Growing as Christ-followers
2Pet. 1:5 For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge,
2Pet. 1:6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness,
2Pet. 1:7 and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love.
2Pet. 1:8 For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2Pet. 1:9 For anyone who lacks these things is nearsighted and blind, and is forgetful of the cleansing of past sins.
The Christian life can never be static. There must be on-going and continual spiritual growth in the life of a Christ-follower. There is faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, endurance, godliness, mutual affection and love. All these are to increase among us as we grow in our faith. The result is a Christ-follower who is effective and bears fruit for the kingdom, growing in the knowledge of our Lord. However, for those who call themselves Christ-followers and yet do not continue to grow in their faith they will discover that there are difficulties. They become nearsighted, or shall we say self-centered. The vision becomes singularly of the things around them, and the way in which they want to serve God. They are blind to the needy of the world around them and simply forget what Christ has done for them. If we do not grow as Christ-followers, we will become sickly and ultimately die.
There can be no escaping the fact that Christ-followers are called into a life of growth in the Lord. This growth is both a crisis and a process. We require both in our lives, and without both we become stagnant in our faith. The problem is that too often people come to the conclusion that they have “arrived” spiritually and then never continue to grow in him. Could it be that the busyness of our lives is keeping us from this kind of growth spiritually?
I am concerned about the condition of many of our churches these days. Many denominations are suffering from decline with small and aging churches, many of which are closing across the country. We note shifting demographics as the cause for much of what is happening while at the same time could it be that there has been a shift spiritually? What can keep us from being “ineffective and unfruitful?” It sounds like Peter is telling the folks that this is the result of a lack of spiritual growth among the Christ-followers. It’s easy to blame it all on society, but have we looked in the mirror?
There have been periods of “Great Awakenings” here in the United States and around the world — times when there have been great revivals. These have resulted in church growth and the planting of new works. These have nearly always been the result of spiritual growth among God’s people.
The language of “nearsighted and blind,” is very sad but is also true. If we are not growing spiritually, we will not be able to see beyond ourselves and our own needs. We get into “survival” mode, blind to the needs of those around us.
What is the answer? To get in touch with where we are, and where we need to go spiritually. May the Lord search our hearts today so that as his Christ-followers we may continue to grow in him, reflecting him more and more each day so that the world sees his love in us. May the world be attracted to his love and desire to know him by stepping into a transformational relationship with him. And may we unite together as Christ-followers who desire to grow in him.
Lord, lead me today into more of you. Amen.