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For this very reason do your best to add goodness to your faith; to your goodness add knowledge; to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add perseverance; to your perserverance add godliness; to your godliness add brotherly kindness; and to your brotherly kindness add love. These are the qualities you need, and if you have them in abundance, they will make you active and effective in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8

It’s funny, the Bible tells us that God is Love - that is the end to which we are striving to become. That is the epitome of our existence.

There are steps that we climb to achieve this ultimate love. But before we climb the steps, we have to possess faith. It is our very foundation.

No one can give us faith, it is something that the Bible says comes from hearing and the hearing comes from the Word of God. The more we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, the more we hear God’s Word preached, the more opportunities we have for our faith to grow.

As our faith begins to grow, our goodness should increase. We know that our good deeds do not earn us a place in the Kingdom of God, but because we are grateful for what Christ did for us, we want to please God, our Heavenly Father. We want to be obedient children and be a blessing to God and to all those around us. This is a quality of the Father that we want to exhibit. The Holy Spirit helps us, by pointing out our sins and helping us crucify our flesh of these sins, one at a time. It is usually a process, making us more like Jesus, day by day.

To goodness we are to add knowledge. How do we do that? What can we possibly do to make ourselves smarter?

It is amazing how the Holy Spirit works in this area. God is all-knowing, He created everything in the universe and knows all about everything. If we have faith in Him and know that He loves us and cares about us, if we are truly wanting to be just like Jesus, God knows this and if we have a question, He will give us the answer. This is one of those super-natural, mysterious ways of God.

How many times have we lost something, keys, books, phone numbers, papers? Have you ever prayed for God to reveal something to you and found it almost immediately?

The knowledge of the universe is at our disposal through the Holy Spirit. Many times I have been stumped about trivial things, like what I should wear. At other times, I am stumped by mechanical things, how can I fix this computer? God has the answers to all these questions. All we have to do is ask.

To knowledge we are to add self-control. This is a very difficult godlike quality for us to possess. It means that we have to crucify the fleshly desires that want to rule us.

Our minds are where most control issues originate. We want something, not necessarily because it is a physical want, but because we ‘think’ we need it. When we begin to possess self-control, we ignore the part of the flesh or brain that says we desire something unless we check with God first. It is more of God-control than self-control.

It is really giving up self and relying on God. As we grow in our relationship with God, we realize what actions would be pleasing to God and what actions would not glorify Him. Since we want to glorify our Heavenly Father with our very lives. we will choose to do the ‘Christ-like’ things.

Perseverance is the next godly quality that we are to increase in. This is a quality that can only be increased by repeatedly doing the right thing in the right manner that is pleasing to God and in a ‘Christ-like’ way.

To persevere means ‘to continue steadfastly in a thing and give unremitting care to it.’ according to Vines. That is to say that we have a focus, it is to possess godly characteristics. With that goal in mind, we continue each day towards that end.

There will be days when we may falter, we may even forget the ultimate goal at times, but if we can just persevere, day by day, we will continue the climb to ‘love’.

After persevering, we make the climb to godliness. Godliness is a godward attitude. It reminds us of who we are in Christ. We are new creations, we are God’s children. He loves us with the same deep, abiding love that He has for Christ, because when God looks at us, He sees Jesus.

We need to understand this oneness with Christ and live as though we believe it. We are indeed ‘children of the king’. We are royalty-we are priests. God expects us to act accordingly.

We cannot go around doing the things that we did before we realized our heritage. The more that we know about our maker, the more righteous we become, not because of anything we do or because of anything we deserve, but because we were chosen and because Jesus died for us. That is what gives us the clothes of righteousness.

Brotherly kindness is a direct result of this godliness. If we do not have brotherly kindness, we are not truly exhibiting godliness, it is a fake form of godliness.

God loves everyone equally-he is not a respecter of persons. He doesn’t love Billy Graham any more than he loves Jeffrey Dahmer. In His eyes, we are each a child of his. Why would he expect us to behave any differently than he does?

We can’t be more kind to a brother who has a nice home and fancy car than to our brother who is homeless and in need of a bath. This brotherly kindness we exhibit is to be exactly the same way that God would be kind, without favoritism. A brother, is a brother, is a brother.

Jesus instructed us to love your neighbor as yourself. Our neighbor is our brother. If we are indeed children of God, if we are priests, if we are royalty, why would we not see that in our brothers? Christ died for them also-they have as much right to forgiveness and eternal life as we do. We didn’t earn a place in heaven and they won’t either. They just haven’t heard the word enough yet to develop that faith which is the foundation. Whose place is it to share the word? Jesus said, "therefore go and make disciples of all nations.”

To brotherly kindness we are to add love. Love, the gospel in one word is Love. The Bible tells us that ‘God is love.’ ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever would believe in him would not perish but have everlasting life.’

This true perfect, holy love is not conditional, it is not a love based upon our actions. God loved each one of us, before the foundation of the world. He knew that we would be sinners and would need a savior. He loved us anyway. He knew that some people would reject his offer of eternal life, but he loves us anyway. His love is so unmovable, so perfect, so unbelievable! That is how we are supposed to love-can we do it?

Mother Teresa was able to love that way. She didn’t look at the outside of people, it was almost like she looked into their very hearts and saw what God sees in each one of us. A person of worth and value, a person created in God’s image, just waiting for a relationship with the Almighty God.

How can we love like that? We can’t, not on our own. But with the power of the Holy Spirit and with the purposeful dying to self, with perseverance we can ask God to love the unloveable people in our pathways. He wants to love everyone and it is God’s will that all men will come into a knowledge of Him.

How can we show the love of God to someone today? Jesus said if we did anything to the least of these, we did it for him. Food, clothing, shelter, meeting the basic needs is a good way to begin to show love to our fellow ‘earth travelers.’

Heavenly Father,

We want to be more like Jesus, but we know that it can only happen with the help of the Holy Spirit. Teach us today to grow into ‘little Christs’. We submit our wills to your will. We choose to be your children and live like children of the king. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen

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Comment by Janice Garey on February 25, 2010 at 11:01pm
Marsha, I think I understand from what you said that He wants to claim us all as His children, born again in the spiritual manner, related through the blood of Jesus, but not everyone is ready to accept His gift. He does love us all. Jesus did die to cover all the sins of the world, past, present and future. We do need to be about the business of sharing the good news! Thank you for highlighting that Bible verse in my mind today.
Comment by Marsha Mundy on February 25, 2010 at 10:40pm
Janice, I agree with you that the blood of Jesus truly makes us children of God. But the point I want to make is that Jesus died for everyone in the world. Everyone has the potential to become a child of God through Jesus' blood. Those who don't know about that saving grace are important to God and it is up to us, as Christians, to share that good news through brotherly kindness. Jesus instructed us to go into all the world and spread the hope that He died to give. I hope that helps.
Comment by Janice Garey on February 25, 2010 at 9:13pm
I really like your use of the visual illustration to go along with your wonderful post. I do have a question about one thing you wrote and that is about us all being God's children. I know in the physical sense we are His creation, made in His image, full of potential, but in my mind we are not His adopted (into the kingdom) "children" until we are saved by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross and accepted by us as God's gift to us. I hope I have made my point clearly enough so that you might help me to have a better understanding. Is it accurate to say we are all God's children?

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