In Second Peter chapter one, Peter gives some great encouragement as well as some great challenges. He writes in verse 3 that God has given us “all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us…” It is wonderful to know that through the knowledge that God has revealed to us through His word, we have access to the knowledge of “all things” of importance. But with this knowledge comes responsibility. He goes on to write: “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness…” (II Peter 1:5-6). We must be making every effort to add to our faith those things that God desires, “for if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 8). I would like to concentrate on one of these traits.
Self control is the third quality that Peter encourages Christians to add to their faith. He expressed a profound, bold thought when he wrote that “if you practice these qualities, you will never fail” (v. 10). He didn’t say that we would fail or stumble sometimes…or every once in a while. He said these are the qualities that will keep you from failing…it’s up to you! Are you adding self control to your faith? Do you have self control over the places that you go, the things that you say, and the things that you look at? Do you have self control when you are with your friends, with strangers, and when you are all alone? When you add self control to you faith, you will never fail!
Paul explained that athletes who run races exercise self control in all things in order to receive a perishable crown. A good athlete will practice self control in what he eats and drinks and how he works out his body. He will be careful to get enough sleep, and won’t engage in activities that will hinder his performance when he’s preparing for an event. How much more should we, who are competing for an eternal prize, practice self control to keep ourselves in shape for the spiritual race?