- Chris Crosby
Eight ways to increase our effectiveness in Christ-Part Eight
2 Peter 1:5-9 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.
Let’s continue our look at 2 Peter 1:5-9. So far, we studied about how our faith in Jesus provides the foundation upon which we build everything else and added an understanding of what virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, and brotherly kindness mean. If you missed those lessons, you can read them here: faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, and brotherly kindness.
The final quality we should add is love. The love mentioned in this verse is unconditional love which is the highest form of love we can experience. The Greek word is agape, which is the perfect love God demonstrates toward us. What does this love look like in action?
To focus on unconditional love, I often turn to I Corinthians 13. This helps me see what agape love looks like in action. A pastor suggested putting my name in where love was used in verses 4-7 to personalize the passage. “[Your name] is patient and kind; [Your name] does not envy or boast; she is not arrogant or rude. She does not insist on her own way; she is not irritable or resentful; she does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [Your name] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
I recommend trying this with your own name inserted. Are you challenged by this exercise? Each time I do this, I realize I still have many opportunities for growth in demonstrating that type of love to others. However, we are called to live that quality and the rewards are well worth the effort. Would our world look different if more of us practiced this kind of love?
As we complete this series on adding qualities that increase our effectiveness for Christ, we have challenged ourselves in eight different ways. I would love to hear where you have grown and been challenged through this study.