Welcome to My Thoughts and the seventh of eight segments of Faith for the Believer series. In previous segments, I have talked about the measure of faith, uncommon faith, the aggressive nature of faith, the seven steps to grow your faith, tips to keep and share your faith and to stay in the lane of faith. In this segment, Companions of Faith, I will talk about how faith has companions to help us grow and strengthen our faith.
We know the foundation of faith is believe and receive. Two excellent companions to start out growing your faith, but it can be frustrating. You are reading the Word every day and making the right confessions. Then you notice something is not working. You are not seeing results.
The Missing Ingredient
The temptation comes across and you think, “Maybe I just need more faith.” Here is some food for thought: What if you don’t? What if your faith is just where it should be, but you’re missing another key ingredient?
An example is when you bake a cake, you need the right amount of each ingredient. If you don’t have eggs, you can’t just add more flour and think it’s going to turn out right. The same is true of faith. If something isn’t working, you can’t just double up on faith. Faith needs something added to it.
Where is the recipe for faith that works? Open your Bibles and turn to 2 Peter 1:5-7. In this passage of Scripture lists the seven companions of faith to keep us on course and cause our faith to work. Faith itself is not a substitute. If something isn’t working, you can’t just throw more faith at it. You need all of these companions of faith to see a manifestation and victory in your life.
“Add to your faith, virtue” –2 Peter 1:5b (NKJV)
Virtue in this verse is translated as moral excellence. The world mocks morality, but God is a moral God. The government may legislate things as acceptable, but if God doesn’t call it moral, it doesn’t matter who else does. You can legislate sin all you want, but it’s still a sin. We go to God’s Word, not the world, to find our standard of moral excellence.
A lot of people want to give Jesus their heart but stop short of giving Him their lives. If He’s Lord of your life, He wants to have something to say about how you live, what you say and do, and who you fellowship with. All those things matter to Him because you matter to Him. Having virtue doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It means you’re putting in effort and making progress. It means you’re producing fruit. It is who we are when no one is looking.
Sin Out and Virtue In
Sin puts us right into the devil’s territory, and when we’re in his territory, he has a right to attack us. Sin binds people and takes them captive. Jesus came to make you free. Virtue won’t ever willingly participate in anything that is going to hold you captive.
So, how can you get free from sin? The only way is if you decide to hate it. How do you choose to hate sin by faith? Your flesh may really like it, but you can make a decision to hate that which you think you like.
You do not get free from sin by willpower. For every opposition we face, we have something in the spirit that exceeds that opposition. Romans 8:13, “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
That is why the devil will keep you occupied with trying to get rid of it. He knows you cannot get rid of it by struggling with your own ability. You get rid of it by pouring in the Word that washes it out. Quit trying to remove what is wrong from your life. Just pour in what is right and flush it out.
Virtue will keep you from having weak spots in your life. When you’re living in moral excellence, there is no place for the devil to get in.
“To virtue, knowledge.” –2 Peter 1:5b (NKJV)
Faith is not compatible with ignorance. So, if you are without the right knowledge of the will of God, your faith won’t be supported. Ignorance doesn’t mean stupid. It means a lack of information.
Faith is only compatible with knowledge. That is why the devil is counting on our ignorance to work out his plan. Knowledge of the will of God is an important support to the bridge of faith. How do you get knowledge? By the renewing of your mind using Romans 12:2 and Philippians 4:8.
You may listen to teachings and ministries every day, but the most important thing is for you to renew your mind every day by reading the Word. No one else can do that for you. Kenneth E. Hagin once said, “Your mind doesn’t stay renewed any more than your hair stays combed.” Stay in the Word every day!
“To knowledge, self-control” –2 Peter 1:6a (NKJV)
Your faith is going to have a tough time without self-control. That is because God designed self-control to keep us safe. Your body was never designed to lead your life. You have to allow your spirit to take the lead and remind your flesh to back down.
That is why we have to give ourselves spiritual, mental, and physical boundaries. Just like anything else, we can’t do this through human ability. We have to have the help of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. Your faith will not work right when you let your body do whatever it wants. Your greatest defense against the devil is a submitted body and a renewed mind.
A very important part of self-control is not letting our mouth say whatever it wants to say. Just because you have a thought, doesn’t mean you need to say it. You can make all the faith confessions you want but undo every bit of what it could accomplish by what you say. Proverbs 13:3, “He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”
Beyond controlling your body and words, it is important to exercise self-control in our thoughts as well. Worrying will weaken the support of temperance in your life. Bitterness, unforgiveness, fear, and anger are all the result of uncontrolled thoughts, and these things will hinder your faith.
Patience or Perseverance
“to self-control, perseverance.” –2 Peter 1:6b (NKJV)
I will use the word patience in place of perseverance and it is what keeps your faith going. Without patience, faith will quit.
It is through faith and patience that we inherit the promises of God (Hebrews 6:12). If we’re not patient, we’ll settle for the wrong thing. We’ll accept something that comes quicker to satisfy us. We’ll accept the wrong spouse because we’re tired of waiting, or we’ll accept the wrong job because we don’t want to wait for the right one.
Patience is not a calendar watcher. Real faith ignores the calendar because it is fixed on what God says, not what the calendar shows. Sometimes people blame the devil for things that were caused by stepping out of patience with God. When we’re ready, He will bring us into the things that He has put in our hearts.
“To perseverance, godliness.” –2 Peter 1:6c (NKJV)
Godliness is a “devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to Him.” If He would not think it or say it or do it, neither should we. Godliness is being interested in His plan and His will. If we’re going to be like God, we have to be interested in His plan, not just our plans.
Godliness is doing the will of God with joy. Being glad to do what He wants you to do. It is a critical companion of faith. The further you go with God, the less you’ll care about your own preferences. You’ll prefer what God prefers.
Godliness is also consecration or declaring something sacred. It is intentionally keeping away from anything that will rob you of what God makes available to you. Isaiah 1:19, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land,” and godliness will strengthen your faith to get there.
“To godliness, brotherly kindness.” –2 Peter 1:7a (NKJV)
There is a distinction between love for our brothers in Christ and love for everyone. There’s a divine order in things, and we find that order in Galatians 6:10, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
The way you treat the body of Christ matters more than how you treat a stranger at a store. It does not mean you treat strangers differently, but there’s a divine order to things. For example, of course, you’ll be kind to the neighbor children, but you’ll show even greater love for your own children. The same needs to be true in the body of Christ.
We are not walking in love if we are volunteering for secular activities when we are not serving the local church, or giving to the homeless but not tithing. It is not right to give to random people when you are not giving to your local church. Walking in brotherly kindness will secure us in our faith and keep it working!
“and to brotherly kindness, love.” –2 Peter 1:7b (NKJV)
Love is perhaps the greatest companion of faith. Galatians 5:6, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.” If you’ve been feeling stuck in your spiritual life, not seeing manifestations of what you believe in, your love walk is a critical place to check. You’re stalemated, and if you’re not walking in love, your faith won’t work.
To take love to the next level and walk in love as God has commanded, you will put others’ interests ahead of your own, and you won’t be touchy and easily offended. This is the divine love gauge. As long as you take account of the evil done to you, you’re not walking in love. This might seem difficult at first (it takes practice!), but the reward is great.
As you put these companions of faith into action, your faith will flourish, and you will always receive what you need. 2 Peter 1:5-7 doesn’t just list the seven companions of faith, but in verse 9, “For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” It’s tough to fight the fight of faith with a blindfold on. So, make sure the companions of faith are always at your side, Amen!
I am Dale Van De Bogart and I fully agree on God’s Word!
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