“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,” Ephesians 4:1
Salvation is not a “one prayer and done” experience. It’s a revolutionary call to live life as God originally intended from the beginning. Our struggle in life as a Christian comes from our cravings for sin and our call to godliness. But there is good news!
“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,” 2 Peter 1:3
Through God’s divine power we have access to everything we need to live a godly life, which comes from a knowledge of God. This power is provided to us as we study the Bible.
In 2 Peter 1, Peter gives seven characteristics to supplement our faith. The word supplement means to furnish, to provide at one’s own expense. Faith is a gift from God, but we have a responsibility to build upon the foundation of faith with spiritual characteristics.
The first discipline Peter mentions is virtue.
Virtue is defined as goodness or moral excellence. What directs your moral compass? Salvation provides us with a definite position regarding good and evil. The lines are no longer gray but black and white. Our morality is not established by culture, political preference, nor public opinion but the Bible.
The next discipline we are to build upon faith is knowledge.
This refers to the study of God’s word for our transformation, not just information. Hosea 4:6a says, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge,”. Faith declines in our life, not because of sin, that’s a by-product of decreasing faith. Faith declines when we stop engaging God’s word. Romans 10:17 says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing the words of Christ.”
The third discipline is self-control.
Genuine knowledge cannot exist apart from self-control. Without self-control, we yield to our carnal desires and popular opinion. Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit, and it’s the Holy Spirit who enables this discipline in our life. The closer we remain to the Holy Spirit the stronger self-control becomes. Self-control affects every area of our life.
The fourth discipline is steadfastness/endurance.
The need for endurance is critical on our faith journey. Not only does the world around us oppose spiritual living but our flesh fights us every inch of the way.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Galatians 6:9 tells us two important truths about our spiritual development.
#1 Weariness is seasonal.
The battle between your flesh and your spirit will take a toll on you. It will happen. Remember, a season has a beginning and an ending. How long we remain in that season depends on what actions we take.
#2 You will feel like quitting.
If you’ve felt like that or you are feeling like that, you’re not alone. Galatians 6 alerts us of this but encourages us to press-on because we will reap a harvest of the good we sow.
We give up too soon.
We settle for less than what God promises.
We miss out on seeing God’s deliverance directly.
The fifth discipline is godliness.
God has given us everything we need for godliness, yet godliness must be pursued. Godliness is defined as “to live a life that is like God.” Godliness is the goal of every believer. There is no knowledge outside of the Word of God capable of producing godliness.
We will merge the sixth and seventh discipline because they complement each other, brotherly affection and love.
Brotherly love is an instruction to treat those in the body of Christ, the church, as family, specifically the family you like, not the family you have to put up with during the holidays. We are not to treat the body of believers as strangers.
Love is to be the ruling factor in life. John 13:35 says that people will know we belong to God by our love for one another. 1 John 3:10 says that love for our brother identifies us as belonging to Christ.
These seven disciplines are a process. Spiritual training is a work in progress. Peter says that these characteristics are to be increasing in our life, this is training. He states by doing this we will avoid being ineffective and unfruitful. It’s not what we know, information, but how we live, transformation, that matters.