ADD AGAPE

The seventh virtue to add is finally before us as we conclude this study of the seven characteristics of a godly life outlined in 2 Peter. “Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) 

This word is special not because it was the last virtue Peter shared but because it is the key to making all the other virtues meaningful. Sacrificial love is to be our hallmark expression of Christ living in and through us. We are not instructed to like everyone, we are told to love everyone. This is not the Philadelphia kind of love talked about last week, no; this is the kind of love Jesus Christ our Lord displayed when he went to the cross. This word used by Peter in verse 7 is “agape” love. When we demonstrate brotherly love we love because we like someone else but with “agape” love we love in spite of the differences we have. This is the kind of love that God shows towards sinners. It’s the kind of love that loves even when it gets no love in return. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) 

To cap-off this discussion it is important to remember that as a Christ-follower you have a divine nature and you can grow spiritually and develop these seven Christ-like characteristics because of the power and precious promises of God. It is in your spiritual “DNA” to do so. God intends you to be “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29). As this image is reproduced in us, the process does not destroy your own personality. You still remain uniquely you! The danger is to imitate a pastor, teacher, church leader or some famous Christ-follower. If you do this you destroy your own uniqueness while failing to become like Christ. You end up losing both ways! Just as each child in a family resembles their parents and yet is different, so each child of God’s family comes more and more to resemble Jesus and yet is different. Parents don’t duplicate themselves, they reproduce themselves. Wise parents permit their children to be themselves. Be diligent to cooperate with God and use the tools he has lavishly given you to develop and grow into the Christ-follower that is YOU!

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