2 Peter 1:5-8

All healthy life is fruitful.  That is, something that is truly alive and healthy will always reproduce healthy qualities or characteristics.  A healthy apple tree will blossom and bear apples.  A healthy tomato plant will produce tomatoes.  And a healthy human being who has received new life in Christ will reproduce Christlike character. It is something that is supernaturally produced by God’s Spirit.  I think of the fruit that is specifically mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.  In other words, these godly qualities are not something we can manufacture in our own efforts or strength.  We can’t take pride in them because they are self-generated.  Rather, they are the work of God and their source is God alone.

However, you and I have a crucial role to play.  It was the Puritan writer John Owen who said that we are responsible for “acts of obedience by which this fruit is preserved, increased, strengthened, and improved.” Our growth in Christian character is never finished until we go to be with Christ and are transformed completely into His likeness.  Not only is it progressive and unfinished, but it is absolutely essential for spiritual survival.  If we are not growing in godly character, we are regressing.  There is no such thing and spiritual stagnancy.  As Peter says, we must make every effort.

There is a sense in which we are growing our character every day.  The question is, in which direction are we growing?  Are we growing toward godly character or ungodly character?  Are we growing in love or selfishness?  In harshness or patience? Every day we are training ourselves by the thoughts we think, the words we say, the actions we take, and the deeds we do.

For more, read 2 Peter 1:1-15; 1 Timothy 4:7-10