For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. James 2:26.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God (אלהים) says:
Never dishonor yourself, you are a gift from Me to you—a gift of a unique and wonderful YOU who I planned before the creation of the world for just such a time as this and whom I want with Me forever. See your life as a precious gift that I have given you and never demean it.
And I AM a gift to you. Your creator, your father, your healer, your provider, your redeemer, your savior, and your LORD. And by My Spirit dwelling in and with you who believe in Jesus, you are a partaker of My divine nature and a temple of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus, I have cleansed you of all sin and made you righteous with My own righteousness. Awake to righteousness and walk in a manner worthy of the calling to My eternal Kingdom and glory that you have received and been equipped for.
How do you live in a worthy manner of your inherited righteousness? The righteous shall live by faith, but faith without works is dead faith, it will not connect you in an unrestricted pipeline of Heaven’s blessings. But you may be thinking that your righteousness is not earned by your works but simply by faith, and this is true, but I am not talking about works to obtain righteousness, I am talking about the works of righteousness. In other words, I have put you in Christ at the finish line of the Law, you are righteous with My own righteousness, and there is no higher righteousness you need obtain. But it does not stop there. Now you have stepped into the New Covenant and the age of grace, and you must go forward and walk in righteousness by living out the life of good deeds I prepared for you as a new creation in Christ. It is time for you to do the works Jesus did and to go on from there to greater works.
And in this Life Lesson, I am talking about the qualities that must be added to your faith for you to never fall to the devil’s tactics and to be fruitful in the good works of righteousness I prepared for you in advance in Christ Jesus. I am talking about the ingredients that must be added to and grow with your faith so that you may obtain all of My magnificent promises without hindrance to their flow into your life by works of unrighteousness. These works do not befit who you are but there are many believers who have not renewed their minds to who they are in Christ and are still yielding their bodies to sin, that is to acts of unrighteousness. And this not ought to be. So it is time to renew your mind and begin to walk in who you are.
And that is today’s life lesson about what to do when Satan attacks: “How to never fall.”
By inspiration of the Holy Spirit, My apostle Peter told you there are certain qualities you must grow in for faith to work. I will present the entire passage and then discuss it further:
“To those who have received the faith equally precious as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.” 2 Peter 1:1-11.
These are the qualities that need to be supplementing your faith so you can receive all I have promised and NEVER stumble.
Faith without works is dead. What that means is no matter how much faith you have in My Word if you are living in a manner contrary to My Word—such as worrying, bitter, unforgiving, gossiping, complaining, running up bills you cannot pay, being rude, living in sexual immorality, lying, cheating, or the like—your faith is not going to connect to Me as it should and you will not be able to stand up against the devil. Why? if you are walking with him in disobedience to My Word he has entrance into your life. This will clog your connection with Me and choke off the implanted Word which has the power to save you.
Without these qualities, that is, the ascending qualities of moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love, growing in your life your pipeline will be clogged, the faith bridge to My throne will be without support and will fall. And your life will be like the house built on shifting sand, when Satan throws up a storm it will fall. Your faith determines how much divine power flows to you. If you have one of these seven supports missing, the bridge will collapse. If you have one of these ingredients missing, you cannot complete making the whole pie of shalom.
The first quality you must supplement your faith with is “moral excellence.” This is walking in honor and integrity at all times towards yourself, Me, and others. It is a life lived in the Light with no hidden deeds of darkness. It is a pure life free of immorality and greed. “Blessed are the clean of heart for they shall see God.”
An example of this quality is found in the life of Jacob’s son Joseph. He could have been bitter, unforgiving, vindictive and depressed, but he was none of those things. He was growing the qualities within him mentioned above and he did not let outside influences rob him of his peace in Me. No matter what is going on around you, it does not have to get in you. And Joseph went through slavery and imprisonment without letting his joy and peace go down. And this was for thirteen years. He proved to be a person of moral excellence. He would not give in to Potiphar’s wife and yet he never tried to take vengeance upon her for her lies about him and the besmirching of his character. He blessed his brothers though they had cursed him. He refused to gossip, allow bitterness or unforgiveness any place in his life and made his work as a slave and his time in prison be fruitful in blessing those with authority over him. And he exercised his gifts for the good of others, even asking interpretations of the dreams of fellow prisoners while his own were not yet fulfilled. And when he was full of faith and virtue, I promoted him to handle all the riches of Egypt though he had never before managed money in his life. I knew he could be trusted.
“Whoever can be trusted with small things can also be trusted with big things. Whoever is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in big things too. If you cannot be trusted with worldly riches, you will not be trusted with the true riches. And if you cannot be trusted with the things that belong to someone else, you will not be given anything of your own. You cannot serve two masters at the same time.” Luke 16:10-14.
In Proverbs 6:16-18, I tell you that there are six things which I hate, yes, seven which are an abomination to Me: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers. These are things to avoid in order to have moral excellence. You see what they are: pride, lying, abusive behavior, thoughts that devise plans that harm others, and spreading strife and division among people, especially those of your family of faith.
That tells you that moral excellence consists of humility, truthful speech, kindness, compassion, and being a peacemaker. In Psalm 34, I put it this way: “Who is the man who desires life and loves many days that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:13-14.
And in Colossians, I tell you are to put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. You are no longer to lie to one another, since you have laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to My image. Colossians 3:8-10. You have been saved, and are to Me holy and beloved, likewise put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as I forgave you in Christ, so also should you. Colossians 3:12-13.
These Scriptures all tell you how to add moral excellence as you grow in your faith attached to the vine who is Jesus. And I will work in you both the desire and the will to do these things. But you too must use diligence to watch your thoughts and words so that you keep your tongue from lies and evil and your mind from proud thoughts. Instead be thankful. Be conscious of your words so that you do not hurt those who hear you but build them up. And I will give you the grace to do this but you must do your part like an athlete training for the Olympics must do his.
The next supplement is knowledge. Satan can only win over you if you are lacking in knowledge of who I am and what you have in Me. To know Me and My Will, you must know My Word. Many of you the problem is not the devil but the fact that you have not been diligent in renewing your mind with My Word. Faith comes by hearing and hearing My Word and so does knowledge.
I tell you about the knowledge you must add in 1 John 4:16, Ephesians 1:18-19, Ephesians 3:17-19, and Isaiah 11:2.
You may be wondering what knowledge you need to know. It is knowledge of My love for you. Have you come to know and believe in the love which I have for you? 1 John 4:16. And love consists in this, not that you have loved Me but that I have loved you and given you My Son as propitiation for your sins. 1 John 4:10. And this knowledge is not just that of your mind but it also involves the eyes of your heart- that you may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of My calling, what are the riches of the glory of your inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of My power toward you who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19. It is the knowledge that Christ dwells in your heart through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all My fullness, the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17-19.
So you see it is growing in knowledge of My love for you, who you are in Christ Jesus, and knowing the great hope and power to which I have called you that I am talking about here. It is knowing that you are citizens of My Kingdom and have full access to the riches and glory that abide there. It is knowing you can come to My throne of grace with confidence that you will receive mercy and grace just when you need them. Hebrews 4:16. It is knowing that in Christ you are holy and blameless in My eyes and that all things are yours in Him. Ephesians 1:4-7. It is knowing that you are righteous in Him with My own righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21. It is knowing that you are My child, My heir and a joint heir with Christ. Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-7. And all things are His. Every good and perfect gift. It is knowing that He emptied Himself and became poor so that you could become rich with all His righteousness, health, and prosperity. 2 Corinthians 8:9.
Next Peter writes that as you grow in the Word you will add self-control to your knowledge. For I have not given you a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7. Self control comes when you are full, when you are totally satisfied and have no need or room for anything further. And how do you have this fullness? By being filled with My Spirit, which is all the fullness of the Godhead. Ephesians 3:20. And one of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. Galatians 5:22-23.
And how do you get full? I tell in the Gospel of Luke that I will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Me for Him, Luke 11:13, and then I tell you in the Letter to the Ephesians how to be filled with Him on a daily basis: “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” Ephesians 5:18-20. And finally in the first letter to the Thessalonians I tell you another way to be filled with the Spirit and have self-control: “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19. So by singing psalms, hymns, and songs in the Spirit you become filled with My Spirit and from this self control follows. And if you keep in My presence, where there is fullness of joy, you can rejoice always, pray without ceasing (always keep up an inner awareness of My presence in your heart) and give thanks at all times, then self control follows. Depression and anger quench My Spirit. Avoid them by thankfulness and singing of joyful praise at all times. That is the key of David that opens the door of hope in the valley of trouble.
Next, as you grow in your faith, Peter writes that perseverance will be added to self-control. I define perseverance in the Letter to the Hebrews as living by faith rather than by your natural senses and circumstances. The righteous shall live by faith in My promises and not be swayed to doubt by circumstances that look contrary to My promises. Hebrews 10:36-39. And I desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the end so as to realize the full assurance of hope until you obtain My promise, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Hebrews 6:11-12. Perseverance is believing My Word and standing on it no matter how impossible it looks, and standing until you have what I have promised. It is being consistently constant in faith.
Next, after perseverance comes godliness. Godliness is being like Me; it is imitating Me as My dear children and walking in love. Ephesians 5:1. And how do you do that? I pour My love into your heart by My gift to you of the Holy Spirit so that you are so filled with My love that it pours out to others through you. The more filled with the Holy Spirit and the more you know of My love for you as shown in Christ Jesus the more you will love and be like Me. As you behold My Son, you will be conformed to the image of My Son, transformed from glory to glory by My Spirit in you. 2 Corinthians 3:18. Attach to Jesus by remaining in My Word, as a branch to the vine, and you will be like Him for you shall bear the fruit of the vine to which you are attached. John 15:3.
After godliness is added brotherly kindness. Brotherly kindness is compassion for others, especially those of your family of faith. Jesus told you that “A new commandment I give to you, that you may love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. And you love because I have first loved you. I have poured My love in your heart and covered you with the shadow of My hand. My banner over you is love. You forgive the way I have forgiven you in Christ, by the Blood. And as you realize how much you have been forgiven and how Jesus suffered to obtain that for you, as Peter knew first hand, that gives you compassion for all weak sinners for you were once one too until you came to Christ and became a saint in Him. The one who is forgiven much, loves much. The more you know what My Son went through to remove all sin from you, the more you will love.
In the Letter to the Ephesians I describe brotherly kindness for you in this way: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32.
And finally, in brotherly kindness comes love. Agape. Chesed. The love that lays down your life for the good of others. The love that makes you want to serve the needs of others. The love that makes others’ interests just as important as your own. The love that reaches out to Me with no self interest in mind but only consciousness of the great love I have for you. The love that is stronger than death, for in the end these three, faith, hope and love remain, and the greatest of these is love.
And this love will come to you the more you come to know and believe in the love I have for you. It is kindled at My throne and comes to you in the heart of My Son. It is the greatest gift of all. And you will abide in My love and be filled with that love for all eternity. Why not let it light your life now? It is the fruit of the flower that began as a bud after you first received Jesus as your Lord and believed that He bore all your sins and that I raised Him from the dead in glorious splendor as your High Priest before Me.
And when you know and experience this great love that I have for you everything that you once thought so important and desirable will fade into nothing, mere rubbish as Paul called it. And then you can write with Paul: “If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:31-39.
So, we have taken quite a journey into how you grow in virtue, but to sum up, once you believe and are born again you will grow in the faith if you are diligent to renew your mind in My Word to a new way of thinking. And as you grow from faith to faith led by My Spirit in you, first you will begin to walk in moral excellence (no longer lying to and abusing one another for as you grow you will no longer be comfortable with these things but will rejoice in the truth), then knowledge which will lead to self-control, then perseverance which will then add godliness, then brotherly kindness which will lead to perfect love. And perfect love casts out all fear and bonds us together forever.
And if you are diligent in growing in this way so that these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of Jesus Christ through whom you receive the gift of righteousness and the abundance of grace so that you reign in life through Him.
There are many believers, however, that never grow because they do not read or spend time in My Word or with Me in prayer. They do not understand all that Jesus has done for them in His finished work. They have no true knowledge of Him.
And I tell you that when believers who have heard the good news lack these qualities that Peter has listed, know that they are that way because they are blind– short-sighted– having forgotten that they have purification from their former sins. They still see themselves as sinners who are trying to avoid My punishment. Do not see yourself this way in Christ. You do not understand what I did for you in giving you My Son and condemning and punishing ALL your sins upon Him if you feel this way and keep Me at a distance.
Therefore, you who believe in My Son, be all the more diligent to make certain to know that I have called and chosen you in Him before the world began.
So attach to the vine and grow thereby. For as long as you grow in and practice these things that I have listed for you in Peter’s second letter, you will never stumble and you will be fruitful; and in this way your entrance into the eternal kingdom of your Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you. 2 Peter 1:10-12.
Remember that you are one to be welcomed, for as He is so you are by grace. You will eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom.
A merited crown awaits you. Just as it did Peter. And he did finally get his heart’s desire to make good his words that he declared to Jesus that night when he later denied Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” Luke 22:33.
And there are more crowns than one that await you who persevere in love. The crown of righteousness, the crown of life and the crown of glory are all revealed to you in My Word.
I love you. Grow on My Word. Let it dwell in you richly. Let Me, the God of Shalom, sanctify you entirely so that your spirit, soul and body are preserved complete, without blame at the coming of My Son. I who call you am faithful and I will bring it to pass. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24. And if you do these things you will never fall. The devil never walks in integrity and honor, so if you do no matter what others do he cannot match your stride, he falls out of the game.