January 28, 2012

The Supplement of Self-control

2 Peter 1:5-11

Make every effort to add to your faith … self-control …
2 Peter 1:5-6


Today’s Scripture reading lists a number of things that we are told to add to our faith. In a way like vitamins for our health, these virtues help give us a stronger, more well-rounded faith.

One of the virtues Peter identifies is self-control. When we see how Peter behaved in the time of Jesus’ teaching ministry (in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we might think he should not be someone to preach about self-control. Sometimes Peter was hotheaded and impulsive!

For example, when Peter was with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, a little more self-control on Peter’s part would have gone a long way to prevent Malchus, the high priest’s servant, from losing one of his ears (John 18:10).

Peter, however, became a follower of Jesus whose faith matured over time. Even more important, he was someone the Lord used to write his Word. So the instructions in 2 Peter are not so much Peter’s as God’s. God gets his message about self-control across through the example of someone who sorely needed it, and who was finally blessed to have it. (See Acts 10-12.)

Spiritual growth is a lifelong journey. Peter may have learned the value of self-control the hard way, but he did learn. Have you?

Help us, Lord, to work hard at making sure our faith is strong and vibrant. Thank you for giving us opportunities to see our spiritual progress over time. Amen.

About the author — Peter Hoytema

Peter Hoytema has been a pastor for nearly 30 years and has served congregations in Ontario and New Jersey. He is currently the pastor of a congregation in Strathroy, Ontario. He is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Grace, are the parents of four adult children.

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