Last week, we introduced the God's Transformation Formula with a promise from God. We learned that God has given us a promise for a better and more fulfilled life. On our way to our eternal reward, God offers a plan for our development in how we relate with Him and those around us. Today we begin that plan with the first things we must add to our lives. Like last time, we will do so by breaking down the verse/verse segment:
2 Peter 1:5
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue…
Giving all diligence
First, and beside this refers to the previous scriptures we examined in the first lesson in this series. Moving from there, the term diligence means earnestness and to be done with haste. This gives us the mindset and approach we should take in order to advance ourselves through this transformation. We are to travel this road with sincerity and conviction. We have to be all in and true with our intentions. We must also do so with urgency. God's not looking for those who will drag their feet (Luke 9:57-62). He wants people who are ready to go and this formula is one that can be implemented without much delay. So let's start with something we should already have.
Faith: Belief in Something. Finding Something/Someone To Be Reliable
Our relationship with God starts with faith. We've all been freely given our measure (Romans 12:3). That faith, even in its smallest form, can do amazing things (Matthew 17:20). All we have to do to attain it is to believe in the God that exists. We can see God in the creation that surrounds us, in the testimony of other Christians and in moments of communion with God where he reveals His presence to us. That faith gives us a powerful starting point, but it's just a start. Belief requires action (James 2:26).
Add: to supply or furnish
The action required of us is to add something. This will actually be a theme throughout this series, so let's briefly discuss the term add here. It means to supply or furnish. Basically, we are just filling our lives with more things of God. It's like taking an empty house and filling it with furniture. So what are we going to furnish our faith with?
Virtue- Moral Goodness in Thought, Feeling and Action.
Virtue is the lifestyle that God prescribes to those who believe enough to follow Him. God welcomes all people who desires to follow Him. However, once we join in the journey, He seeks to mold and shape us into the person He desires us to be and represent.
So what does virtue entail? Philippians 4:8 gives the answer:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Phillipians 4:8)
Virtue is the truth of God applied to our words (honest), actions (just), mindset (pure) and representation (lovely) and reputation (good report). We need God and His Word to dictate how we think, act, speak and represent ourselves to others. When we do, people will come to know us as a virtuous and godly person.
We can't truly add virtue into our lives without faith in God. There are plenty of people that try to do good without God guiding them. They end up frustrated. While they may do good and live decent lives, the lack of true purpose makes it difficult to continue the path to virtue, especially when so many others refuse to follow a virtuous life without God as their guide.
Christians aren't guaranteed virtue just by showing up with their faith card, though. Some try to selectively add virtue in certain areas of their lives. They'll let God work on what they say but not what they think. They'll let God handle their actions but not completely how they represent themselves outwardly. Refusing to go all in (remember that diligence word) with God will make the pursuit of virtue a frustrating one. It also hurts their faith as they don't see the results they expect and so they start to regress in relationship and service to God.
However, a person with absolute faith in God will allow Him to mold their life completely and holistically. With that kind of faith guiding us, we will desire to wrap our lives in God's virtue. His ways will invade our conversation, actions, outward and inward living. Having that, we'll better our relationship with God and have a greater reputation as a follower of Christ. This will expand our witness and calling in Christ and make the world around us and our lives better.
Next time, we will see what we can add to this virtuous lifestyle to even further increase our relationship with God. Until then, God bless and keep searching.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.