Last week we began our study on what Peter was teaching these folks growing as a Christian. We know that coming to Christ isn’t the end of it, it is really only the beginning.
Just as we are called to grow in this life through school, hard work, time spent learning, so it is with being a Christian.
So Peter begins a list of qualities that every believer needs to actively work on. These traits do not come naturally. They are also presented in a particular order.
It is similar to building a wall of bricks. You have to lay down the first layer before you can start on the 2nd layer. Then the longer the first layer is the longer the 2nd layer can be. You can’t have a 2nd layer longer than the first. And so on.
Peter’s first layer or course of bricks was goodness. If we don’t become morally good, then what we build on top of that will do us no good.
Then once we begin to have moral excellence, then we use that excellence to develop knowledge. Not just worldly knowledge, but spiritual knowledge.
As our moral lives are growing better, we can acquire more knowledge and be confident that the knowledge will be used well.
Then, as we gain knowledge, we need to be able to exercise self-control. To control our use of the knowledge we have. To deny ourselves certain things that may hinder our growth and spiritual walk.
John Maxwell says this about leadership and authority and growth and life: "In order to go up, you have to give up."
In order to get better (go up) in a sport or a career, you have to give up certain things. If you want to be a great athlete, you give up your free time in order to practice.
In order to go up in the business world, you have to give up leaving right at 5:00. You have to give up your ability to leave the work at the office. You now have to take it with you or put in longer hours.
So it is with our spiritual walk. We have to give up in order to go up.
Now we come to the next layer of spiritual maturity or spiritual growth.