What do you give your best effort to? Who or what do you put your whole mind, soul and body into?
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess theses qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election.” 2 Peter 1:5-10a (NIV – bold print mine)
Peter challenges us to “make every effort.” It is also translated as “be diligent.” It includes the meaning of speed or haste. “For the believer, this “speedy diligence” means quickly obeying what the Lord reveals is His priority.” (HelpsBible.com) Diligence is defined as the “constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken.”
What’s this mean to me? I can be lazy. I sometimes look for the easy way out and I’m tempted to give minimal effort. It’s one thing to give minimal effort to chores but if I do the same with spiritual growth, I’m nearsighted and blind. Salvation is a gift and when we come to Jesus believing that He died for us and rose again, then we’re His forever. No one can take that away. We cannot earn or deserve salvation. After we believe, growth comes from the choices we make. Spiritual growth is not automatic; it comes from effort. We choose to deny ourselves and follow Him. Being half-hearted or having a reluctant response won’t result in fruit for Jesus.
How can I be diligent? Each day, to my faith in Jesus who is my foundation, I add:
- Goodness or moral excellence in thought and deed.
- Knowledge Diligence in studying the Word of God. To know His will, I must know His Word. This is a priority.
- Self-Control Then I exercise self-control to give up what is not His will and to add what is.
- Perseverance endurance, patience. I keep adding knowledge and using self-control day by day. Making this a habit.
- Godliness As I seek Him everyday, my respect and awe of Him will grow and I will become more like Him.
- Brotherly Kindness My love for other Christians will grow.
- Love I will learn to love the way God loves.
This is a day-by-day, life long journey! There are ups and downs, hills and valleys, victories and defeats. The key is to keep going, keep adding these qualities. It’s a circle, not a list we complete and are done. We won’t be truly “mature” until the day we see Jesus in heaven. In speaking of that day, Peter writes in 3:14, “So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.” We respond to Him with speedy diligence because we’ll see Him face-to-face one day.
Jesus, Help me to make every effort to grow in my faith and knowledge of you. I want these qualities to grow in my life. When I see you, I want to face you with peace knowing I gave my best to following you. I know you love me no matter what and you forgive me for every failure and sin but I want to honor you. Please glorify your name in me.