Changing My Character

April 7, 2021

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NLT

Peter was the impulsive man who wildly swung a sword at the mob who came to arrest Jesus and cut off a man’s ear. But after they arrested Jesus, he fled for his life with all the other disciples. But when the resurrected Jesus appeared to him, restored him, and then sent the Holy Spirit, he was filled with such wisdom and confidence that he became more and more like Jesus Himself. He became the leader of the early church and a major shaper of the world around him.

He wrote several letters to the people who believed in Jesus through him, and we have two of those in the collection we call the New Testament. From his experience with Jesus, Peter tells his friends, “Through God’s divine power he has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We get this by getting to know Jesus and receiving his great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable us to be like Jesus and escape the corruption and loss caused by human desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4).

Then he says, “Because of that, make every effort to respond to God’s promises.” The resources are there—this is a life-long process of changing our character and becoming like Jesus. God has promised us His presence and power and has given us the template for working with Him. Peter even lays out a path: Don’t stop with just faith. Add moral excellence (which comes from following Jesus), and then grow in your knowledge of Jesus. With knowledge we need self-control so we will actually live what we know and believe. Self-control needs to be joined with patient endurance, godliness, and love for everyone. Wow! What a person Peter is describing!

Then he tells us the result: The more we grow like this, the more productive and useful we will be! Those who fail to develop in this way are “short-sighted or blind,” and they even are showing that they have forgotten they have been forgiven of their sins. They are taking Jesus for granted.

  • Jesus didn’t save me just for heaven. He wants me to have a deep and growing relationship with Him that changes me. I must cooperate with Him. But this is not me toughing it out; it is me being obedient and stepping out in faith on the solid promises of a faithful God.