Friday, July 22, 2016

Add to Your Faith

Encouragement for your daily walk with God 

God has given us everything we need to live godly in this world [see 2 Peter 1:3]. When some people hear or read that, they think nothing is expected of them; that God will do everything for them. That idea might be expressed by the motto: “Let go and let God.” Interestingly, when biblical characters “let go and let God,” they were still actively engaged. Take Gideon, for example. He “let go and let God,” but then had to fight the Midianites with 300 instead of 10,000 men. I think if we were to ask him for a motto, it would be: “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!”

There are many struggles in life, battles if you will, in which Christ followers must make every effort to equip themselves with godly virtues. That was Peter’s advice [command in Greek] to his flock. He wrote about it in his second letter to them, making a list of things they needed to continually add to their faith in order to “never stumble” (from the Greek, ptaio, to fall).

The first on the list is “moral excellence.” It comes from the Greek, arete, which can also mean, virtue. In ancient literature, it referred to the performance of heroic deeds. It also referred to a quality that made someone or something to stand out. For example, an arete sword was one that was sharp and well balanced. An arete horse was one with endurance. An arete soldier was one who followed orders and was effective in battle.

Moral excellence or virtue is not an attitude, it is an action. Some commentators suggest it has the idea of “energy” — the energy which produces power to do excellent things. We need look no further than Christ for an example of that. He “went around doing good…” [Acts 10:38].

Be stedfast in your pursuit of moral excellence. And you would be wise to follow Paul’s instruction to the Thessalonica Christ followers to “excel still more” [1 Thessalonians 4:1]. God’s provision does not preclude our responsibility.

In view of all this, giving all diligence, add to your faith moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge. 2 Peter 1:5