Do you like building with Legos? Why?
Some people think that being a Christian means only trusting God and letting him do everything to make you better while we sit back and do nothing.
Other people think that being a Christians means trying really hard to be better and better.
The truth is that being Christian is both trusting God and making an effort to be better. Here’s how Peter says it to us in his second letter:
2 Peter 1:5-7. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
In this second letter, Peter has already told us that God has given us everything we need to be godly (like God). We even share in Jesus’ “divine nature” (see yesterday’s devotional). But becoming more and more like Jesus doesn’t just magically happen to us. We have to “make every effort” to add the character traits of Jesus to our lives.
What are these character traits?
Virtue: Jesus’ goodness and kindness.
Knowledge: Jesus’ understanding of how life works.
Self-control and steadfastness: Jesus’ patience and courage to keep going.
Godliness and brotherly affection: Jesus’ honoring of God and his concern for others.
And of course, love: Jesus’ own love for everyone that always chooses to do what is best for others.
Now, don’t get “making every effort” confused with “trying harder and harder.” There’s a big difference. When you are trying harder and harder it is usually because you have to get better in order to succeed. But that is never what God is saying. God doesn’t need us to do better and better to earn our place with him. He simply wants us to share in Jesus’ life. And so we make every effort to share in Jesus by adding his character traits to our life as we go. Not so that we can prove how awesome we are, but so that we can share in Jesus’ awesomeness.
It’s sort of like getting a favorite Lego set and then playing with it. As you go you add block after block until you complete the design. You’re not earning your Legos – you’ve already been given the Legos for free. But since you have the Legos, go ahead and “make every effort” to build the design. Why? Because it’s fun and amazing to be build Legos and to be like Jesus.
Because of Jesus we have everything we need to be like him.
With Jesus we can live with his same character traits.
DO SOMETHING TOGETHER
Of course you need to play with Legos for a while and try to build something together. Talk about how Legos take effort to build, just like building Jesus into our life takes effort. But we do it because it is how we see the finished project and enjoy it.
Since you have given me everything I need to be like you, please help me to add your character traits to my life so I can be like you.
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