“…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
No farmer is satisfied with a poor harvest. He works to increase the yield and quality of his crops. As Christians, we should also want to grow in our faith and understanding of Jesus Christ. The verses above tell us how.
To grow in Christ, we need to “supplement” our faith by practicing Christian virtues: the fruit of the spirit. This requires discipline, or self-control. I mentioned in a previous post that our default position is sin which leads to the “bad” fruits–anger, jealousy, dissensions, lust, etc.. I find in my own life, these kinds of emotions rear their heads quickly, especially when I feel criticized, humiliated, irritated or ignored. It takes a little holding back to avoid giving in to them. However, the effort is worthwhile. When I yield to sin by becoming angry, confrontational or self righteous, a bad situation escalates and becomes even more sinful. On the other hand, pressing the “reset” button and remembering to be kind, gentle, loving, and patient defuses the problem and leads to peace and joy.
I read a story once about an Indian grandfather. His grandson said to him, “Grandfather, there are two wolves fighting inside of me; one is cruel, angry and destructive. The other is peaceful, kind and loving. Which wolf will win?” The grandfather answered, “The one that you feed.”
Feed the gift of faith that God placed within you; let the fruit of the spirit become your habit.