When about to engage strenuous activity, it is common for a well-meaning friend or family member to say to us something like, “Don’t over exert yourself.” The older I get, the more I grow in appreciation for what they are saying.

Roughly ten years ago, I became as enamored with the P-90X infomercials as I was disenchanted with my own deteriorating physical condition. I thought, “Hey, it’s a 90 day workout; three months. I can do that.”

Yeah, right. Not so much.

By the close of the Day-4 workout, I had abused my body so badly that I literally could not stand erect for the following three days. My body was bent into the shape of an inverted, upper-case L. My P-90X had become a P-4 Exit.


For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,
– 2 Peter 1:5, ESV

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge.
– 2 Peter 1:5, NASB

What is something you wanted with such intensity that you worked at it almost to the point of obsession? Maybe you wanted to be an elite dancer or a top-tier athlete. Maybe you wanted to be a straight-A student. Perhaps you wanted to land that attorney partnership, or you wanted to build your own home by hand.

What is required in each of those cases and others like them?

Diligence! Effort! Focus! Intensity! It’s σπουδὴν (spoudein).

Every Effort

When Peter says, “be diligent,” or “make every effort,” he’s not suggesting we engage our faith lackadaisically. He is calling for targeted energy, fervor. Every effort means exhausting all possibilities to achieve success.

Spoudein is a term of speed. It is deliberate movement with intent, direction, a goal. It is a swift advance toward a distinct objective.

Now that we know the level of effort being asked of us, let’s zero in on the goal of that focused effort. Peter is laying down seven specific attributes to which a Christ-follower is to apply spoudein in their life … our lives!

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
– 2 Peter 1:5-8, ESV

Deliberate Action

The maturing in faith called for by Peter is not achieved through passivity. It doesn’t come by osmosis. If you want to grow as a follower after Christ, you will be required to apply diligence, every effort.

Many years ago, I was talking with a young woman at Kansas University. She was deeply frustrated by the fact that she was not growing as quickly as other believers in our student group were growing. Her maturing as a Christ-follower had stagnated. At one point, she said, “I just wish I was more committed.”

“No, you don’t,” I told her. “If you wished you were more committed, you would be more committed. The truth is, you wish that you wish you were more committed.”

If you are frustrated that your growth has stagnated, it may be as simple as you not really wanting to grow as a disciple. You might wish that you wanted to grow. But it may be, you don’t want to grow enough that you’re willing to do what is necessary to achieve that growth. Growth as a Christ-follower does not come by wishing or hoping. It comes through giving diligence to making growth happen.

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.
– 2 Peter 1:10, ESV

Though worded differently, the message above is the same. Give every possible effort to making your calling and election sure. “Practice these qualities.”

Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.
– 2 Peter 3:14, ESV

The apostle Paul uses the same word in instructing us through Timothy to make every effort to show ourselves as approved workmen, unashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.1 To the Ephesians, Paul pleads with them to make every effort to sustain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.2 The author of Hebrews charges readers to make every effort to “enter that rest.”3

Imperative Dedication

The life of a Christ-follower is a life of spoudein. Life in Christ is not a life that flows where the currents take it. Rather, we row with diligence toward identifiable objectives. Paul’s letter to the Romans makes spoudein a direct imperative.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
– Romans 12:11, ESV

Paul is blunt in telling the Romans to not be slothful in their spoudein, their zeal. It is almost as though Paul is telling them to be diligent in their diligence. He compounds this directive by telling them to be fervent in spirit, boiling like a hot spring in service to the Lord.

Let’s resolve in our minds to do the same.

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

X – @DamonJGray
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1. 2 Timothy 2:15
2. Ephesians 4:3
3. Hebrews 4:11

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Damon J. Gray

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