Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:8 NKJV
“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
II Peter 1:5-7 NKJV
In our previous sessions, we have dealt with the the Foundational block – Faith. This comprises of various aspects including that of faithfulness.
As Peter begins with the revelation of the building process upon our foundation of faith, the first block we discover that is added upon is Virtue.
…add to your faith virtue…(v.5)
Most of the English translations say “virtue” which makes many to attribute this to power, citing from the history of Jesus and the woman suffering with the issue of blood. But this is not so.
The Greek word used for virtue in the case of This story of Jesus is the word dunamis which means inherent miraculous force or power.
And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue (dunamis) is gone out of me.
Luke 8:46 KJV
WHAT THEN IS “VIRTUE”?
The word used in the case of II Peter is the Greek word aretē.
Aretē simply means excellence. It means to have a good result from anything you do.
The aretē of a horse is to run really fast. The aretē of a the 100m track athlete is to do the same. The aretē of a student is have very good grades. You are to do very well in whatever you do.
The word aretē is not limited to religion. It is the universal Greek word for excellence. You are to be excellent in everything you do. Not just in Christian “religious” activities but also in every other area of life. Areas of marriage, Academics, Occupation, Relationships with everyone etc.
Peter, the apostle of our Lord Jesus Christ, uses this same word in his Epistle concerning the expected attitude of Christians.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises(aretē) of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”
I Peter 2:9 NKJV
The word praises in this context is aretē which should rather connote excellency. We have been called from darkness and set apart to show the World how excellent our God and Father is.
You can’t show this quality to your worldly boss if you always leave your workplace early, not perfecting all your assignments, because you have a church service or program coming up. What are you telling Him about your God?
Another scenario can be that of a Christian wife with her unbelieving or believing Husband or vice versa. How do you expect to show forth the excellency of Your God to him, his/her parents and friends and your children when you fail to do your duties as a wife/husband because you are always busy doing “Christian” activities?
As a Christian, how do you show forth the excellency of your God to the whole world when you keep failing your grades because you were so busy with Church activities that you failed to study?
Excellency is required from you in all areas of your life because as a special child, a royal in Christ, you are on the spotlight for the whole Universe to see.
Every Celestial, terrestrial and inhabitants of the Subterranean are watching you closely; for through you, God wants to show them His manifold Wisdom (Eph. 3:10)
Jesus says this in His famous teaching on the Mount:
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 NKJV
Your life is a message to the World of who your Heavenly Father is. Your actions can honor or dishonor Him in the eyes of the World(Romans 2:24).
Excellence (virtue) is the first block to be built of the foundation of faith. This quality of excellency, just like obedience and faithfulness, displays to the Everyone else your faith- the World, Principalities, Angels, demons etc.
James says in His Epistle:
“But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
James 2:18 NKJV
Let me reiterate this statement: “I will show you my faith BY my works”.
With all of creation watching us… Shouldn’t we all be able to say that?
“Let me show you what I believe by the way I live. Watch my life and you will see what faith can do.”
Strive to be excellent in anything you do. If you are a teacher, be an excellent teacher. If you are a husband , wife, mother, father, business man, employee, policeman, lawyer, housewife, student, nurse etc. be an excellent one too.
It’s may look really difficult. You may not be able to say this now. But I am here to encourage you. Grace is available for you and I. Partake of this grace by seeking God’s help in this matter in prayer and step out in faith to shine your light.