The Secret to Gaining the Big Prize

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity ” 2 Peter 1:4-7

No matter what you may have to deal with in this life, God has provided victory for you in advance through the exact, full knowledge of God—His character, Who He is, and what He has done for you. When you receive all He has done for you, you become a partaker of His divine nature, able to escape all the corruption that is going on in the world around you.

In addition to partaking of the divine nature, you are to add seven characteristics to your faith. There has been much teaching in the body of Christ on the subject of faith: great faith, little faith, strong faith, and weak faith. You need to realize, however, that having the faith of God and knowing how to walk in strong faith—believe in His promises and appropriate them in your life—is not enough. While faith is the bedrock and the basis of your walk with God, it requires more than just believing in God for all things. You can operate in faith and still stumble and fall.

To obtain the goal of never stumbling or falling, you need to add to your faith. By exercising your faith, you can develop these seven characteristics: virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and Christian love. You need to add these characteristics in order to be a man or woman who is whole and complete before God and able to bring about His will and usher in His kingdom.

Add to your faith virtue…

The word virtue in the Greek means moral goodness and moral excellence. In other words, this verse says that you are to add morality to your faith. You can believe God and have the faith to move mountains and speak the Word only, but if you are living an immoral life at the same time, you will stumble and fall. You can be a giant of faith who is able to believe God for healing, prosperity, and all kinds of things, but unless you are living a morally excellent life, you will still stumble and fall. If you are moral, you will follow God's law and reap all the benefits of living a clean, pure, and God-pleasing life.

Add to virtue knowledge…

Earlier in 2 Peter (1:2, 3), the Greek word for knowledge was epignosis. In verse 5, however, the Greek world translated knowledge is gnosis, which means a seeking to know, an inquiry, or an investigation, particularly of spiritual truth. Not only are you to be an individual who can walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) but also you are to be an individual who adds inquiry and investigation to your faith. You are to seek Him and His Word to find His will and direction. It is much easier to exercise your faith when you have sought the Lord and know His will. There will be no doubt whatsoever, and you will have no problem believing God. You will get results every time.

Christian leader, you should never say, "I'm God's man or woman of faith and power, and I know it all!" No. There is always more to learn. You need to open your spirit to receive from the Lord. You need to listen to the Holy Ghost and let Him teach you.

Add to knowledge temperance…

The Amplified Bible says, "And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control." Notice that the word temperance means self-control, not God-control. People pray for God to control them, saying, "God, I want You to do this for me so I won't sin," but they don't need God-control; they need self-control.

God is saying, "Use your faith to exercise self-control." You need to believe that God has placed His power inside you! God has placed in you the ability, the power, and the resolve to walk free from any sin, any lust of the flesh, and any fear. But for that to come to pass, you must believe Him and choose to act on His power in you for a whole range of issues, including your budget. God cannot use you the way He wants to if you are bound up in debt. God cannot use you the way He wants if you bear in your body the sins of excess. God has freedom for you, but it all starts with you having adding self-control to your faith.

Add to temperance patience….

Patience means steadfastness, endurance, and perseverance. Patience means learning to persevere and keep on going, even through hard times. Many Christians want everything in a hurry. After believing God for two months, they think that's long enough, that whatever they've believed for should be manifested—now! But God's Word tells of people who believed God for many years before things came to pass.

  • How long do you think Noah had to exercise patience while building the ark and listening to the taunts of those around him?
  • How long did Abraham have to look at the stars and the sand of the sea while awaiting God's promise of a country?

Read the examples of patient endurance in the Word, and take heart. Trust God, and never ever give up. He is always true to His promises.

Add to patience godliness….

Godliness is holiness. This does not only mean living morally according to the world's standards and the basic standards of the Bible but also living holy before God, walking in supernatural holiness. In other words, it is God-likeness—being like God.

You should add God-like qualities to your faith: act like God, talk like God, and think the way God has taught you to think in His Word. This happens as your mind is renewed daily. As you learn to think the way God thinks by spending time in His Word, you will strip off your old ways of thinking. If you find that you cannot add these God-like qualities to your faith it means you are not spending enough time in His Word. You must have the full, exact knowledge of God to discover what all these God-like qualities are.

“Add to godliness brotherly kindness… ” 2 Peter 1:7

You are to add brotherly affection or kindness to your faith. Make sure you find a way to do good to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love the saints. Help them. Bless them. God cares about all people, but His Word says that those who are saved should be more of a family to you than those who happen to share your bloodline and the same last name.

If you add brotherly kindness to your faith, you won't take advantage of another Christian. You won't commit to doing a job for someone and then fail to finish that work. From God's perspective, if you do wrong to another Christian, you are wronging Him. He takes a personal affront whenever you wrong another born-again believer. When you say to another believer, "I love you in Jesus' name," you should not just say it; you should do it by showing love to that brother or sister in Christ.

“Add to godliness brotherly kindness… ” 2 Peter 1:7

This charity, or Christian love, is the God-kind of love, the agape love that God operates in. That love is unselfish. That love always operates in forgiveness. That God-kind of love is not dependent on feelings, saying, "I will love you if you treat me the right way." Instead, it says, "I will love you regardless of what you do." That's the way God is.

We all have messed up somewhere in our lives. We have committed spiritual adultery against God, seeking other things before Him. But He's continued loving us, regardless of what we have done. Some people know how to confess God's Word, but they will stumble and fall if there is no real love—God's love—functioning in their lives.

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. ” 2 Peter 1:8-9

After listing seven characteristics to add to your faith, Peter tells you what the result will be. The word if is important in this verse. This is not just automatic. Furthermore, it's not enough that you have only a portion of these things. These things have to be in you and abound in you.

Peter could have said, "If these things be in you and abound, then you will be a blessing from head to toe." But that's not what he said! He said, "If all these things are abounding in you, you won't be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of Jesus." The big prize is having knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This article is written by Bishop Keith A. Butler

In his signature line-by-line style, Bishop Keith A. Butler travels the world teaching the Word of God without compromise. Bishop Butler is dedicated to teaching believers how to live their faith. He is the founder of Word of Faith International Christian Center and the Senior Pastor of faith4life churches in Round Rock and Dallas, Texas.

As Bishop, he oversees 14 ministry operations in the United States. Bishop Butler has also established several international ministry works. The Word of Faith Ministerial Alliance is a fellowship of ministers and Christian leaders who have received Bishop Butler as their spiritual father and/or mentor. Through its companion website, faithleaders.com, ministers and Christian leaders can find valuable resources to aid them in their ministry callings.

Bishop Butler has a nationally televised program on the Golden Eagle Broadcasting Network called “Live your Faith”.He is the author of over 24 books with such titles as Living Life on Top, The Art of Prayer, God’s Not Mad at You and God’s Plan for Man. With the support of his lovely wife, Pastor Deborah L. Butler, and their children: Pastor Andre Butler and wife Tiffany Butler (granddaughters Alexis, Angela, & April), Pastor MiChelle, and Minister Kristina Butler Bishop Butler continues to plant churches worldwide.