Make Every Effort
by Richard Rocco ◊ Jan 21, 2011
I have always had a tough time reading. Not because I don’t understand the words or have a tough time bringing sentences together, but because I have so many things going on in my mind that I have a tough time holding on to the direction of the writer. Maybe, that why I have so many books in my library that are read through chapter one and then put on the shelf.
I believe that is the same condition of our spiritual lives sometimes. We start doing well and something comes up which distracts us and we put our faith on the shelf. We have a tough time staying focused. Hebrews 12:2 tells us to “…fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”
2 Peter 1:5-9 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 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. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.”
We can see some things to learn about our faith and how to stay focused on Jesus in this scripture. First of all we are told to make every effort. I have a question for you. What do you work hardest at in your life? Is it your job, your family, your marriage, or the latest video game? We want to be great at these things and rightly so, but in order to truly accomplish great things we need to be great people.
Our Christian faith is more than going to church, accepting Christ, and seeing how far you can go without really making God mad at you. God has given us some things to do after we receive faith.
Add to your faith. It’s a process that makes you strong in your faith. What does the Bible tell us to add?
1. Goodness – Also known as virtue or moral excellence. How are you when no one is looking? How are your motives and integrity?
2. Knowledge – How are you doing with knowing God? If you want to know about God, you need to take time to read and study God’s word. Then, you need to take time to talk to Him. Prayer is a two-way conversation. Talk and listen. God wants you to really know Him.
3. Self-control – In a world that is full of indulgences, we need to work on our own disciplines. Food, sexual desires, sleep, clothing… How far is too far? When is it too much? Don’t compare yourself to your neighbor. It’s about your personal relationship with God.
4. Perseverance – Steadfast and patience are the other words that describe this. The famous quote is, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” Unfortunately, for many, when the going gets tough we turn and run. We ask God to make things smooth. Imagine if our prayer was, “God, please make my life tough so I could learn patience and be more effective in the kingdom.” NO WAY! We would never pray that prayer. But listen to what James penned in James 1:2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
5. Godliness – Simply put, it is reverence and respect towards God. He’s not your homeboy. He’s the Lord of lords and the King of kings.
6. Brotherly Kindness – The Bible tells us that you can’t love God if you hate your brother. We really need to learn and add to our Christian experience brotherly kindness. Let’s care for the well being of each other.
7. Love – Last, but most important, is love. Not the kind of “I love pizza” love, but the love that God has shown to us when He sent his Son, Jesus, in our place. It’s an unconditional love. A love that loves you in spite of you. This is the end result of a progression that starts with faith.
2 Peter 1:8 concludes with the following: “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.” I don’t know about you, but I want to be productive and effective in my Christian faith. God is calling His church to be mature. Let’s add to our faith these characteristics and see where God will take us. Until next time…
Richard Rocco is the Pastor of Frontline Christian Church, 2340 State Street, Hamden. For more information, please visit www.frontlinecc.com or call 203.287.9417.