Someone once told me, “You’re either green and growing or ripe and rotting.” In other words, you cannot stand still. This is true in every area of our lives.
Applying this truth to our spiritual lives, we must nurture a forward focus to our faith.
“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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sin. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-11)
Not only do these verses speak to those who are feeling unproductive and ineffective, it also emphasizes individual qualities we are to be adding to our faith.
A Now Focus
Our faith, being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1), should be moving forward; it should be progressing. For that to happen, we must understand how we can make progress toward perfection. Understanding Faith, what it is and what it looks like, is where we must start.
Goodness – Morality, kindness, generosity. Our faith comes alive in our goodness.
Knowledge – Knowing the truth. Gaining wisdom.
Self-control – Restraint from letting emotions control us.
Perseverance – Steady and persistent in a state of grace. Purposeful.
Godliness – Obedience to God according to his word and the prompting of his Holy Spirit.
Mutual affection – Sympathy for others. Caring about others.
All of these exist together and in increasing measure as our faith grows and we make progress toward perfection. A focus now on adding to our faith creates a forward focus and allows us to be effective and productive.