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Spiritual Supplements

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.

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Supplementing Your Faith

Friday mornings at hotels are always interesting. People are up early, packed and ready to go home. The breakfast room is usually full. The travelers are in good spirits because they know they’re going home. Keys are dropped off, bills are paid and bags are in hand as they walk to their cars. There’s a certain sense of excitement. The week is nearly done. Your work is almost finished and you know you’re going to rest soon.

In II Peter 1, Peter said that God had revealed to him that he would die soon. He started to get ready to go home. Before he left, he wanted to give the church some final instructions that they would remember after he was gone. What was important to him as final instructions should be important to us as believers. We should look closely at what he wanted us to get.

In verse 5-7, he tells us to supplement our faith with things like good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness and generous love. He said with these active and growing in our lives, we would mature in our experience with Jesus. He also said without them we wouldn’t be able to see what’s right in front of us spiritually. These were and are important things that we as Christians should have active in our lives.

Passionate patience stands out to me in that group. All of us want patience, but none of us want to pay to get it. I know that patience is also a fruit of the spirit according to Galatians. It’s something that God wants each of us to have in our lives. It takes time to develop and to mature into who God wants us to be. It doesn’t happen over night. We go through things, make mistakes, pick ourselves up and try again. Our patience is developed by going through things that try us.

Another thing that stands out to me is generous love. In today’s world, we are known more for what we are for or against than for our love. We let disagreements on what is right and wrong divide us from those we are called to love. I Corinthians 13 teaches what love is. We typically apply this to marriage or relationships. What if we applied those things to the ones we are called to love? Love is patient. Love is kind. It is not boastful, proud or rude.

I Peter was onto something here. All those things we supplement our faith with start and end with love. When we learn to love our neighbors like ourselves, we’ll begin to see the lost saved. When we care more about their soul than if they’re right or wrong, our light will shine. When we have patience with others the way we want others to have patience with us, we will see a harvest.

Which of these supplements do you already posses? Which ones do you need to develop? As Christians we should never stop growing or developing. Peter was encouraging us to not be satisfied with where our faith is. He was saying that we can add to it to achieve the growth that God desires in us. Just like body builder uses supplements to lean down and build muscle mass, we too should be supplementing our faith so that we will grow our faith.

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