The Summer Growth Challenge 2015 project is written by Kevin Kusunoki. He loves mentoring students, watching baseball and reliving his days as the frontman of a boy-band.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith, goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 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.
One of the phrases that I kept coming across when I was trying to memorize this chapter was the phrase “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”. It came up so frequently that I sometimes nervously glanced at my Bible to make sure that I was reciting it correctly. But in studying the chapter over and over I realized that the “knowledge of our God” was the main proposition of the passage. Everything led to -- and resulted from -- a greater knowledge of Him. Through this knowledge we can live a godly life, remember His promises, and even escape the corruption of the world!
But what particularly convicted my heart were verses 5 and 6, where Peter described what was necessary to ensure that the knowledge of God wouldn’t go to waste. Goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance and godliness; okay, that all makes sense. Without these, the knowledge of God is useless. The next words however tripped me up: “mutual affection”. And what was even more strange was that it was at the end of the list! So essentially Peter identified a hierarchy of attributes necessary to add to our faith, and at the top were “mutual affection” and love.
Often when I think about needing to grow and mature in my faith, I think about developing more self-control or acquiring more wisdom. Rarely do I think about the need to develop more affection and love for people. It’s very telling that Peter makes the apex of Christian maturity the ability to love others well.
I think this is something we all need to take to heart. In memorizing scripture, we will inevitably come to a greater knowledge of who God is and what He has done for us. That knowledge however should not prop us up. Rather, it should lead to a greater “affection” for others. Perseverance, goodness, self-control, and godliness are all great, but if they do not lead to mutual affection and love, then we have squandered the gift of the knowledge of God.