We’re talking about being lights, shining in the darkness of this world. And how just a little light can penetrate the darkness in a person’s life. That light isn’t something that you produce in and from yourself. It’s the light of the Lord that shines through you, as a born-again child of God.
The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith. And that faith doesn’t originate with us, it’s the gift of God, so that no one can brag or boast or think they’re any better than anyone else, because salvation is the free gift from God.
Without faith, no one can be saved. And fortunately, Romans 12 verse 3 says that God has given to every person the measure of faith. In other words, God has given faith as a gift to every person. When you draw on that faith from God, you call on the name of the Lord, in repentance and you will be saved.
Once you come to know the Lord, it’s not long before you realize that you need to grow, that God is drawing you to Himself, so that you can know Him better. The Spirit of God on the inside of you begins to work powerfully in your spirit and He works in you day and night, bringing changes and growing you.
There are seven areas that God wants to have added in your life, alongside your faith, that will cause light of God, and the character, the nature of God, to be revealed in your life, and will touch the lives of other people.
Second Peter 1:5-7 talks about them, and reveals what God is wanting to do in your heart and life. You have faith. That’s how you got saved, acting on that faith, calling upon the name of the Lord. But then, there’s more that the Spirit of God is wanting to release into your life.
Number one, is what the Bible calls Virtue. Verse 5 says, “Add to your faith, virtue.” Virtue means a lifestyle of high moral standards. It has to do with morality, being ethical, having integrity, being honest, being able to be trusted, loyal, things like that.
We’re in a culture that is not moral and is unethical. It is filled with people who lack integrity, who are dishonest. People are disloyal and untrustworthy. God is working in us to shine as lights in the darkness. He is making a difference in the lives of those who know Him and those who don’t. Having faith is what opens the door for the Holy Spirit to work these other virtues into your life.
A lot of people have, on some level, come to the Lord, and want to go to Heaven, but there's not much evidence of that in their lives. But Jesus wants to be Lord of ALL our lives, not just during a Sunday church service or Bible study. As Lord of our lives, He has a way that He wants us to live, and how our relationships go, and how we conduct ourselves in our day-to-day lives. Your day-to-day life matters to Him.
It’s our day-to-day lives that speak to people. Our day-to-day lives are where our testimonies are lived out, and that is one reason the Holy Spirit wants to keep working in our lives day by day.
Virtue overcomes the sin in our life, because even if your flesh enjoys a particular sin, virtue is contrary to sin, and the presence of God’s virtue in our life highlights the ugliness of the sins that we are so drawn to.
That’s part of what God is talking about in Romans 8 verse13, where it says, “Through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature.” God doesn’t intend for you to struggle and struggle with trying to overcome sin. The Holy Spirit Himself break the power of that sin off of you!
That virtue, the honesty, the integrity, the being committed to letting the Lord have His way in your life, will cause you to move ahead in the things of God.
Number two is knowledge. Still there in 2 Peter 1 verse 5 it says, to add to your faith, knowledge. God expresses over and over how He wants us to grow in knowledge. And to not be ignorant of spiritual and biblical truths. God wants us to know His will and to know His word, and to know how to walk out the life that He has planned for us.
We need to know the word of God, so we can know his will. The only way to know the will of God is to know the word of God. We need to know what God wants, and we need to know how to respond.
It also takes knowledge to overcome the enemy. It's through knowledge of how he operates that we can avoid his traps. 2 Corinthians 2 verse 11 says that we are not ignorant of the devil’s schemes, his devices, how he operates. his devices. You can’t overcome by faith, if you don’t have the knowledge of where to apply your faith or how to walk in faith, or even what to say in faith.
If a person does not know the word of God, they will be easily tempted and readily led astray. False doctrines are abundant out there, and false teachers and untruths are filling peoples’ minds. Our calling is to live out the truth, to speak the truth, to demonstrate the truth so people can have the knowledge that sets them free. Jesus said in John 8:32, that you shall KNOW, that’s knowledge, and the truth shall make you free!
Number three is self-control. He says in 2 Peter 1, verse 6 to add to your faith…self-control.
We can have faith, we can have virtue, we can have knowledge, but if we don’t have any impulse control, we’ll make a mess of our lives. Think of the messes people have gotten themselves into all because of a lack of self-control! Out of control spending, out of control eating, out of control drinking, out of control tempers, out of control sexual drives and desires, out of control ANYTHING can mess up a person’s life. So many health problems come from out of control appetites and habits, that after a while, even the person engaging in them doesn’t enjoy.
Virtue and knowledge will help with self-control, because they help us set standards in our lives, and establish boundaries. Things we just won’t do, or won’t say, areas where we set limits and don’t push those limits. Renewing our minds to the word of God will help reveal those limits and boundaries.
You can spend years doing the right thing and yielding to the spirit of God, and then in even just one act, one moment, one evening, one weekend, undo it all, and bring shame and humiliation to yourself. Plus, it makes such a bad impact on the people around you! The Lord wants to help you keep your life and heart under His Lordship.
Too many people have been put off by the sins and inconsistencies in the lives of Christians. They know enough to expect a difference on our lives, and that difference is revealed when we are not out of control, but are under the Holy Spirit’s control.
Number four is Patience. 2 Peter 1:6 says that to our faith we need to add patience. We need to know that God loves us, His timing is perfect, and sometimes he has a different timeline, and different schedule than we do. We need to not give up when things aren't happening as quickly as we wish they would.
Patience is a major thing! We need to be patient with God, when it seems like He’s dragging his feet in responding to our prayers. We need to be patient with other people who are acting or doing as we think they should. We need to be patient with our family and loved ones, our Christian brothers and sisters, our Pastor and leaders. Having faith means we need to also have patience.
We also need to be patient with ourselves. Sometimes, when it takes so long for us to get better, we lose patience with ourselves, and just want to give up. Never doubt that the Lord is working in your life day and night, making you stronger and better every day, even when you don’t realize it.
In fact, the Bible says that it is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God. That’s Hebrews 6:12. If we’re not patient, we’ll settle for the first thing or first person who comes along, and end up with the wrong thing, or in the wrong relationship. We’ll just go for the quick and easy answer – and that rarely is God’s best for us. People have married the wrong person, because they were lonely and desperate. People have settled for the wrong job, it was available when they were broke. Impatience can cause all kinds of problems, sorrow and even misery in a person’s life. That’s why God wants to be sure that you get patience in addition to your faith.
The fifth thing to add to your faith is godliness. That’s also in 2 Peter 1:5-6. Godliness is being how God would have us to be in all we do. That’s how our testimony to other people gets stronger and more powerful more effective.
Godliness is a commitment to serving and pleasing God, being intentional about serving and pleasing Him. Doing everything for that Audience of One. It’s about aiming to please Him instead of pleasing ourselves. Romans 15, verse 3 says that even Jesus didn’t please Himself, so that He could please the one who sent Him. When the goal of our faith is to please the father in all things, it gives us a focus and a power that can come no other way, and can make your life impactful in a way that nothing else can.
Number six is a big one, one that a lot of religious people miss. That’s brotherly kindness. That’s in 2 Peter 1:7. A lot of people have religion and say they love God, but they seem to not love anybody else. They can come off as critical, faultfinding, hardhearted, angry, temperamental, moody and really not at all pleasant to be around!
In fact, even nonbelievers know that Christians ought to be caring, gentle, loving and not judgmental or critical of everyone else. The way we treat people, the way we talk about people really DOES matter. We are the light of the world, and are shining the light of Jesus, the character of Jesus wherever we go.
Jesus wasn’t known for running around criticizing people and being hateful. He wasn’t selfish. When a person was fallen, He didn’t stand there and criticize them, or tell them that it served them right! He lifted them up, and let them know that their falling and failing would not keep them away from the love and cleansing of God.
When the multitudes were hungry, Jesus didn’t yell at them for forgetting to pack their lunches – and then take the little boy’s lunch so he could eat it by himself! No! He displayed what we know as brotherly kindness, knowing how it feels to be hungry, to hurt, to be in need. And as His followers, that’s what we demonstrate, too!
One of the best ways your light can shine in the darkness is through brotherly kindness. Treating people as people and not as labels. Not as enemies. Not as “less than.” Showing brotherly kindness is a major way that you can shine the light of Jesus into this dark world.
Then, number seven. Love. Add the other six qualities to your faith, and then, the greatest one, which is love. The Bible says the greatest is love. God tells us that love is what activates your faith. Galatians 5 verse 6 says that faith works by love. Your faith won’t work without love as the motivator and the carrier of it.
Love is active. Where brotherly kindness is many times reactive, love is active. Reactive means, that you might see someone needing help and then try to help them. Or a person that is hungry and then feed them, like Jesus did for the multitudes. Love is ACTIVE.
Love SEEKS to help. Love looks for the opportunity to make a difference. To ease a pain. To meet a need. Love helps you to be patient, to be kind, to not be easily offended. Love drives you to believe the best about God, about people and about situations. It’s love that causes you to reach out to someone who may be in need. To make that call, to send that text even to share a video that could encourage them in their faith and their walk with God. Love causes you to pull alongside someone who may need help and encouragement and work with them at their own speed, and believing that you’re making a difference and that the Lord is working in their situations, for His glory. That’s what love does, when coupled with faith.
So, those are the seven things to add to your faith, to intensify the light of God shining into the darkness around you. It is what not only gives you vision, but helps you to act on that vision. The inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Edison said that “vision, unless acted on, is a hallucination.” Faith without works is dead. The light that you shine, will pierce the darkness in you and around you. That’s why down in verse nine, Second Peter says that “If anyone lacks these things, they are blind.”
I believe that the Spirit of God will quicken these words in your spirit and will cause the light of God to shine brighter and brighter IN you and THROUGH you, for your good, for those around you and for His glory!