Add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 2 Peter 1:5-7
It all comes down to spiritual-math and chemistry. Here is the formulaic equation (add to ‘faith’ the following thing and in the proper sequence): Faith + virtue + knowledge + self-control + patience + godliness + kindness + love = Spiritual-Stability.
Faith, we know comes from God by the hearing of His word and it is the medium to which these other things must be added. The first component is virtue, which is really nothing more than the desire to live right before God’s eyes. Think of virtue as you would a diet—the things that you allow or will not allow to enter your body.
Once our ‘diet’ is on the right track, we are ready to add knowledge—and just so we are clear, we are talking about knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We can begin to see the importance of maintaining the prescribed sequence, for if our lives are un-virtuous (cluttered with trash) there is little room for knowledge. In contrast, if you are not hungry for the Word, it might be indicative that you are filling-up on junk food.
To this we add self-control and discover that in many ways it is a natural byproduct of maintaining a healthy diet that has been fueled by godly knowledge. Self-control, without knowledge as its catalyst, always fails eventually.
You might say that self-control and patience go hand-in-hand. It seems an impossibility to have one without of the other, but without self-control, enduring patience will never come. Patience lost is patience never gained.
Now we can add godliness. Could you imagine skipping the other things and adding godliness directly to faith? The sad thing is (that) we see it happen all the time. It certainly happened to me, and although I am better off for the experience, it is an experience I did not have to undergo.
To godliness we add kindness. Why now—why not earlier? We add it now because of an inherent pitfall that often follows godliness—we can become a little haughty and a little nasty with our delivery. By the time we have added godliness we have learned the urgency of the Gospel message for a dying world and there is a tendency to cut-corners to get the message across. If you have ever heard a sermonette that boldly and loudly proclaims, “You’re all going to hell!” you know what I am talking about.
Finally we add love. Love is added at the end because true love; agape love, cannot be realized until all the other ingredients are in place. When we broadcast love in the absence of these other qualities, it is often an emotional and imaginary kind of love; or love as we think it should be. That kind of love is an ugly thing to behold and it is referred to in 1 John 4:20
If someone says, “I love God, ” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?
Yea, I Know That
For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. 1 Peter 1:12
Yea, I know you know that. I know it too. But we forget. Time is short and like Peter, our ministry must be that of stirring people up in the remembrance of things we already know. It is not what we know that counts for anything, but what we do with the things we know—wisdom is the result of using knowledge wisely.