Summary: Spiritual Growth is important! In this series we’ll use 2 Peter 1 as a blueprint for the areas we are called to continually add to our faith as we grow spiritually. This week: Goodness
Growth by Addition
Last week we began a series titled Growth by Addition. In this series, we are challenged by a passage of scripture in 2 Peter to never stop growing in our faith. We are challenged to add to our faith certain things in “increasing measure.”
2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV)
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
You could almost see each challenge like a new level in school. When you were in first grade you were learning the basics in reading, writing and mathematics. At the end of the school year if you had learned enough, you graduated to the next level to add to what you had already learned.
Did that mean you stopped using the basics? No, they became a part of your intellectual repertoire, and as you continued through school you became more prepared for where life was going to take you.
But, just as in school, the less you invested in adding to your knowledge, the less you grew. Our spiritual growth is no different. We’re going to have to truly discipline ourselves to see growth take place!
Last we discussed our faith, and even though it is the foundation (or starting point) in a life of spiritual growth, we can still be growing at this level. Today, we graduate to the next level, “Goodness”.
On the surface level, this might seem like the natural next step. Through salvation, Christ has set us free, therefore we ought to naturally change our lifestyle completely with no problem right? It’s harder than we think.
So today, just as last week, let’s look at how we can Grow by Adding to our Faith Goodness:
1. Define Good
A couple years ago I asked Pastor Geri to quiz some of the kids in Children’s Church with the question What is Good?
Abby – to share
Liberty – prayer
Mavric – the crackers
Megan – Not yelling at Mom and Dad
Chase – Not disobeying Mom and Dad
Jamieson – Not lying to Mom and Dad; obeying
Adam – Being kind to others and giving
Jimmy – Giving rides to people walking
Hudson – What you do
These are cute, but they are also quite telling aren’t they? This shows me that from early age we can comprehend some basic understanding of goodness.
Everyone will define “Good” at some point during their lifetime, but not everyone will get it right! Imagine if we took some of these kids 15 years from now, and through whatever circumstance, this was the only real definition of what it means to be “Good” that they had developed. Chances are they’re going to be living life “The Hardway” aren’t they?
This example may seem extreme, but there are Christians living life today with the same simple mindset of Goodness. “As long as I don’t do certain sins, I’m good!” Meanwhile their family is falling apart, or they’re struggling with some kind of addiction, or sitting in church feeling unfulfilled and empty.
Goodness in us goes beyond our perception of what is Good. Goodness has to become a lifestyle! But before you take on something as fully as this, you’ve got to understand it!
In man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.
(Easton Bible Dictionary)
I like this definition because it says that we have to choose, goodness. It doesn’t just happen! Automatically, this should challenge the heart to go beyond the “Salvation Experience.” Yes, you have been forgiven and set free, but now you have to choose to continue to live that out!
But what does that mean? Goodness can be subjective nowadays right? Just ask someone their opinion on any given movie, or book!
So for sake of discussion, let’s define Goodness as Moral Excellence; and in doing so recognize that we need a standard by which to judge what is morally excellent:
A. GOD IS GOOD.
We must believe that God is infallible.
Psalm 100:5 (NLT)
For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.
We must recognize His word and commands as truth (Importance of Reading God’s Word)
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)