When we take the leap of faith and choose, for the first time, to make Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, our lives probably won’t change overnight. Typically, over time, the Holy Spirit will make us more and more like Jesus if, of course, we let him. I believe that Second Peter chapter 1, verses 5 through 9, outlines the order of progression every believer will take as we mature in our faith and surrender more and more to our Lord. It says:
“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, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”
If you really think about each of these levels of maturity, you might come to realize, as I have, that this progression makes sense. It is also revealing that the ultimate goal is love. Where in this progression do you find yourself? You might want to look at it more closely when you have time and really think about what each step means in your life. We can all be transformed from having faith enough to believe, to having the kind of Godly love that Jesus portrayed when he walked this earth.
If we allow the Holy Spirit to guide us in our maturity, we will learn that the progression Peter points out makes sense. You can’t really skip steps, and you can’t push through them in your own strength. You might find yourself struggling at a few stages, or conversely, operating on many of these levels at the same time. You might even falter or slip back a few steps on occasion. In any event, every one of these virtues are important. But the ultimate goal is love, which many of us will never fully reach. Though as Peter puts it, we need to make every effort.