For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive. 2 Peter 1:8
The sea squirt is a strange creature. Found attached to rocks and shells, it looks like a soft plastic tube waving with the current. Drawing its nutrients from the passing water, it lives a passive life far removed from its once–active youth.
The sea squirt starts life as a tadpole with a primitive spinal cord and brain that helps it find food and avoid harm. As a juvenile, it spends its days exploring the ocean, but something happens when it reaches adulthood. Settling on its rock, it stops exploring and growing. In a macabre twist, it digests its own brain.
Spineless, thoughtless, flowing passively with the current. The apostle Peter encourages us not to follow the sea squirt’s fate. Since maturity for us means taking on God’s nature (2 Peter 1:4), you and I are called to grow—grow mentally in our knowledge of Christ (3:18); spiritually in traits like goodness, perseverance, and self-control (1:5–7); and practically by exploring new ways to love, offer hospitality, and serve others through our gifts (1 Peter 4:7–11). Such growth, Peter says, will stop us from living “ineffective and unproductive” lives (2 Peter 1:8).
This calling to grow is as vital for the seventy-year-old as it is for the teenager. God’s nature is as vast as the ocean. We’ve barely swum a few feet. Explore His unending character, take new spiritual adventures. Study, serve, take risks. Grow.
What character trait do you feel God calling you to grow in? What service opportunity is He leading you to try?
Father God, please help me to grow more like You each day.
Learn how to improve your walk with God.
The book of 2 Peter begins and ends on a similar note, highlighting the words grace and knowledge: “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (1:2); “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (3:18).
The word grace (“God’s favor freely given”) appears in the book only in these two verses; however, the word knowledge (or knowing) appears seven times in the book using two different Greek words. The word knowledge in 2 Peter 3:18 (also twice in 1:5–6) is gnōsis (knowledge, information, facts). Such information about God is crucial for our growth and development in our life in Christ. The word used in 1:2 (also in 1:3, 8; 2:20) is epignōsis. It’s a strengthened form of the previous word, suggesting a “fuller,” “deeper,” “experiential” understanding of the object known.