‘… make every effort to add to your faith … love.’ 2 Peter 1.5-7
The final characteristic on Peter’s list of qualities we need to cultivate in ourselves is probably the one that we have been expecting to see all along – love. How does love differ from all the other things that have been mentioned?
The other attributes we have been pondering over the past few days have all been important, but perhaps the one missing element that Peter now wants us to capture is the nature of sacrificial love, which he had seen exemplified in the life of Jesus. He had heard Jesus speak about sacrificial love, seen Jesus accept the treatment handed out to him when he could have so easily have evaded it, and noted the level of sacrifice Christ was willing to endure for us. So Peter encourages us to have love.
If you remember, the aim of this list of virtues – goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection and love – is to stop us from stumbling and falling in our faith. The contribution that love makes is to ensure that by being sacrificial in our dealings with others, we will avoid simply trying to meet our own needs or getting what we can out of people or situations. Jesus laid down his life and gave himself totally for you – so what can you do for others today?