Read: 2 Peter 1:1-11
Reflect: When I was a young man, I had a Bible teacher who was very instrumental in helping me come to faith in Christ. His nickname was “Buck”. It was a shortened version of his last name. Buck was probably the godliest man I’ve ever known. One day I asked him how I could as a young Christian grow spiritually quickly. Buck looked at me and he said, “Do you want to grow up to be a strong oak or do you want to be a cabbage head?” What did he say? “A cabbage head”?? It didn’t take me long to figure it out. Buck was telling me that it takes time to grow strong spiritually.
A head of cabbage grows quickly compared to an oak, but can easily be uprooted even when fully developed. Try pulling out an oak tree by hand- it will not happen. This is the picture that we see here in 2 Peter. We are an oak tree planted in the soil. God’s divine power is the rain that waters the oak and gives us everything necessary for life and godliness. His promises are the soil that our roots can grow deep into and cause us to partake of His divine nature. It’s His provision that causes the growth.
Yet, we are not meant to be passive observers in this process, but active participants. It takes effort on our part to grow in the same way that every healthy tree has to produce branches to grow. Peter’s list of virtues in chapter 1 are the branches. They are as follows: moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. Each virtue is a separate and vital branch that leads to a climactic conclusion which is a true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ! If we practice these virtues we will not fall, but instead stand tall as a testament to His marvelous grace. Like a mighty oak tree that has weathered the storms, spiritual growth takes time and effort, but it is worth it. Knowing Jesus in a deeper, more intimate way is God’s desire for us; it is the only path to true fulfillment in life.
Apply: Be diligent to make these virtues in 2 Peter part of your everyday life. Strive to be morally excellent. Gain knowledge by reading the Bible. Practice self-control with the Spirit’s help. Persevere in your faith. Live a godly life by being Christ-like. Care for other Christians and do everything from a heart of love. Peter says that “if these things are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The end result being that we will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Rich Jennings lives in Willow Street with his wife Michelle and two daughters Chloe and Emma. They have been attending Grace Community for two years.