Brandon Gregory is a volunteer for the worship and missions teams at Church of the Resurrection. He helps lead worship at the Vibe, West, and Downtown services, and is involved with the Malawi missions team at home.
In today’s passage (2 Peter 1:3-8), Peter sets up a hierarchy of holiness for us to aspire to:
- Moral Excellence
- Self Control
- Affection for Others
The implication is that we have to master one before moving onto the next. Well, maybe not totally master it, but at least have a good handle on it. The idea is that these things build on each other, but also become more important as we move up the scale. So having faith is great and very foundational, but for us to reach our full potential, we have to master these things until we can start mastering love.
The problem I see far too often is that a lot of Christians are content to stop after step 2. There’s a lot of ugly rhetoric (particularly from many politically-minded believers on both sides) around getting everyone to behave with more moral excellence. Christians, as a group, seem to have taken on the responsibility of enforcing moral excellence in our country. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing–so long as it’s then followed by knowledge, self control, and all the rest.
Imagine if Christians were as zealous about inspiring others toward knowledge and self control as they were toward moral excellence. How would our country and the world be different if we were constantly pushing for these things? Now imagine if the ultimate goal Christians had was increasing affection for others and love in the world around us. What if our end goals, as a group, were acceptance and understanding?
If we changed our goals and agendas according to Peter’s hierarchy, I think the world would look different; but I think the political discussions I’m seeing daily on my social media feeds would look very different. We’re not likely to be done with political discussions, or any tough discussions, any time soon, so remember to add to these conversations knowledge, then self control, then everything up until our conversations are overflowing with love. It’s only then that we’ll see our true potential in chasing after God, and others will see it too.
Return to the GPS Guide to read today’s scripture and reflection questions.