“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

– 2 Peter 1:5-8 NIV

The challenge of sincerely seeking to live the Christian lifestyle is remaining tempered and balanced in understanding the true meaning of fulfillment and prosperity from the perspective of scripture in contrast to the world’s perspective. God told the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 16) that man looks on the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart. Most often, then, success (fulfillment) and prosperity, from the world’s perspective, is usually measured by position, power, prestige, wealth, property, possessions, etc.

If God looks at the heart of a man, fulfillment and prosperity may very well begin with measuring the progress one makes in becoming more like God, in conduct, actions and speech that reflects the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Jesus reiterated this concept through His teaching of the vine and the branches to His disciples in the gospel of John 15. We see this concept illustrated another way in 2 Peter, written by one of Christ’s disciples, Peter. Verse 5 of 2 Peter 1 begins with a statement (For this very reason) that supports the imperative of the information preceding verse 5. “Through these (God’s divine power of  His glory and goodness mentioned in verse 3) he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” – 2 Peter 1:4 NIV

Because of God’s divine power (glory and goodness), the provision of His word (great and precious promises) and Holy Spirit (divine nature), it is for this reason we should add to our faith, in increasing measure, the qualities Peter outlines in verses 5-8 of 2 Peter. Meaning, what impresses God more: a) an abundance of material possessions, wealth and worldly acclaim that He permitted, or b) a person who allows the fullness of the Deity to work in and through them for His glory that helps them to experience the fulfillment of being an image bearer? “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” – John 15:4 NIV

May God bless you and help you to abide in His word and participate in His divine nature to be effective and productive in your knowledge of Christ and experience the fullness of life Christ came for us to have.

 

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