Summary: Series No. 2: Because we are redeemed children of God, we are to live holy lives.
SEVEN SUPPLEMENTS FOR A HOLY LIFE
2 Peter 1 :5-8
A fouryear-old girl asked her mother, "Mom, how long is it until my birthday?" The mother responded, "Not very long, dear." To which the child responded, "Is it time for me to start being a good girl?" The little girl was being charmingly real, but she did not yet have a proper understanding of goodness. She sought to please her parents in order to receive presents. Christians should want goodness as a natural response of gratitude because of blessings received from God. Yet the little girl was right in a sense. It was time for her to start being good. If you are a Christian, it is time now for you to live a holy life. How can you start? Growth in holiness is helped by an intentional effort. We need a game plan to guide us in holy living.
The holy life is neither automatic nor instantaneous. It would be shortsighted for us to make no plan for growing in godly living. Second Peter 1:5-8 offers seven supplements for the Christian life. We are told here how to be holy. Think of these elements as a supplement a day, one for each day of the week. Peter portrayed the Christian life as both a gift (v. 3) and a demand (v. 5). Do your very best, he urged. Make every effort. Peter has unapologetically engaged our participation in the process. The admonition to supplement or add to your faith suggests furnishing qualities that will enhance faith.
Here are the seven supplements Peter named:
During these hot and hectic weeks of summer take a supplement a day. Each day of the week focus on one of these seven qualities. You may decide to keep a spiritual notebook on each of the seven supplements and write out reflections and reactions from your daily life. Develop a personal plan and be intentional.
1. Live a holy life by adding goodness. According to the New Testament, goodness is the attitude which the Christian is to maintain in all circumstances. It means exhibiting good behavior at all times. The practical issue of goodness is the kind of person you are becoming in character and conduct. Christians know this has much to do with the human heart; a good person brings good out of the treasure of good things in his or her heart; a bad person brings bad out of his or her treasure of bad things.
2. Live a holy life by adding knowledge.
Before explorers challenged the idea that the world was flat, certain coins of Mediterranean countries carried a picture of the Pillars of Hercules (at the east end of the Strait of Gibraltar) along with the inscription Ne plus ultra-"There is nothing beyond." After the discovery that the earth is round and that new worlds existed, the coins read: Plus ultra-"There is more beyond." Holy living is living with the certainty that there is more beyond more knowledge and understanding.
The knowledge of which Peter spoke is the knowledge of God. Growing in knowledge requires cultivating the capacity to distinguish between good and evil (see Heb. 5:14). To grow in Christian knowledge also requires discerning thewill of God. In Ephesians 5: 17 we find a challenge to understand what is the will of the Lord. Christians are challenged to stretch and expand their knowledge not only through study, but through learning from daily experience distinctions and discernments.
3. Live a holy life by developing selfcontrol.
This means controlling the desires rather than being controlled by them. Human beings can be mastered by their own lusts and passions. Then they become merely pawns of their appetites.
A running back for the Minnesota Vikings or a doctor of medicine or an accomplished pianist knows the value of self-discipline. For the Christian, self-control comes from submission to the control of the indwelling Christ. Peter forthrightly noted the necessity to restrain our sinful impulses and wayward thoughts that interrupt spiritual progress. There are powerful impulses to overeating, to drunkenness, to overwork that a Christian can and should resist through the grace of God. Indeed, at times the choice obviously or subtly turns on self-control or self-destruction.
4. Live a holy life by means of the supplement of endurance.
Perseverance in the face of trial and disappointment packs power. After all, life is not a single battle but a long campaign, not a short sprint to the finish line but a marathon. Holy living means patiently keeping on in the service of Christ regardless of what life may bring our way.
The political career of Abraham Lincoln was filled with setbacks. Twice he failed in business. He was defeated for the legislature. A sweetheart died. He had a nervous breakdown. He was defeated for Congress. He was defeated for the Senate. Then he lost in a campaign for the vice presidency. Finally, he was elected presi dent of the United States. What a testimony to the value of perseverance!