The Pathway of Growth

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2 Peter 1:5 9 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. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins.
Peter is talking about growing in faith and what that looks like. He lists those things that grow us and their progression. We must first begin with a good understanding of right and wrong. This is the beginning of moral excellence, but we grow further in it with the knowledge of God’s Word, His truth. “What is right and pleasing in God’s sight?”, is what we grow more and more in. And this can only happen with the appropriate growth mind-set or attitude; the God-centered motivation and the intention and commitment to work at establishing the spiritual discipline of being in God’s Word.
From the knowledge of God’s Word, we are reminding and affirming what God calls us to each day and in His strength, we begin our growth in self-control; the control we need to fight temptations, to conquer old bad habits and to do what God calls us to even when we don’t want to or don’t feel like it.
The next piece in our growth is having the patient endurance. Life isn’t a sprint, but a cross-country journey and we will sometimes take two-steps backwards, encounter rough terrain and/or be tempted to stray from our path with Jesus. But when we keep at it, don’t give up or give in to the voice that tell us you can’t do it, we are exercising that patient endurance. We wait for God’s help, his strength and his revelations that refine us, stretch us and will propel us forward in our growth.
As we mature in our growth at this point, we are producing the fruit of the Spirit and the godliness within us. Godliness is a place where you are connecting with the Spirit of God within you. From this God connection you can have the brotherly love and beyond; the love of everyone, even the hard to love, the enemies of your own soul; the people that have rejected you and hurt you.
Peter is saying to us in these verses that if we don’t see ourselves growing along in this progression than we may be short-sighted or blind. Being short-sighted is akin to not seeing the big picture or focusing only on your self and the issue that is before you. What is happening is you have allowed something other than the Holy Spirit to govern you. There is another governing agent or agents that have taken over. These governing agents can be within our temperament; needs not being met or they can be lies that have been planted within us effecting our actions or they can be sins that have not been confessed that are festering within us. We are standing in the garden of our soul and we can’t just look down at the ground we are standing on and the weeds that are surrounding us. We have to look up and out and over the garden of our soul and look to the Gardener, our Father who wants to show us our next steps to grow more into the likeness of His son, Jesus.
Blindness is crippling. If your eyesight were suddenly taken away, you would be confused, and things would become chaotic. You would stumble and fall and hurt yourself and others along the way. This is what happens when we let sin come back in and take control. We begin to hide, try to fix the problem ourselves or we blame others. We have become blind again forgetting that Jesus has forgiven all our sins.
If you find that you are not growing in your faith journey or feeling stuck, it’s time to get your spiritual eyes checked. God has made us to be in fellowship, to work together and help each other along on our journey. Whether it is a friend, Bible study group or pastoral counselor, seek the answer to the hinderance or stunt in your growth in becoming more and more like our Savior.
Lord God, thank you for the power of your grace within us to help us conform into the likeness of your precious son. Help us to be intentional about the growth within our soul and reach out for help if we are feeling stuck or like we aren’t going anywhere. Lord, guide us and help us to rest in your strength. In the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

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