So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with good character, spiritual understanding, alert discipline, passionate patience, reverent wonder, warm friendliness, and generous love, each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books. 2 Peter 1:5 - 9 (TMSG)
In the first part of this series we began in the middle with “passionate patience”. Today we go back to the beginning, to basic faith. This, of course, is truly the beginning, because no list of personal characteristics is what makes a Christian. We are born into the family of God by faith, supplied by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
But Peter says to complement (add to) your basic faith with a number of God’s attributes. The Greek word used is the same from which we derive our English words “choreography” and “chorus”. In a sense that all movement in a dance routine is choreographed to support the main theme of a production, and a chorus is supposed to be a harmonious, pleasing, sensible presentation, the Christian life characteristics Peter will urge upon us in this passage are each dependent on all the parts. As Albert Barnes notes, let faith lead on as at the head of the choir or the graces, and let all the others follow in their order.
Peter begins with adding to our basic faith good character, or virtue. The essence of this is “manliness” or moral excellence. Peter says man up! This is the truest sense of what it means to live a Christian life, where a person’s character is excellent. It’s more “being” than “doing”.
It has been rightly said that reputation is what people think you do; character is what you do no matter what others think. And that is particularly true when no one happens to be looking.
If I am playing golf without a partner and hit a series of really wonderful shots, but then hit some miserable ones, I might develop a reputation of being a good golfer by only talking about the wonderful shots once I got back to the clubhouse. But true moral excellence in this case would be lacking. I would be adding lying to my character, not moral excellence. Peter says, man-up; tell the whole score.
True basic faith is actually proven and helps develop assurance of your salvation when telling the truth becomes more important to you than your reputation.
For You, Today…
Take an extra half-second each time you are about to begin talking to anyone. Use that pause to consider the full truth about that which you’re going to speak. Then make it a virtuous sentence, full of truth!