How Can We Guard Against Being a Stagnant Christian? – Part 2

I know it doesn’t look like it, but believe it or not at one time I weighed 215 lbs, and none of that was fat. It was all muscle. But that growth didn’t occur overnight. I had to hit the gym hard — 3-4 days a week for 2 hours at a time.
Along with working out regularly, I consumed a few supplements, mainly, creatine and protein powder, which helped me grow stronger. That’s what supplements are supposed to do. They are supposed to help you grow by supplementing your normal diet and workout routine.

That is not only true of our physical body but of our spiritual life as well. If we want to maintain and even grow, we must supplement our faith with godly qualities. Doing so will keep us from becoming stagnant.

Now, a word of caution here. Working these godly qualities into your life doesn’t make you a Christian. You’re a Christian through faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. You can’t short circuit the process, faith comes first, just like getting a gym membership and working outcomes before taking supplements.

But once we have faith, we can and we should work these godly qualities into our life.

What qualities are we to work into our lives?

In verse 5, we learn that we are to make every effort to supplement our faith with:

Virtue – Virtue refers to moral excellence or character, which means we are to strive to be someone who lives an upright life. One that accords with God’s Word.

Knowledge – The knowledge to which Peter most likely refers is the knowledge of God’s will. If we are going to live upright lives, we need to know God’s will, which is only gained through reading and studying God’s word.

Self-Control – There are all kinds of temptations that are going to come at us from the world. If we’re going to consistently live according to God’s will and His way, we need to exercise restraint, we need self-control. So we must add self-control to our faith.

Steadfastness – Which might also be translated as endurance. The Christian life is not a sprint it is a marathon. If we are going to continue to live for God, we need endurance.

Godliness – Which means that we are to constantly seek to embody the character of God just like Jesus did.

Brotherly Affection – Which means that we are to care for and be devoted to our brothers and sisters in Christ just like we are to our own family.

Love – Not just any love, but self-sacrificial love. The love that drove Jesus to the cross and the Father to give up His only Son. That’s the type of love we are to have for God and for one another.

These are the qualities must supplement our faith.

If we supplement our faith with these qualities, we keep ourselves from becoming stagnant Christians.

I mean how can you be stagnant, if you’re actively seeking to grow in these areas? You can’t! That’s exactly what Peter tells us in verse 8:

“For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Pe 1:8)

So if you want to keep from being a stagnant Christian you need to actively work these qualities into your life. Which implies that we actually have to work at it. I like how one commentator puts it:

“We do not automatically become more virtuous as if God infused virtue into us intravenously; we need to make plans and expend effort.”

I know many of you wish that you could hook yourself up to an IV and look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in a few weeks. But it doesn’t happen that way. If we want our muscles to grow, we have to work them out. We have to take supplements.

If we want our faith to grow, we have to work it out. We have to supplement it with these qualities. That’s something that we must do. These supplements are not “nice to have’s”, they are foundational.

If you aren’t working them into your life

Peter says in verse 9:

“For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.” (2 Pe 1:9)

If we aren’t actively seeking to work these qualities into our life, we are living as if we are blind and as if our heart has not been cleansed from sin. But Christians are not blind. We have been made to see by Jesus. He has opened our eyes to the truth of the gospel and God’s word. As well as, our heart has been cleansed, it has been changed, we have been freed from sin’s grip on us.

As Christians, then, we should be actively working to supplement our faith with these qualities. We have no excuse! We not only know what we are supposed to do but we have the ability to do it.

Those who supplement their faith with these qualities, we are told in verse 10 that:

Assurance and growth will be ours

“Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.” (2 Pe 1:10)

So if you are questioning your faith, if you are wondering if you are God’s child? Look at your life and see if these qualities are present. If they are, and if you are actively seeking to work them into your life, you can be assured of your salvation and you will continue to grow. But if you find that these supplements are lacking in your life, you are either not a believer or you have grown stagnant in your faith. If that is you, you’re in danger. Not only are you living without assurance and the anxiety that comes with that. But you are in danger of stumbling, falling, and never finishing the race.

Next time

Next time we will keep our discussion going regarding how to keep from becoming stagnant.

Question for Reflection

  1. Are you working these qualities into your life?

Resources

Post developed from my sermon How can we guard against being a stagnant Christian?

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