In John 10:10 Jesus promises His followers abundant life. This blog is about my life as His follower.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Supplementing with moral excellence

As I was reading from 2 Peter 1:1-10 this morning these words caught my attention in the 3rd-8th verses of The Message paraphrase:

3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.

5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.

8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There's always been this tension for me between who the Word says that I am in Christ and who I see myself being in daily life. That same tension is here again; verse 3 says that I've been given everything I need to live a godly life. But you have just to ask my teen sons to hear how I'm not always loving, patient, and living for everyone's else's best - sometimes I'm selfish. But what caught my attention about this passage is that there's a connection between what I've been given in verse 3 to how it gets played out in my life - verses 5-7. It talks about responding to this truth by supplementing my faith with some actions. There's so much here in these verses that I'm going to need to be thinking on them for the next few days.

Today I'm starting at the beginning of that list with the middle section of verse 5:

Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence

So what's moral excellence? How do we supplement our faith with it? I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.


John Cowart said...

Wow, Tracy. This is a tough one.
King James renders this verse as "Add to your faith, virtue". So I looked up "virtue" in the dictionary and find it is the quality of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong.

I think that just slugging it through doing the best you can when you can qualifies. And that is added to faith because much of the time I don't do what is right or avoid what is wrong--and faith fills in the gap between the two so i don't have to beat myself over the head when I screw us--or even when my grown kids (or teenagers) observe the mote in my eye. It's all a package deal, and the Lord Jesus has given us the whole package, i.e. everything needed for life and godliness. So, relax, God is on your side. He's easier to please than we think.


Tracy said...

I think the struggling - trying to do what is right is a big part of it. Instead of just doing whatever comes naturally - to seek to do the right thing. I appreciate your picture of faith filling in the gap since we'll never do it perfectly. Am grateful for the truth in what you say about the package deal, grateful that God's NOT up there with a big stick waiting to whop me when I mess up.

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