I’ve discovered something about myself. This may come as a revelation to you too. That is this: things that require more effort are harder for me to do.
I know, that’s a revelatory statement. You’re probably thinking, “I clicked on this link to read that. What a waste of my time.” Well, before you click away, give me a second.
At SixEight Church we’re in a series going through these verses of 2 Peter:
2 Peter 1:3-7
3 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.
That’s a pretty powerful statement. God’s power has granted to us, given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Those things we need for life and godliness have been granted to us.
How have they been granted to us? Through the knowledge of the one who called us to his own glory and excellence. The calling placed on our lives is not one of mediocrity and averages. We are called to the same glory and excellence of the one who called us.
By this knowledge of holy one who has called us we have been granted/gifted with his precious and great promises. The knowledge we have of the holy God who called us is where we find the promises He has made to us.
And it is through these promises that we become partakers of the divine nature. It is through these promises and divine power that we escape the corruption that is in the world through sin.
But at this point, Peter creates a contrast. To now Peter has been talking about what has been granted/gifted/bestowed to us. And it’s all great stuff. But, he’s going to change course.
Make Every Effort.
Spoude. Pronounced spoo-day’. It means diligence. Earnestness in accomplishing, promoting or striving after anything.
You see, there’s the work that’s been granted and gifted to us. There’s the aspect of our faith that we have received freely. It’s awesome and amazing. But, the problem is, we stop there. We stop with the easy part. We’ve been given this great gift, but we don’t do our part.
What’s worse, is we often feel entitled to the outcome with out doing our spoude. We want God to just give us the fruit without making any effort to produce the fruit. And we get mad when God doesn’t make us the kind of people we think He should be making us into.
Even though we haven’t done anything to change.
Yes, there is the granted and given aspect of our faith. But, Yes, there is also the working, spoude, diligent, striving aspect of our faith. We have to “press on/strain toward the goal.”(Phil. 3) We have to “Do our best to present ourselves to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2)
We don’t become “spiritual giants” by waiting for someone else to make us one. We don’t become more like Christ by waiting for God to do all the work for us. Will God do the work in us? Absolutely. It can only be done through Him. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have any responsibility to work at becoming like Christ.
The problem is, I’m lazy. I don’t like doing things that require effort on my part. Can’t I just pay someone to do that for me? Isn’t there an easier way.
Samuel Johnson said: “What we hope ever to do with ease, we must learn first to do with diligence.” Faith may not come naturally to you at first, but if you make every effort you can in it, it will come more naturally to you. Virtue/Moral excellence may not come naturally. But if you work at it, strain and strive after it, it will come more naturally to you. Knowledge will not just magically appear in your mind. You have to work to attain it.
Instead of blaming God for not granting us our prayers for Him to do something in us that we’re not willing to do in ourselves, we should ask: “Am I making every effort?” Maybe we’re not there yet. “Am I making any effort at all?”
You and I will never grow in our faith, in our relationship, in our walk with God if we don’t make an effort.
How can we make an effort? Spend time reading his word. Read 2 Peter. Read it slowly. Read it once a day. It’s not long. If that’s too much, just read these 5 verses once a day. Think about it. Let it sink in.
Spend time praying to God. Just communicate with God, have an honest conversation with Him about your struggles. Ask Him to help you conquer this or that.
Worship Him. Humble yourself and exalt Christ. Humble yourself and lift Him up. Make sure you are not elevating yourself above God. Don’t make God a fairy or a jeannie in a bottle who exists to grant your wishes. Make much of him and less of yourself.
Our frustrations with our faith are nearly always because we’re not making an effort. What would change if you started making an effort today?
Probably a lot.
It’s time for some Spoude.