Study from God’s Word… Peter’s entire 2nd letter, written to the same churches in Asia Minor as his first epistle … Passage for Reflection: 2nd Peter 1: 5 – 7 [underlined], with verse 8 added for context in study … NIV 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 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.
My Journal for Today: I became a Christian when I was 39 years old; and I really didn’t get going in my discipleship and growth until about five years thereafter. For those first few years, I was a real “babe” in Christ; and yes, I was exposed to a modicum of teaching and integration into the local church where I had become a member. However, it was not until I connected with a strong mentor, a Godly man, who was a strong follower of God’s word, that I began to grow in my faith, i.e., to take on many of the virtues and character qualities listed by Peter in this passage from his second letter.
In fact when you read, study, and meditate on this passage presented by Dr. Smith in his devotional for today, I hope you are inspired, as am I, to do a self inventory of your own growth by using this progressive list from God’s Spirit, written by Peter for any Christian to see how that one might stack up in their Christlikeness. And that’s what this was for the readers, or hearers, of Peter’s second letter. He was, like Paul did to the Galatians in Gal. 5: 22-23, presenting a list of qualities which would be attributed to Christ so that the disciple, reading or hearing them, could use them as a self inventory, just as Paul had instructed the Corinthians in 2nd Cor. 13: 5 to periodically test themselves (i.e., ourselves) in the faith to see how they’re (we’re) developing, … if we are at all.
Dr. Smith asks us, as his readers today, ”Can I see as much demonstrable growth in virtue since my spiritual rebirth as my physical growth from the day I was born?” In other words, when I used God’s pop-quiz, such as the one from Peter today, and I’m totally honest in looking at the qualities of Christlikeness from today’s text, as well as Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit in Gal. 5, we need to ask ourselves if we’re growing in Christlikeness or are we stagnate in our walk as a disciple of Christ? And if the latter is the case, what should we be doing, as we look forward to a New Year as a Christian to launch ourselves with the goal of becoming more like our ultimate role model, Jesus?
A few years ago, for the ministry I lead, I developed a method of doing a self rating and analysis to help any Christian, like myself, to do a 2nd Cor. 13: 5 inventory, and then to identify weak areas in one’s Christlikeness index so as to set goals and develop a growth program in discipleship. Let me refer you to this discipleship tool should you want to try it out. And since I’ve used this tool for myself, I stand ready to help any Christian disciple to help him/her grow in Christlikeness. I’m only an email away >>> firstname.lastname@example.org. You can access the inventory tool, by clicking on this link. The instructions on the use of the tool are there; but if you need help using it, email me; or call me at our ministry number which is listed via “about us/contact us” on our ministry website at this link.
But, I hope we all keep close tabs on how much we’re growing in Christlikeness, so that when Christ does come, or we die before that happens, we’ll be as ready as we can be for our glorification into His likeness in Heaven.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, help me grow into Your likeness and keep growing thereunto. Amen