Taking each step

2 Peter 1:5-8 tell us, “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.”

The work of salvation is a work that begins with God. Peter explains in verses 3 and 4, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” He is telling us, God has given us the gift of faith, life, and great promises; but, when we get to verse 5, Peter begins to explain “our” responsibilities. And he does it in such a way like climbing a ladder or participating in a mathematical equation.

When I was in elementary school, one of my favorite teachers loved math. I think probably she developed my love for mathematics as well. At the beginning of class, she would set a timer and verbally give us a mathematical equation. The person who completed it and got the right answer was the class leader for the day. 232 -12 + 15 -3 x 10 -2088 = ? The more complicated the problem the harder I worked to get the right answer and be the person who led the class to lunch and recess. I learned quickly, if I took each step, I could do the problem as she called it out and win.

Peter is telling us through HIS divine power (God) has given us everything we need for a godly life. In order to get there, we must use this simple addition formula: faith + goodness + knowledge + self-control + perseverance = godliness. When we reach godliness we have mutual affection and love. When we have these qualities, we are no longer ineffective or unproductive = excellence in God.

Too many of us are riding on the belief of the sinner’s prayer. We have our ticket and that’s it. But God wants more from us and for us. Peter stresses two routes for the Christian, growth or stagnation. There is nothing in between.

Today, evaluate your walk with Jesus Christ. Where are you on the ladder? Maybe it is time you took a step higher. My grandmother told me, “Michael, the best fruit is always at the top of the tree, the hardest to reach.” Start climbing your ladder to reach the richness God has for you in your life. It is up to you.

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