Steadfastness and Godliness

One of the things Peter says we have been granted is steadfastness. Other translations use the words endurance, patience, and perseverance. If self-control is the hardest trait to master on Peter’s list, steadfastness is a close second. Why? Because we love to quit. We abandon, grow weary of, lose interest in, and walk away from projects, programs, and people. And sadly, we give little thought to quitting. We justify our reasons and accept the consequences as if they mean nothing to us. And ironically, we are then pretty quick to start another project, program, or person! 🤪

Here’s a thought: why not stick with something/someone? Why not “run with endurance the race that is set before us”1 Why not commit to it? And if we stumble, simply get up and keep going! And when we feel discouraged, we need to read these words: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”2 And then read them again. And write the words down and put them in our cars and on our desks and commit them to memory – at least the last part: “Do not be discouraged.”

Peter knew the people he was writing to were discouraged and so he said this: “Therefore I intend to always remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.”3 It seems that most of us need reminding to not be discouraged. We are more acquainted with discouragement than perhaps any other quality. Which is quite sad because God has given us the power to overcome anything!

Jesus knew we would succumb to discouragement. He told his disciples, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”4 Other translations read: Be of good cheer! Cheer up! Be brave! Have confidence! Be courageous! Be encouraged! Which is the opposite of being discouraged. In order not to give up—to persevere—we must be courageous. That would be a great quality to nurture, would it not? It appeals to me—to be brave. To stand up, to fight through, to hold fast, to be steadfast.

This quality is so difficult that I believe it is the evidence that these traits are in order. Let’s backtrack. There is no way to achieve steadfastness until we master self-control. And self-control cannot be obtained until we are consumed with the knowledge of Christ. And our knowledge of Christ will be thwarted until we begin the work of ridding ourselves of bad behavior and instead develop good habits of being good people. One thing is contingent on the other. 🧐  So, the next thing on Peter’s list after steadfastness is godliness. Which sounds absolutely impossible, right? But actually, this is the second easiest of the traits (after goodness)! 😦 No, really. It is. Why is that? Because being godly is something we cannot produce of ourselves. It is the result of supplementing our faith with goodness and knowledge of Christ and the outcome of being a person of self-control and perseverance. It is not that we will consider ourselves as godly, but others will see us as godly. We will practice godliness unaware. The moment we think we are godly is evidence we are not. Godliness is something we are to ever be pursuing.

But we are always to be in pursuit of all the traits for we never arrive at perfection. We are a work in progress, and what Peter is explaining here is that the work is never done, for “if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from becoming ineffective . . .”5 So, it is apropos that we jump ahead a bit and read what happens to people who are not working on these traits, whose qualities are not increasing. Here it is: “Whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind . . .”6  So, what we have here is a blind believer! Hmm. 🤔 What do those people look like? They are the ones who have faith but are not adding to it, not supplementing their faith with the traits Peter has listed. They believe in God, but have not allowed God to infiltrate their lives.

Sadly, they have not escaped “the corruption that is in the world.”7 Instead they have been duped by it, lured into it, and deceived by ungodly people. This, by the way, is the very reason that Peter wrote this church. The believers were being led astray by false teachers. He warns them: “You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.”8 To be “carried away” by the corrupted world is to live in a state of instability. Unfortunately, James explains the fate of unstable people: “For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”9

Once we begin to focus on being steadfast, we are on our way to being stable. And we will be looked upon by others as godly, which is hard to fathom. But it is true. However, we still have more to learn. Peter is not done! 😉

1Hebrews 12:1      2Deuteronomy 31:8      32 Peter 1:12      4John 16:33     52 Peter 1:8     62 Peter 1:9     72 Peter 1:4      82 Peter 3:17     9James 1:7



1 Comments on “Steadfastness and Godliness”

  1. I am forwarding this message to a Brother in Christ who, I believe, will be greatly encouraged by it. We were just talking about some of it this morning. This message is timely for me as well. I grieve at the thought of the number of times I have not remained steadfast, succumbing to discouragement, disappointment, etc. However, the saddest of all was due to a lack of commitment to the individual or the task. How sad! What statement have I made? I’m thankful that God continues to transform me in this realm. I’m thankful even more for you my wife and the words that God speaks through you.

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