This volume look at leadership and how we mature in Christ.
As leaders we must always be developing and growing ourselves.
We cannot lead others in ways that we ourselves have not matured.
And maturing takes time. The development of character takes some work and some focus and a lot of asking the Lord to grow us.
Maturity does not happen by accident.
We must allow and invite change in the way we see and do life.
God wants this for us also.
In 2 Peter 1:2-8 we find a progression of maturing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Peter starts off by imparting a blessing,
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” 2 Peter 1:2
And then the passage goes on to outline how God has provided for us, in the knowledge of His Holy Spirit, everything we need, and how it is ours to now bring into our daily lives.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
For this reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:3-8
First off, we see that God has granted us the ability to have all of these things not because of who we are but because of who God is. It is God that works these things in us.
“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13
We start off with faith, that place where we simply say, “Yes Jesus Christ, I see that I am a sinner and I accept your gift of forgiveness and welcome you into my life. Become my Savior today, thank-you.” We rest in God’s gift and receive His peace into our lives.
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1
Then, as 2 Peter continues, we ‘make every effort to add to our faith with virtue’.
Virtue has been translated two different ways through the centuries. The first and older meaning was in the sense of ‘power’ and a ‘miraculous energy or influence’. The modern and ordinary meaning is that of ‘moral goodness’. Both make sense, because it is the power of God that enables us to be dead to sin and alive to Christ, resulting in God’s touch through our lives.
“And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33
Knowledge is what we add to virtue. Knowledge is mentioned in the Bible alongside wisdom and a fear of God. Knowledge becomes ours when we have a right understanding of how big God is, how mighty God is and how good it is to really understand his holiness and righteousness as compared to our sinfulness.
“for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you desire cannot compare with her. ‘I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.” Proverbs 8:11-13
Self-control comes next. It is a natural outflow of being in relationship with God. Self-control is the ability to self-regulate. It is where we restrain ourselves and choose our reactions and actions. Self-control is where we take responsibility for our decisions and actions and the way we are in the world.
“A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28
Steadfastness is a combination of perseverance and stability. It is the result of habits of self-control and faith through difficulties. Where through time and years we have increased in character qualities that reflect God, and as a result others can count on us and the way we are in the world.
“For you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:3-4
Godliness (as described in Nave’s topical Bible) “supposes knowledge, veneration, affection, dependence, submission, gratitude, and obedience.”
“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16
Brotherly Affection gives us a picture of affection between brothers, between those who have common parentage. In the company of Christians this picture extends to all those who call God Father. We then come to understand that all people, every single person, male or female, young or old, friend or enemy, slave or free, is made in the image of God, and therefore worthy of respect and love and honor.
“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” Romans 12:9-10
Love tops it all off and wraps it all up. There is so much we can say of love, but for today lets just say that Love always reveals the true living God, and proves our relationship with him.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
To repeat Peter’s words:
“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 2:8
‘Lord God we are desperate and needing your deep work in our beings. We declare and invite your moving through our hearts and minds and lives. We welcome you to increase the qualities of faith and virtue, knowledge and self-control, of steadfastness and Godliness, and brotherly affection and love. We ask this in the name and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wrap us in your transforming power. We thank-you and bless you and worship you today. Amen’
I pray these for each of you, may you know God’s deep love and grace and movement in each of your lives. We are indeed desperate for God to change and transform us!