For many people, the pace of life has accelerated into an unrelenting and punishing race. Unnecessary and harmful stress can take a toll on us, but at the same time, activities such as parenting and caring for our family and our jobs are the ways that we make a difference in the world and find joy, fulfillment, and satisfaction. It’s natural to want to not just fulfill your obligations, but to get better at them. As Christians, it’s also important to grow and mature in our walk with Christ.
Second Peter 1:5–71 is an interesting Bible passage that gives a blueprint for how to not just live well, but how to continuously improve: “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 endurance; to your endurance add godliness; to your godliness add Christian affection; and to your Christian affection add love.”
Shortly after the Hebrews began their journey to the Promised Land, they turned from God and made a golden calf to worship. Most people have heard that story, but many aren’t familiar with what happens next: God tells Moses that He’s forgiven them, and that He’s sending an angel to guide them to the Promised Land, but that He won’t be going with them, because He might be tempted to destroy them along the way.
The Hebrews ask God to reconsider, and on their behalf, Moses pleads with God, “If you aren’t going with us, please don’t make us leave this place.”2 God is moved and relents: “I will do what you have asked, because I am your friend and I am pleased with you.”3
The amazing thing is that Moses and the people saw no value in going to their promised homeland, a place proposed to be flowing with milk and honey, if God wasn’t with them. Progress—even the ultimate fulfillment of all their dreams and hopes—was meaningless without God’s presence.
The apostle Peter’s plan isn’t an easy 1-2-3 checklist, and keeping up with it will be an ongoing, lifelong, challenge, that’s for sure. But as we keep our relationship with God in first place and do what we can practically, we can expect to grow and to find His blessings in our lives.
- Exodus 33:15 CEV