His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and Godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For 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. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. - 2 Peter 1
Here God is teaching us one of the higher form of relationship with God and how we should grow in to likeness of his son through Holy Spirit. We are called to live a life that is free from the old ways of thinking and desire. The old life has his own mentality and its own way of understanding. The old nature of life cannot understand what it means to be under the guardian of the Holy Ghost and bear spiritual fruits for the glory of God. In the old way of life there is bitterness, gossip, hate, slander, dishonesty, lie, and many more.
We cannot inherit the things of God by becoming one of this. God is pure and holy. One cannot see him unless we become washed by the blood of Jesus who can remove every spot of sin in our lives and stay away from the old way of life.
We need to stay away from the desires of the flesh which is sinful and selfish by nature. No matter how good and kind we are by nature, we cannot produce the good fruits the Lord required from us unless we cling in to the great promises of God. If we can listen to these promises of God, we will find enough courage and hope to finish the race with boldness staying away from the corruption of the world and its selfish desires.
If we follow our desires as they are without the consultation of the Holy Ghost, we may find life difficult and hard to enjoy life and become fulfilled. Moreover, it is impossible to reach to the limit of satisfaction and happiness that one wants as the desires of the world are selfish by nature. In my opinion one can achieve the ecstasy of happiness if he/she can understand the will of God for his/her, and live life without being selfish.
That said we also learn from the above scripture that the most important thing in life is to live life with lots and lots of love for one another. It is beyond anything else in life. It could be beyond any kind of religious activity we may perform to sanctify ourselves.
It doesn’t mean that we don’t need to do them, but it means that we need to do everything if it pleases the Lord and benefits our brothers and sisters. Virtue: conformity of one's life and conduct to moral and ethical principles; uprightness;
Here the Bible is teaching us faith is just the beginning when it comes to reaching the level of life God expects from his children.
We need to have a faith that is practical and ethical of good moral value. If we say we have faith in God and we don’t practice it to develop a quality of relationship with him that will enable us to walk in righteousness then our faith need to grow.
Faith should enable us to bear spiritual fruit. The bible tells us if our faith is not accompanied by works, then it has no value.
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says h
has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. - James 2:14
Once we used our faith in doing good and living in the path of righteousness, the next step is to reach to the level of understanding and knowledge that the Lord wants us to reach.
The Bible tells us that without enough knowledge and wisdom to guide our steps, we may perish in our ignorance. Knowledge brings delight to the knower. The bible advise us to seek guidance and knowledge in the book of proverb. But if you don’t build your knowledge on the foundation of the word of God, it could be dangerous. All of our knowledge should be built on the love of God and our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in which we must be saved
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. - Hosea 4:6
All our knowledge also need to focus on how we could contribute ourselves for the good of the world. In other words it should be built on the virtue of kindness and compassion for one another.
What good does it make if I use my knowledge just to feel powerful and to scares others away? There will always be more innovation and more and more challenges to lead in this way. If we can lead others by becoming the servant of all, this kind of leadership will last forever. Knowledge comes with huge responsibility. It can make us arrogant or we can humble ourselves before the most fearful God. If we can use our knowledge for the benefit of others that is such a great wisdom that the bible is teaching us in this chapter.
The third step is self-control. One of the most important virtue that we all need to have is the spirit of self-control. Anger and temper is quite the opposite. If we say we have faith in God but do the very thing that God would not want us to do then our faith is not strong and mature. When it comes to self-control, we all can learn from our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. While he was going through the pain of the cross, he doesn’t say a word to his father or his accusers. Moreover, we can also learn the spirit of self-control from the book of Job.
The Bible says, "In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong"
Focus, patience, determination, courage and self-control are all parts of higher form of faith that has something to do with hope and love. One cannot pass the time of temptation, if one cannot have the self-control needed to pass the test. It has a lot to do with patience. Self-control has to do with resisting the pressure of now for the sake of the future.
Patience has to do with waiting on to the Lord without sizing and giving up hope. Patience has to do with the length or duration of time one has to wait to get what we love most. Self-control has to do with avoiding the temptation of sin to please the Lord. Patience has to do with persistence and endurance. Self-control has to do with enable one to withstand temptation. It has to do with discipline.
For example if one has a bad habit of drinking or smoking or shopping, then one can easily avoid by developing the self-control needed to do that. If one is tested many times with the spirit of sexual immorality of any kind, one can develop self-control to avoid the temptation of sin. The devil doesn’t want you to stop that because once you are a free person, he knows he is the first target from your list of vengeance. Therefore he would rather always affect you while you are weak and without full of knowledge.
One of the things that trouble us in life is the tem
tation that comes from within. As Christian we are always worried about how we should live our lives in relation to others. We are worried about our existence and how we survive in this world where there are so many wickedness and sin. We are worried because we don’t always want to make our Lord happy. Even though the world is one of the most difficult threat for our spiritual existence, but it is not the worst.
The devil can use anything to fight us and lose the very thing God wants us to experience - our victory in Christ. When the devil inserts little things like stubbornness, arrogance, self-righteousness, it can affect our relationship with the Lord the same way he can affect through external mechanism.
Therefore when we always feel angry or disobedient, think about some the things the Lord teaches as in his life and in his word. Think about how we should love each other in Christ. Think about serving others doesn’t mean we are the least of all but we are the leaders of all.
Then comes the next level of faith, which is Godliness.
This is where you force yourself in to the likeness of God in Christ Jesus. No one sees God and will never see him unless in the Spirit as God is the Spirit himself. But if we need to make a statement about God and who he is and how we should know him, then these questions are answered by knowing Jesus. Jesus said in John, that if we see Jesus, it is the same us we see God. The son of God reveals everything we need to know about God. His divine character, his compassion that he is father to all and he has loved all the same. It is more than anything to us to train us to be like Christ and to please him with that.
The Bible says that we can profit our lives and the life of other by attracting ourselves in to the image of God. Godliness is not like what some say we are little gods that someone has to praise us and that we should be respected. If we can think of ourselves to be something whereas the fact is we are nothing without Christ, we are fooling ourselves.
Godliness is to transform our selves in to the image of the character of God by become more like him day by day. Our father is rich in kindness and mercy. He is abundant in love and compassion. His anger is for a while but his forgiveness is for generations. If we can be like him in his nature, that is what to be Godliness.
The next level of our faith is brotherly kindness and love. Kindness precedes love. Love is a higher form of relationship. It is a strong form of all types of virtues, principles, commandments and laws. If we cannot develop self-control little by little we cannot reach to love. If we don’t acquire the knowledge and wisdom to serve one another, there won’t be love.
If we don’t transfer ourselves every day in the image of God, there is no love. But if we all practice all these basic principles of the levels of faith one can reach little by little, we will be taken to the highest form of our faith where we can say “my will is your will, my father.. You can lead me as you wish..” and that is called love
You see every day we say we love God but the truth is we just finished level 0 that is faith in Christ. Next time before you say the word, just think about which level of faith you are and let's all try to grow to the level where we can say with all boldness that we love God. God is faithful. He called us to have everlasting fellowship with him in Christ Jesus. He called us sons and daughter and not slaves.
He is calling us to grow in our faith to be full of love and kindness like him. He does that because he knows he is able to lead us and guide through it. And if we don’t depend on our strength and wisdom, surely he will lead us in to love from faith through his grace and little bit of obedience and faithfulness to him.
God bless you and give you grace to worship him with all humility and truthfulness in Jesus name. Amen