situations? This is the model Peter has challenged us to pursue. There’s nothing easy about being a follower of Jesus Christ. Our walk with the Lord is a lifetime journey. If we continuously pursue these qualities we can be certain we are properly growing in the Lord.
2 Peter 3:18 (NASB)
“Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”
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