... 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, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, 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
I have heard this scripture preached for years but never paid attention to the process it describes. Today, after reading it again, these thoughts came.
The Bible tells us that believing in Jesus is a commitment process. Following His teachings and living a life like His should be our goal and our whole life should be straining toward that goal.
So, you've accepted that Christ was and is, now you will want to lead a better life. How do you do it? Maybe following the progression in the scripture above will help.
Try goodness for starters: Do something good for someone. Simple? Yes, but you must act and not just think. Continue walking this path as you...
gain more knowledge about Jesus. Reading the Bible, especially Jesus' words, is a good start toward what He expects from us. This is a life-long process since He reveals new things every time we read.
Try a little self-control. Start with the little things and work (yes, I said "work") at it. This does not come easy for one who has had no control over his/her own life.
Gaining control over oneself takes perseverance. It is a stick-to-it road and not something that comes over night. Persevering puts us closer to Christ because it is a sacrifice to stick with it.
As we grow in all these things we gain godliness, thinking and doing things as God would. We listen to our "leanings" toward godliness and act on those thoughts and feelings from the Holy Spirit.
We look for others with whom we can share our God-experience...those who share this passion to be more godly. We find a mutual affection with them and we work together for good and God. That affection helps us reach out to non-believers to share His hope with them.
Then we can truly love because we can better understand God's love for us.
Each is a step in the right direction. Should one decide that it is just too difficult to do all this, then he/she does not really want to be an effective and productive Christian. (Sitting in a pew is much easier.) Yes, we stumble but He picks us up. We then start on the path of love again where we got off because our goal is to be like Him and live with Him in His Glorious Forever.
It's not always easy to be a Christian, especially in our fallen world, but it is not impossible. We just have to take it step by step everyday. You may have to start at the top some days but this progression has been given to us for a reason...to gain a love like His.