Once you have made the decision to follow Christ, what’s next? How do we go about doing life the day after we have given ourselves to Him? Those who truly love Him want so much more than a “get out of Hell free” pass. We want to live in a manner that glorifies Him and sets us apart. But where do we start and how to we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus?
Fortunately, God did not leave us to figure this out on our own. To help guide us, He places His Spirit within each of us who put their faith in Him. He also gave us the instructions of His Word in scripture. His plan for our maturity can be found in 2 Peter 1:5-8. It’s a roadmap for how we should live our life.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8)
- After faith comes goodness – Once we put our faith in Christ, we must do the good works He created us to do (Ephesians 2:10). These works include caring for orphans and widows (James 1:27), feeding the hungry, caring for the sick and sheltering the poor and homeless (Matthew 25:31-46). We do these things because they are what Jesus would do, and because we want to be obedient to His calling on our lives.
- Gain knowledge – We mustn’t stop with simply doing good works in His name; we must study the Bible and learn all we can about His character and plan for our life. His Spirit within you will help you understand the things you are discovering.
- Practice self–control – Self control was a trademark in the life of Jesus, so we should seek to emulate this in our lives as well. We should be patient and slow to anger (James 1:19-20) so that His love might shine through us to others.
- Endure through trials – Jesus told us that men would hate us because of Him, but we must fix our eyes on Christ and persevere through whatever may come our way. We must stand firm until the end, and by so doing we will gain the reward Christ promised to us (Mark 13:13).
- Strive for godliness – As humans we will never be able to live a sinless life. However, this should be our goal, and we should seek to live each day in a way that is pleasing and brings glory to God.
- Treat others as you would have them treat you – Jesus said that we should treat everyone in the same way we wish to be treated (Matthew 7:12). Never consider anyone different because of their skin color, nationality, or belief system; rather, look on each person as your brother or your sister.
- Love people – Beyond just treating people with kindness, develop a genuine love for others. Don’t just be nice, invest yourself in their lives. Show them the love of Jesus through your words and actions.
By following His plan for living, you will move beyond a simple faith in Jesus to a full blown relationship with the Creator of the Universe. As a follower of Christ, this is the life you have been called to live. Believing in God is not enough (James 2:19); we must move beyond that faith and live in such a way that others will see God in us. In this way we glorify Him and continue the mission of His Son. In this way we become the person we were created to be.
Question: Which part of the plan in 2 Peter is most difficult for you to follow? You can share your comments below.