“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
We tend to judge people and situations by the outward appearance. We see an individual that looks a certain way and we make an assumption about them. I fall prey to that often, my husband is a quiet man but I tend to make the conclusion that something is wrong if he doesn’t speak to me first thing in the morning. Same with situations we face, if it appears a certain way be begin to release negativity into the atmosphere by speaking this isn’t going to work out in my favor, this or that is wrong. By falling into this habitual course of negative thinking we then develop a character of negativity.
2 Peter 1:3-11 tells us, “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 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. 9 For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. 10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 11 For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Let us break down this scripture to really absorb what God is saying in this text.
Verses 3-4 tells us that we have been granted or given certain gifts that aide us in achieving the standard of excellence God has called us into. No matter the situation or circumstance, we have a power that works on the inside of us that instructs and guides. We can live a life of holiness and godliness! How? By the knowledge of God given to us in His Holy Scripture. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” Yes, God is faithful family! He ALWAYS provides a way of escape!
Verses 5-6….virtue….what is virtue? It is a behavior showing high moral standards or excellence. Virtue is a primary vice in character building. We are to accompany this virtue with knowledge…knowledge of what? Gods will, His commandments, His directives for righteous, sanctified living. Then we are to practice self control which also goes along with virtue. Then steadfastness….whats this? It is to be firm in purpose, resolution or even faith. A person that is steadfast is unwavering in their purpose, resolution and faith. Immovable! We are to be steadfast in godliness….Wow! Unwavering in our resolve to follow Christ!
Verses 7-8 We are to have brotherly affection. 1 John 4:20 tells us, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? verse 21 also says, “And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters..” So you cant go through life faking it….this is a commandment. Yes we have people that bug us to the bone but when it boils down to this walk of faith. We are to show affection and love. Now don’t get me wrong here….I’m not telling you to be others footstool….don’t be foolish! Its a reverential love….a respect.
Now God begins to talk on qualities…these are your character traits….He says in verse 8 that they are increasing as we walk in the things that he commands us to do.
Verses 9-11 verse 9 really puts it out there….it says that if we lack in these qualities we are operating as a blind person…..which means we are operating as we did in the world when we had no knowledge or revelation of the truth. Wow!! How can we be saved by grace but still operate as if we have not clue of all the benefits of this walk? To blend in with the world completely ignoring the sacrifice that paid the price for our sinful nature, that cleansed us and we go jump into the pool of tar!
Here what 2 Peter 2:13-22 says, “Their destruction is their reward for the harm they have done. They love to indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight. They are a disgrace and a stain among you. They delight in deception even as they eat with you in your fellowship meals. 14 They commit adultery with their eyes, and their desire for sin is never satisfied. They lure unstable people into sin, and they are well trained in greed. They live under God’s curse. 15 They have wandered off the right road and followed the footsteps of Balaam son of Beor, who loved to earn money by doing wrong. 16 But Balaam was stopped from his mad course when his donkey rebuked him with a human voice. 17 These people are as useless as dried-up springs or as mist blown away by the wind. They are doomed to blackest darkness. 18 They brag about themselves with empty, foolish boasting. With an appeal to twisted sexual desires, they lure back into sin those who have barely escaped from a lifestyle of deception. 19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. 20 And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. 21 It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. 22 They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
What is the proverb Peter is referring to here? Proverbs 26:11 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.” Disgusting but true!!! Many so called believers do this every day. They profess to be saved but live a lifestyle of deception because their lifestyle does not reflect God.
What type of character are you building? One based on holiness or foolishness? Does your lifestyle depict service to God or service to satan? Time to reflect!
Meditation verse – Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.