Support among brothers

Faith

Love

2nd Peter 3: 5 … make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 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. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

 

We often wonder what we should do as Christians to advance in our faith and spread the kingdom. I know that I have often looked at my life and wondered, where’s my fruit? What is it that God is doing through me that he considers fruitful? 2Peter 5:9 gives us a short list of things to accomplish as Christians to become fruitful so I’ve broken it down to make it easier to understand.

 

The Criteria:

 

–          Faith

–          Knowledge

–          Self-control

–          Perseverance

–          Godliness

–          Mutual Affection

–          Love

 

So you start with Faith. Every believer has nothing if they have no faith in the Lord.

 

Faith = the branch

 

But faith is not enough to be fruitful. It’s good and we must build our foundation upon it so that we cannot be shaken. The Lord is God, Jesus did reclaim us, Holy Spirit has come, and We are his. Faith.

 

Next you must add knowledge upon your faith.

 

Faith + Knowledge = the node where buds form

 

Without knowledge of the Holy, how can you understand what you have faith in? We should seek to always increase our knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven because we do not have enough. With knowledge of God comes understanding and more faith is gained.

 

Faith + Knowledge + Self-control = budding flowers

 

After knowledge is Self-control. Now that Faith and Knowledge are secured, they must lead to action. Controlling oneself comes after knowledge simply because you didn’t know what was expected before. Self-control is exercising faith in the Father based upon the knowledge you have received. Self-control is also more than keeping yourself from doing what is wrong; it is also doing that which is right. Paul once said that he “beat his body” so that he could run the race and run it well. Runners prepare for races not only by avoiding things that will hinder them but also by doing things that will make them stronger, even if it hurts or is uncomfortable.

 

Faith + Knowledge + Self-control + Perseverance = Full grown flowers

 

To continue with the running metaphor, runners not only do things that are uncomfortable (training), they also do it a lot. The conditioning of one’s body is a long process and in order to achieve success, you must persevere. You must continue training all the way until a race in order for your training to be effective and to have the greatest ability strength when the time comes to run. So, Christian, continue seeking the knowledge of God and becoming a master over your mind and body. By doing this you will be transformed into a champion, sure of God, understanding Him, and pleasing to His eye. But there is still yet more to becoming fruitful.

 

Faith + Knowledge + Self-control + Perseverance + Godliness = Pollination

 

Now that the body has been mastered and the faith is unshakable, the life is transformed and the mind begins to understand the creator. After all that, you must seek to add Godliness. Our example of Godliness is easily found in Jesus, and then followed by Paul, John, Peter and the rest of the apostles and disciples. These men fed the hungry, healed the sick, mended the broken, taught the good news of Christ, and altogether lived godly lives. They acted in a way that was no longer only inward growth but had also become outward growth. They showed people what it was like to be a follower of the Living God. They pursued the Lord and persevered in it. They lived through the trials and pain and reaped the first harvest for the Lord.

 

Faith + Knowledge + Self-control + Perseverance + Godliness + Mutual Affection = Growing Fruit

 

Now we reach probably one of the most rewarding parts of this whole process. Perhaps one of the greatest things we seek is to be loved by others. In all my years, I have never experienced anything better than knowing that I was wanted, that others cared weather I showed up, or that I was feeling well. I have never experienced a time better than when I could live and laugh and love with others. The best part is that this becomes even better when everyone is adding unto themselves all of the previously mentioned attributes. Soon they begin to have one heart after the Lord, seeking his face, knowing his love, and expressing it amongst themselves. Indeed, Mutual Affection is essential in the Kingdom. One of the hardest times in my life was when I lived in Charlotte, my community was in Clemson, and I could commit to neither. This kept me from loving others effectively as well as receiving love from them.

 

Now at this point, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep each of the criteria separate and we must add the final ingredient to bearing true fruit for the kingdom.

 

Faith + Knowledge +Self-control + Perseverance + Godliness+ Mutual Affection + Love = Full Grown, Ripe Fruit

 

Now that all has been done and everything achieved we add love. This gives us the ability to do and share life with fellow Christians and to share life with those who have not yet believed. When we add love, we cannot help but to bear fruit. With love all that was previously turned within can be poured out so that we can then raise up those who come after us. Paul said that if we have not love, we have nothing. Indeed we are but clanging cymbals. Love is the standard by which we can measure our motives and we love because he first loved us.

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