Leaders invite people into a better future which the Lord has prepared by showing them the way. It is no surprise that a big study (Willow Creek Reveal, 2007) found that the greatest expectation Christians have of leaders is help them discover “what is next for me?”
2 Peter 1:3-12
3 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, 4 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.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with courage, and courage with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patience, and patience with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
8 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. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so near-sighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.
Observations and reflection questions
Note: In this portion Peter exhorts the persecuted church to develop an enduring, godly character.
- Looking at the progressive growth in Christian character and try synonyms for each of the qualities he lists (verses 5 to 7).
- According to Peter, why should these believers grow in these character qualities? (verses 4, 8, 10, 11)
- How do you make sense of the fact that Peter says God “has granted us all things for life and godliness…”(v3) yet we ought to “make every effort” to add to our faith (v5)?
- According to Peter, what would happen if a believer will not “make every effort” to grow in godly character? (v8-11)
- Consider the context of the readers (see note above). What would the benefit be for the believers to grow in:
- virtue/ courage
- knowledge/ wisdom
- steadfastness / patience
- affection love
Personal reflection and application questions
“Add to your faith the virtue or courage of David; and to the courage of David the knowledge of Solomon; and to the knowledge of Solomon the patience of Job; and to the patience of Job the godliness of Daniel; and to the godliness of Daniel the brotherly kindness of Jonathan; and to the brotherly kindness of Jonathan the love of John.” 2 Peter 1:5-7 as paraphrased by Tom Ohlson’s father
- Consider 2 Peter 1:5-7. Which characteristic in this list do you need to grow in most?
- How will you “make every effort” to grow in this characteristic?
- Whom can you trust to help you grow in that area of Christ-likeness?
- Send that person a message now to tell him/ her to grow in it.
- Now consider one person in your fellowship group or Bible study whom you know well – which of these qualities can that person grow in? How can you help him or her to grow in this character quality?
Start thanking God for the promises and provision for godly character, then pray into this area of character growth you need – pray that Christ may be formed in you (Galatians 4:19)!