For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We all have seasons where we feel “ineffective and unproductive” when it comes to our faith. Some gauge their faith by their outward successes, the number of people introduced to Jesus, the number of days spent serving the poor and needy, their attendance at church. Some gauge their faith by how they feel, closer or farther from God, wise or foolish, excited by their obedience or like it is a struggle. However we gauge our faith, every person has bad seasons.
I like that this is Peter sharing this. Talk about seasons! From Jesus’ right hand man (just 3 paragraphs later Peter is talking about his time with Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration) to “Satan’s tool” (Matt. 16:23), from “the Rock on which [Jesus] will build [His] church” (Matt. 16:18) to denying Jesus to His face (Luke 22:54ff). Peter knew about seasons of power and seasons of “ineffective and unproductive” ministry. And what was his remedy for these seasons?
“Faith… goodness… knowledge…self-control… perseverance… godliness… mutual affection… love.” Paul had a list similar to this which we all know as the Fruit of the Spirit. But for Paul, these are attitudes born out of our proximity to Jesus. For Peter, these are activities we need to work on and make a part of our daily routine. Much has been made about whether our holy behaviors and attitudes are “done” or are “grown in us”, but regardless, these are the ways that mark a follower of Jesus.
Take some time today and go over each one. How are you doing with each? Any you need to work on? Any you are doing pretty well with? Anyone who can help you grow these in your life?