We’ve been studying II Peter in church over the past few weeks. This week, some of the verses we focused on were II Peter 1:3-9. And they got me thinking, so I thought I’d share.
“3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence” (NLT).
Wow! We have everything we need to live a godly life! God gave it to us, and the way to access it is by getting to know Jesus! How do we do this? Primarily through spending time with Him (Scripture reading, prayer) and with His people (fellowship, discipleship, corporate worship – specifically listening to the preaching and teaching of godly leaders).
“4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires” (NLT).
What are these promises? Freedom from sin when we repent and turn to Jesus, eternal life in Heaven with Him, glorious fellowship and union with Christ Himself, etc.
“5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises” (NLT).
Don’t forget about the promises! And in response, take some effort in your Christian life! It’s not necessarily a walk in the park. The Christian life is often compared to a race or a journey. Neither one is entered lightly.
Verse 5 continued: “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone” (NLT).
Sometimes this list is referred to as stepping stones of faith. That works too. I like to think of it in this way: supplements. We all know what they are and many of us take them. They’re typically vitamins and minerals that help us reach our adequate needs for vitality in our physical lives. So, even though faith in God is our substance, we’re told to fill in the gaps with things like moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (things that are daily requirements for the Christian). Here’s one way to look at it:
Essential “Spiritual Vitamins”:
- Vitamin E: Excellence
- Vitamin K: Knowledge
- Vitamin C: Control
- Vitamin A: Affection
Essential “Spiritual Minerals”:
(Note: 100% of daily requirements for all “spiritual vitamins and minerals” can only be found in God!)
“8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins” (NLT).
Just like making sure we reach adequate nutritional values brings vitality to our physical life, so paying attention to our daily spiritual needs yields spiritual vitality. Conversely, as undernutrition yields physical problems (abnormalities, diseases, lack of mental acuteness, etc.), so lack of attention to spiritual needs brings spiritual problems (spiritual blindness and other “heart” problems, increased vulnerability to sin and Satan, etc.).