“And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge [self-control]; and to [self-control] [endurance]; and to [endurance] godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness [love]. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”II Peter 1:5-8
If you’ve ever attended Freedom That Lasts, then these verses might sound familiar to you. If you attend regularly, then you probably know these verses by heart. The curriculum of Freedom That Lasts (FTL) is built on these virtues and they build upon each other.
Each chapter of the first FTL book explores a virtue of Jesus Christ, uncovering sensitive issues of the heart, and then ends with the final chapter on love. Love is the pinnacle virtue as it is one of the hardest things to achieve. Love is difficult to achieve because there are people who are hard to love. My sinful heart is often revealed when I walk into a room and cringe when I see someone I don’t love. It is easy to love those who love you, but it is rather difficult to love those who oppose you or rub you the wrong way. I can honestly close my eyes and see the faces of those whom I struggle loving.
God does not command us to love just the people we enjoy, but He commands us to love everyone just as He did. The virtues of Jesus Christ are based on His walk with the Father, and they are an example to how we should live. He grew in knowledge and knew what was right. He was patient and kind even to those who sought His life. He was seen as a prophet even by those who did not believe because His walk was real and evident. He showed kindness like no one else, and He loved the world as He stretched out His hands and was nailed to a cross. He loved us despite our sin and unworthiness, and even died for the very men who nailed Him to the cross. His love is perfect and amazing and a holy example for us to follow.
How are you when it comes to the virtues of Jesus Christ? Do you have the knowledge of God’s Word? Are you reading His Word? Are you practicing self-control (saying no to self and yes to God) and endurance (continuing to do right no matter what)? Are you living a godly life? Do you exhibit brotherly kindness to your brothers and sisters? Do you love unconditionally or are you looking to work an angle? Do you love only those who love you or do you love and care for the ones who make you cringe? May we strive to live as our Savior lived, and may we show the love of Christ to a world who so desperately needs it.