â€œBut also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.â€ (2 Peter 1:5-8)
He admonishes us to give all diligence to adding to our faith in Christ. This mean our effort to grow spiritually must be made in earnest. We must purpose in our minds that we desire to grow as Christians in Christlikeness. Is that you?
The first characteristic we must add to our faith is virtue. Virtue is nothing more than integrity or moral goodness. It is doing what is right when no one is looking. If you want to cure our nationâ€™s woes then we must have virtue. Back in 2009 in a Salt and Light Blog post titled, â€œThe Right Sailing of the Human Fleet,â€ I wrote â€œWe are a people without national virtue.â€ As my pastor Bro Dennis has said many times, â€œWe have lost our ability to blush as a nation.â€
What would be a good barometer as to whether or not I have moral goodness? The writer of Hebrews gives us a great example:
â€œPray for us; for we are confident that we have a good conscience, in all things desiring to live honorably.â€ (Hebrews 13:18)
Am I confident that I have a good conscience? Is it my desire to live honorably in all things? If I answered no to either of those questions, then I have a good starting place to add virtue to my faith.
Imagine in America if businessmen and politicians could say without hesitation:
â€œOpen your hearts to us. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have cheated no one.â€ (2 Corinthians 7:2)
Imagine incorruptible politicians saying what the prophet told King Jeroboam:
â€œBut the man of God said to the king, â€˜If you were to give me half your house, I would not go in with you; nor would I eat bread nor drink water in this place. For so it was commanded me by the word of the Lord, saying, â€œYou shall not eat bread, nor drink water, nor return by the same way you came.â€â€™ So he went another way and did not return by the way he came to Bethel.â€ (1 Kings 13:8-10)
This prophet let the king know that he was not for sale. The king only wanted what the man of God could do for him, not the God of the man. Integrity means we are not for sale. Virtue says I will abide in my Godâ€™s commandments. But even this is by the grace of God, that is why we must purpose in our hearts to live virtuous lives:
â€œAs for me, You uphold me in my integrity, and set me before Your face forever. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.â€ (Psalm 41:12-13)
The Book of Proverbs gives us several wise admonitions about living virtuous lives. First, integrity is our guide:
â€œThe integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.â€ (Proverbs 11:3)
Virtue means I will not sell my integrity even if it means a life of poverty:
â€œBetter is the poor who walks in his integrity than one who is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.â€ (Proverbs 19:1)
And fathers, I want you to lean in a little closer to catch all of this next verse:
â€œThe righteous man walks in his integrity; his children are blessed after him.â€ (Proverbs 20:7)
Dad, you want to leave a legacy for your family? Live your life so your children can say, â€œMy daddy is a man of integrity and righteousness.â€ Can they say that today?
Perhaps they can. Well then give God the glory because you had nothing to do with it other than obeying His commands.
If indeed you live a life of virtue but lack discernment in the things of God, then it is time to add knowledge to your faith.
Weâ€™ll look at that next time…
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Copyright Â© 2013 David Jeffers