Journal Entry // November 26, 2021
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 1:8 ESV
Virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. These are the qualities, which supplement our faith, that Peter is referencing in this verse. These qualities should be mine and should be increasing in my life. Why is this important? These qualities enable me to live an effective and fruitful life for Jesus.
This verse starts off with a counter-cultural statement in Christian circles. Peter informs us that these qualities are to supplement faith. So much so that the qualities are to be mine, personally, and increasing in my life and walk. A lot of what is taught or talked about and functionally lived out in Christian life is that my faith is enough and that’s all I need. That doctrine and knowledge are unnecessary, since all we need is faith to believe. I feel this pull in my heart at times. It’s much more simple to just live the way I see fit and make decisions based on my personal set of rules and morality. Even if my morality lines up fairly well with scripture. I want to live in my flesh wrapped up in my faith.
The problem with this is that this is simply another mask that I wear in front of people. It’s a simple faith to identify with Christ and his people in the same manner I identify with my favorite football team. I wear the team colors, I stay up to date on the latest scores and developments, I may even participate in cheering and celebrating victory over the other team. My flesh wants me to treat faith like this. Put on my faith gear and go to church. Put on my faith gear and go to Bible study. But keep it there… at a distance.
Peter is telling me that these qualities are to be mine. I am to own them. These are to be a part of who I am. These qualities supplementing my faith will enable me to be effective and fruitful in this life. Not just well meaning with good intentions. That’s what I want. I want to see Christ working in my heart and mind to transform me. To begin preparing me for heaven. These qualities are the points of growth and maturity in faith as they increase in my life. I don’t simply wake up one day and now I am virtuous. No, by faith I work to see virtue increasing in my heart every day.
Effective and fruitful is the result, but it is a specific type of result. These increasing qualities enable me to be effective and fruitful in the knowledge of Jesus. This doesn’t necessarily mean effective and fruitful in the eyes of people around me. Even well meaning people of the faith. It simply means that I will be effective and fruitful in knowing and understanding Jesus. Conforming my heart and mind to be like his. Living each moment by faith in understanding. Transforming me so that each and every fiber of my being is wholly given over to Christ.
How do I do this? One step at a time, engaging my heart with the word of Christ. Reading, studying, meditating, and engaging with the Bible. God’s word is where these qualities will be planted in my heart. God’s world is where these qualities will be worked out in my heart. I am to breathe them in and breath them out. Taking in his truth to transform me and sharing this transforming truth with others to work out my faith. And in all of this… I’ll see Jesus more clearly and he will draw near to me in intimacy.