When I was involved with a scouting program, I used to take groups camping. One of the things I would do for the kids is give them a checklist of everything they needed for the camp out. I figured the list would make it easy for them and their parents to decide what they needed. Inevitably, some would bring more than what was on the list and others would bring very little from it. I typically packed extras of the things that really mattered in case anyone forgot theirs. I just wanted them to have everything they needed to have a successful weekend.
II Peter 1:3 tells us that God has done the same thing for us. It says, “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” He not only knows what we need, but He’s given it to us already. I like that because He wants us to be prepared for the life He has called us to live. So many times, we think we can’t do it. We know our weaknesses and want to give up trying, but God has given you everything you need to be successful at living out your faith.
In the next verse of that chapter, Peter says that God has given us His precious promises as a means of helping us. He said, “These are the precious promises that enable you to share in His divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.” God is an enabler. He is not a restrictor as many see Him. His goal is not to hold you back or pin you down, but to truly set you free. It requires faith to walk in that freedom.
I also like that He helps us escape the world’s corruption caused by our desires. When we let God have free reign in our lives, He begins to get rid of our desires and He replaces them with His desires. Our desires are selfish in nature and are contrary to what He wants from us. They keep us from serving Him because we are focused on serving ourselves. The scriptures says that when we accept Christ, we become a new creation. Old things (habits and desires) pass away. All things (habits and desires) become new.
You have the power within you to live a life that pleases God. He has given you new life and new desires. Don’t revert to your old way of living. Accept the promise God gives that you are a new creation. Trust that He is working out His will in your life. I’ve learned that I can’t see the overall plan for my life, but He can. I may not understand what He’s doing or why. I have to trust that He is working in me to fulfill His plan for me. He has given me the tools I need to be successful. I just need to pay attention to what He’s given and then to put it into practice. He’s not asking me to pack anything for this trip. He’s got it all planned out. We just have to trust.
If you’re like me, you have no shortage of friends who either take supplements or sell them. I have friends who take supplements to lose weight, to gain weight and muscle, to be healthier and to fight off infections. There are supplements for just about everything. My friends who take them talk about the benefits they receive constantly. They understand that to get the complete nutrition their body needs, they have to take these supplements. It’s not so different with our faith.
We constantly need to be giving our spirit nutrition through God’s Word, books that help us grow and godly fellowship. Peter understood that in order to grow our faith, we needed to supplement it. In II Peter 1:5-7 he said, “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self control, and self control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” That’s a lot of supplements.
I love how he said to supplement your faith with a generous provision. That means we shouldn’t hold back on these. We need to load up on them. I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use more of any of these. The first thing he said to add to our faith was moral excellence. One version of the Bible translated that as goodness. Be good to others. Show the love of Christ through your actions. The next was knowledge. I believe we are to be knowledgeable in the Word of God as well as other areas of life. In order to be a more effective witness for Christ, you have to be more knowledgeable about what others believe and why.
The next one isn’t one many of us like to add. Self control is a tough pill to swallow. We expect it out of others, but rarely hold ourselves accountable for it. Having self control helps us to live more effective lives. He coupled self control with patient endurance. Those two work together. We need to be patient as God is working in our lives. It’s not easy and often it hurts, but the end result is beautiful. Don’t run from what God is doing. Exercise self control and patiently endure all that a God is doing. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is your faith.
Next, Peter said to supplement our faith with godliness. He saved the harder things for last I think. It’s important that we live godly lives so others can see a difference in how we live. A life with supplemented faith lives differently than a life of no faith. To that, he told us to add brotherly affection. Jesus said that the world would know us by our love for one another. It’s time we quit arguing with other believers on our differences and started finding the common ground we share. When we do that, we will begin to replace the arguments with brotherly affection.
Peter capped off all of this with an important one. The final thing in this list to supplement our faith with is love for everyone. We’ve got to find ways to demonstrate the love that Jesus showed those who didn’t agree with Him and put Him on the cross. He didn’t go to the cross yelling about how they were going to Hell. Instead, He was praying for their souls and offering to meet them in Paradise. We’ve got to find a way to show that kind of love to those who don’t agree with our faith or lifestyle. That’s how we will win them over. We get to that point by taking spiritual supplements.