2 Peter 1:8-9 “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.”
About what things is Peter talking?
2 Peter 1:5-7 “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.”
So, by way of a spiritual checkup, we can see if these things are in us and abound. I can measure the amount of fruitfulness in my life by the presence of “these things.”
One exercise we teach in our ministry is “dissect and define,” whereby we take the definition of that word and place it where it appears in scripture to see if it aids us in understanding.
Virtue – Moral goodness
Knowledge – Learning; illumination of the mind
Temperance – Moderation, patience, calmness
Patience – A calm temper which bears evils without murmuring or discontent
Godliness – The outward expression of love and obedience for God
Brotherly kindness – Goodwill or benevolence to the brethren.
Charity – Putting the list mentioned above into action
If we lack in any of these areas, there is a form of blindness that has come over us. We cannot see because we’ve forgotten who we indeed are in Christ and neglect to remind ourselves of the position we hold.
What causes this blindness?
Laziness. A lack of motivation. Mediocrity. Feeding the flesh more than the spirit. The bondage of specific sins. This bondage can be quite an exhaustive list. But, at its core, they all become choices of the will, born out of our desires.
Virtue only exists to the extent I shun immorality.
Knowledge will be present only when I exercise my will to learn.
Temperance is my ability to quiet the voices of anger, jealousy, envy, unfairness, inequity, and outrage when a calm spirit is needed.
Patience becomes my ability to act, not react.
Godliness can be present when we ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do if He were here?”
Brotherly kindness becomes more natural when I realize that the very one I may have issues with is God’s child – just like me. How would I want to be treated in this situation?
Charity becomes more natural, the more I choose to exercise it. My first pastor and preacher used to say, “Be kind to everyone because everyone is having a hard time.”
What is more natural to us?
Is the way of sin easier than to live godly? Our former choir director used a phrase that applies here:
“Practice makes permanent.”
He did not say ‘Practice makes perfect.’ It does shed light on the fact that if I continue to choose right, it will become reflex.
Our dabbling in sin corrupts the practice of right. We become the god of our lives when we choose what we’ll do when we’ll do it, and for whom.
Our ability to listen for the Holy Spirit and follow His leading becomes a natural practice when my day begins and ends with inquiries for every situation. Sin will blind us from seeing the need, but choosing to do right on purpose sets our hearts on the path to begin adding ‘these things’ to our lives.
Sin blinds. Sin affects our memory. Sin will rob us of so many things. Peter knew firsthand about what and whom he was talking. Let us take his warning to heart and utilize this wisdom to change the outcome for us and others as well.