Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words
How do we know if we’re effective Christians? We’ll look at II Peter 1.5ff for answers.
- Faith is a starting point (5). Believing in God is critical, but far from adequate (James 2.19).
- Add excellent character to faith (5). This word is αρετή, which describes someone with dedication to a flawless character, often in a civic setting. In this case, a character that reflects dedication to God.
- With great character, add knowledge (5). This is more than an intellectual understanding of something, it is an application of what we know. Gaining knowledge is important, but living it out is what makes us effective.
- With that knowledge we have to add self-control (6). This means restraining emotions, impulses, and desires.
- Self-control should naturally lead to endurance (6). This is the ability hold up under difficulty. It naturally follows self-control, a quality that gets us outside of self. Once we adopt a selfless and restrained character, we can more easily deal with life’s difficulties.
- With these qualities in place, we adopt godliness (6). It is interesting that godliness is this far down the list! Godliness comes after faith, excellent character, applied knowledge, self-control, and endurance.
- Godliness should naturally lead to affection for our church family (7). We can’t claim to be godly and not have affection for our own eternal family!
- With that affection must come a selfless kind of love (8). “If these qualities are yours and continue to grow, you will not be ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our lord Jesus Christ” (8).