“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.” 2 Peter 1:5-7
It is interesting how the Scripture quoted above gives us a step-by-step snapshot of the progression Christian growth follows. When a person first comes to faith you immediately see changes in behavior as the new Christian grabs hold of virtue. This is usually swiftly followed by a thirst to learn of godly things along with a desire to learn more Bible truth and find out about what kind of person God is. In this way, by grasping virtue, the new Christian is freed to begin learning about God. As virtue and knowledge grow he/she will find his/her ability to control himself/herself growing as well. Thus, self-control is added to the new Christian’s character. In my experience these qualities – virtue, knowledge & self-control – begin to develop rather quickly in the new Christian.
Then comes perseverance. Choose Christ and conflict will come to you. Guaranteed. A foundation of virtue, knowledge and self-control enable a person to persevere when times get tough. It is significant, and important that we don’t miss the fact, that Peter's progression – virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, love – places godliness, brotherly kindness and love after perseverance. Loving God, loving others and loving unconditionally are the pinnacle of Christian character. These things are the goals for which we all strive. Isn't it interesting that there is no way we can reach that goal unless we first learn to persevere?