I’ve started reading the book of 2 Peter as part of my discipline of study. I’m doing this is a slow, meditative way, reading each chapter more than once and looking for what stands out, then pondering what it means to me.
Often a short sentence or even a phrase stands out, but this time it’s several verses:
“…. 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.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
It tells me that my sanctification is a process, and it requires some effort on my part. I have no choice about my conversion — that’s a work of God. But I can and should “make every effort” to grow more like Jesus.
I’m not sure if the qualities listed are meant as a progression, but if they are, it doesn’t surprise me that the end result is love. After all, didn’t Jesus say that the law can be distilled down into the statement that we should love God and love our neighbor as ourselves? This won’t happen all at once; we first have to develop knowledge and understanding, then self-control and determination, and finally we will arrive at the place where we truly feel brotherly affection and love for others.
Like me, you may not be there yet, but we can walk the road. Keep going. Trust the process.
For more about trust see these posts: