“Because of this, make every effort to
add integrity to your faith;
and to integrity add knowledge;
to knowledge add self-control;
to self-control add endurance;
to endurance add godliness;
to godliness add Christian affection;
and to Christian affection add love.
If you have these qualities and they are increasing, it demonstrates that your knowledge about our Lord Jesus Christ is living and productive.”
2 Peter 1:5-8
Dear, honest Peter! This earthy, hard-working fisherman was quite the character….before and during his time with Jesus. Fishermen are pretty tough. They understand fish. They understand the feel in the air…the effect of the wind….and the sense of “they’re bitin’….let’s get out there!” And they like old, ratty clothes and often smell bad.
When Jesus disrupted Peter’s life, he had a lot of struggles trying to contain his “fisherman ways” as he was learning to walk with Jesus. And he learned – changed – SO much. Here we read an amazing list of what Peter had been learning and experiencing.
I’d like to reverse the order of his words, in a way of looking at why one characteristic needs the other. I have a feeling these were all coming from his own life experience as He learned to follow and walk with the Good Shepherd Jesus, and to see Jesus’ Divine Nature begin to reflect in his own old fisherman’s nature:
- Faith needs Integrity: Integrity grounds and solidifies Faith…Integrity keeps Faith honest;
- Integrity needs Knowledge: Knowledge adds factual substance to upright character;
- Knowledge needs Self-Control: You can know a lot, but without self-control, it may not be lived out in the day-to-day of life. Knowledge needs to translate into real life.
- Self-Control needs Endurance: It’s easier to control one’s self on those “good days”, but it becomes harder in the long-haul; (“I’ve given up chocolate” days)
- Endurance needs Godliness: “I can…I can…I can…” can be all about ME, not about God, or the people in my life.
- Godliness needs Christian Affection: Living “in the spiritual clouds” or in “righteous ways” can lose touch with the human needs for affection and emotional connections;
- Christian Affection needs Love: ..emotional connections… can go off in wrong directions rather quickly. Love is not an emotion….it’s the choices and actions that put the “other” above my own needs and priority. Love lays down one’s own life for the “other.”
Peter’s list is wonderful. They’re all good things…greatly needed to be lived out in this world.