My husband, Brendan, loves math. The complicated, algorithm kind with variables that stumps me like a foreign language of the Greek variety.
But the math in today’s post is something I can get a handle on!
In 2 Peter 1:5-8, we learn that our life can move forward by adding (or allowing God to add) the following qualities to our life one by one. Each one leads to the next and ends up with LOVE – the ultimate goal for all of us!
The best part is that these qualities are actually some of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In other words, when we accept Jesus in our lives, his spirit lives in us and gives us these qualities as we allow him to grow our lives for the better.
Phew! That’s like someone doing your math homework for you.
We start with FAITH.
Simply believing that God is who he says he is and will do what he says.
To FAITH we add GOODNESS.
Definition: moral excellence, virtue, kindness, generosity. God is good. He makes me good. I can bring good to others. That’s good!
To GOODNESS we add KNOWLEDGE.
It’s interesting that goodness comes before knowledge. Sometimes I think we think that our knowledge is what matters most, but here God puts goodness first. It’s more important to be good than smart. The Bible says “knowledge puffs up” – meaning it make us think better of ourselves than we should.
But we aren’t to ignore knowledge, we’re to add it!
Especially when it comes to knowing God. And the more we know about the world, his creation, his words (the Bible), the more we know him.
To KNOWLEDGE we add SELF-CONTROL.
What good is virtue (goodness) and knowledge if we can’t use self-control in exhibiting them? In part, that means that I am disciplined in my thoughts and actions and willing to do things for others when it isn’t convenient or easy.
To SELF-CONTROL add PERSEVERANCE.
Okay, so now things are getting a little tougher. Can I continue to move ahead in these things even when it’s hard? When I struggle to have faith, want to have my own way or don’t want to be “good”? That takes perseverance.
To PERSEVERANCE we’re going to add GODLINESS.
Well, I’m certainly not going to be able to be like God if I’m not willing or able to have the other qualities first. But I love that God has us building up to this. He doesn’t expect us to be like him in character before we have faith or goodness or understanding or self-control.
After GODLINESS, we add BROTHERLY KINDNESS.
As God adds to our life, we are able to get outside ourselves and look to others. He loves us, we grow in that love, learning to love him and ourselves which makes us able to share that love with other people.
Finally, we add LOVE.
This is God’s love, agape love – the unconditional kind that doesn’t ever expect anything in return, that’s willing to set aside my desires or rights for the good of someone else. Now what would our current world look like if we were all able to love like that?
As we allow each of these qualities to be added to our lives, we become better people, we bless others and we become more productive and effective.
This is math that adds up! Even I can figure it out. 😉
How about you? Do you see some qualities you’d like to add to your life?