Add To Your Faith

Mike Focht 12/15/2023

One of Peter’s direct commands to believers is that they should diligently seek to add to your faith virtue. Peter knew that everyone’s faith could use some addition. He also knew what it was to be a sinful man, loving and following Jesus while learning to add Christ-likeness into every area of his life. That said, Peter’s virtues didn’t come all at once. Virtue was added day by day as he followed Jesus. 

   Peter must tell us to be diligent to add to our faith because most of us are only diligent about seeking to subtract from our faith. We know we need to subtract bad language. We know we need to subtract lustful desires. We know we must subtract selfishness, insecurities, pride, and all fleshly attitudes. But in our noble effort to weed out bad things, we often forget the responsibility of adding good things. 

   Sometimes, the answer to eliminating a nasty habit is adding a particular good virtue. Like Moses or Elisha of old, we periodically clean out bitterness or poison by adding something good like salt. One minister told a story about a town with a river running through it. Unfortunately, the river was overtaken by smelly red algae. They tried everything possible to take the algae out, but nothing worked. Finally, a wise old farmer told them to stop trying to remove the algae and plant willows along the banks of the river. It wasn’t long till willows ate up the nutrients that fed the algae, and the trees along the banks made the river all the more beautiful. 

   Some people become stunted in their spiritual growth because they always try to subtract sin when they really should add virtue. We cannot wait until all our sins are gone to pursue Christ’s virtuous character diligently. Maybe we need to focus a little less on what is wrong and a little more on planting a few willows along our path. 

   I am not inferring we should ignore sin. I am simply saying that Jesus doesn’t ask for perfection from His followers, but He does ask for progress. Jesus didn’t take everything bad out of Peter before He called Peter to follow Him. Jesus worked on conforming all of His disciples as they followed Him. Jesus planted some good seeds in their hearts daily and gave those seeds life through His Holy Spirit. Soon, there was much less space for the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches.

   Peter knows that if we keep adding virtues to our faith, we will become fruitful in no time! For it these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. These virtues will become our actual possession, a part of our character, not just momentary glimpses of virtue in a life full of sin. If we all added one virtue to our faith each year, we would quickly become godly men and women with little space for the weeds of the flesh.  

   We all need to do some subtraction. We often have to do a lot of it at the beginning of our spiritual walks. But we must listen to Peter and add to our faith as well! We must be diligent to keep adding to our faith because we will always be tempted to focus more on subtraction when addition may be our answer. For if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.