By: Carole L. Haines
How do we measure Spiritual Growth in our lives? How can we tell we are making progress, when sometimes we feel like we’re falling back? There is an answer to that question right in the Book of 2 Peter, chapter 1.
5 Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, 6 and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, 7 and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I highly recommend that you go back and read the whole 1st chapter of 2 Peter at this point, just to get the amazing Context of this Scripture. But in practical encouragement about growing in our Lord Jesus, this is a key passage. The desire of each of our hearts as followers of Jesus, is to be fruitful in the Kingdom of God, to be useful. God tells us here in 2 Peter how to be sure that is happening. We don’t go around planning lots of Christian events or happenings, although those can be important places for fruit growth. This passage tells us to have these 8 qualities in our life and to apply all diligence in growing them up. Faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. These 8 qualities of our Character are what God emphasizes here in our personal growth. We are to let Him transform us by the renewing of our mind, and offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him (Romans 12:1-2). I think sometimes we focus too much on outward projects instead of inward Intimacy with God. I believe that God is showing us here that as we spend lots of quality time with Him alone and growing in these qualities in our relationships with others, spiritual growth for ourselves and His Kingdom, are the ultimate result. We get it backwards sometimes and try to bear fruit through programs and ministries, but Jesus says it this way:
4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.
I will finish this post with a final thought from my favorite Devotional.
We say we do not expect God to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease, and yet we act as if we do! I must realize that my obedience even in the smallest detail of life has all of the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it. If I will do my duty, not for duty’s sake but because I believe God is engineering my circumstances, then at the very point of my obedience all of the magnificent grace of God is mine through the glorious atonement by the Cross of Christ.
(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)