In 2019 I returned to a time honored tradition and set for myself 4 New Year’s Resolutions. I batted .500 going 2 for 4 but actually felt like it was a worthy endeavor. I came close but didn’t quite get there with my two misses (I know, horseshoes and hand grenades). So I think I’ll do it again this year. How about you? Might I suggest for your resolution (or one of your resolutions) 2 Peter 1? I have spent a lot of time in 2 Peter 1:3-8 in 2019, preaching in and through it at two different churches as well as teaching it in several Bible studies. You see 2 Peter 1:5-8 contains a Spiritual Growth Chart – a list of qualities that God wants us to add to ourselves. We are encouraged to make every effort toward growing spiritually by adding these qualities to our lives. So here’s my suggestion, read 2 Peter 1:4-8 and evaluate how far you have come in this Spiritual Growth Chart. Then, determine to add the next level to who you are in 2020. If you want to add two or three in 2020 – I won’t fight with you about that – we all grow at different rates. But at least commit to growing spiritually by adding one spiritual quality from 2 Peter 1 in 2020. Below is the verse followed by an explanation of each quality. Happy New Year and a joy-filled growth spurt to you!
A Spiritual Growth Chart
For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:4-8 NASB)
Faith – Many think of faith as believing. Faith is actually believing and trusting. Believing is about facts trusting is about reliance. You have faith when you combine believing that something is true with relying on that truth in your circumstances.
Moral Excellence – This is a natural next step after one places their faith in the Lord. Agreeing with His definition of virtue (morality) and receiving it for yourself.
Knowledge – Knowledge is not the end of our spiritual growth. As a matter of fact knowledge without application has little value. However, knowledge is a crucial component to growing spiritually. Knowledge comes from effort and is gained by reading, studying, meditating on and memorizing the Scriptures.
Self-control – Self-control takes place in your soul. Your soul receives information from the physical realm and the spiritual realm. Self-control is hearing from the Lord and from the flesh and choosing the Lord.
Perseverance – Perseverance is not swerving away from the Lord regardless of your circumstances (bad or good). Perseverance takes place when we prefer spiritual blessings to physical or worldly gratification.
Godliness – The word translated “Godliness” means awe and devotion. “Boy that is a godly person” indicates that one’s actions reflect awe and devotion to God. To be godly is to reflect awe and devotion to God in ones actions and attitudes.
Brotherly Kindness – Love of the brethren or brotherly kindness is something mature Christians demonstrate. In the Kingdom of God meeting the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters in Christ is a priority. God wants His children to be cared for and loved. This is a high calling and a priority.
Love – Love is beyond something God does, it is who He is, sacrificial and selfless love. Christians will grow in this image for eternity and never exhaust the ability to grow and learn. This entire chart and the entire Christian life is learning how to love.