- Chris Crosby
Eight Ways to Increase Our Effectiveness in Christ-Part One
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 1:5-9
How often are we presented with two choices, uncertain of which to select? We may experience dread at making these decisions for fear of picking the wrong one or missing out on something better.
The passage from 2 Peter 1 offers two options as well. Do we choose effectiveness and fruitfulness in our walk with God, or do we walk in blindness and forgetfulness at what He has done for us? The choice seems obvious; however, it requires us to act to obtain the better outcome.
If we like option one of living an effective, fruitful life we must develop and grow in the qualities of faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. The beauty of the passage is that as we increase in our development of these qualities, our knowledge of Jesus will yield a fruitful and effective life. It never says we arrive and mark them as accomplished. Pursuing these qualities requires a life-long commitment to their development. If we choose to not pursue these qualities, the passage says we walk in darkness and lead ineffective, unfruitful lives.
But how are we to develop and increase these qualities? A logical first step would be to understand what these words mean and then how we can apply them. Over the next several blogs, we will dig into these traits in more depth.
Notice that the foundation of this list is our faith, and it is to this we supplement or add the other qualities. Faith is the trust we place in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus creates the foundation upon which all other aspects of life are built.
Even this faith is given to us by God as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” God gives us all the materials needed to begin this journey of character development.
As noted in a previous blog, faith is something we develop and strengthen over time like a muscle. We have all the faith we need; however, we need to use it to make it stronger. (Flex Those Muscles (womenseekingwisdom.org) Romans 10:17 tells us how to grow our faith, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Spending time in God’s Word develops and grows our faith. But reading isn’t enough. We must take what we read and apply it in our lives to see the growth happen.
I recently heard a comment that said it well. It went something like this, “Trials don’t make us stronger. Applying God’s Word in the middle of the trial is what strengthens us.” We all face difficulties and not everyone comes out of them stronger. However, those who cling to God and apply Scripture during the challenging times do strengthen their faith. Strengthening our faith in these trials makes them worthwhile.
Do you lean into God, studying His Word and applying it to your life, especially during difficult times? If so, you are getting stronger! You may not notice it at first but keep at it and you will be able to look back and see how big those faith muscles have grown.
Next week we will study the second quality that supplements our faith – virtue. I hope you will join me.