Eight Ways to Increase our Effectiveness in Christ - Part Two
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.
Last week we began our look at 2 Peter 1. We studied about how our faith in Jesus provides the foundation upon which we build everything else. If you missed that lesson, you can read it here.
When was the last time you heard the word virtue used outside of a Bible study? It isn’t a word we hear often in social conversation. Yet, we are called to develop and live out this quality. What does virtue mean? In a study of the Greek word used in the New Testament, it appears five times in four verses. Two of them are in 2 Peter 1:5. The others are in Philippians 4:8, I Peter 2:9, 2 Peter 1:3.
The word conveys excellence. It was used in many Greek writings during New Testament times, resulting in a certainty of its original meaning. The primary definition is any particular moral excellence, modesty, or purity.
The way we live life, conduct business, complete work, fulfill obligations, and care for family and ourselves should be carried out with our best efforts. Whatever God calls us to do, we should attempt to do it well and completely. We do this not only because it is for God, but it also provides a testimony to those around us of the importance to do all we do as unto the Lord.
Think of how our jobs can be a witness for God. If we do our assignments and responsibilities with excellence, our supervisor doesn’t have to worry about us getting our jobs done. That person knows when assigned a task, we will get it done correctly and timely. When they know they can rely on us, it provides a witness that often stands out.
Or think of the banker who granted us a loan. Faithfully we make that payment every month on time without bouncing a check. The lender knows they can rely on us to follow through on our promise to repay the loan in accordance with the documents we signed.
Take the pastor at church. Does he know that we will be there for the volunteer position we promised to fill? Are we prepared and on time to complete our assignment? Can he rely on us to guard the words of our mouth and only speak encouraging, uplifting words to those around us?
These are a few examples of how we can live out the excellency of moral character - virtue. Can you think of ways this applies to your circumstances? What can you do to demonstrate moral excellency in your life? I challenge you this week to look for ways to demonstrate virtue in the everyday things of life.
Next week we will study the third quality that supplements our faith – knowledge. I hope you will join me.