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. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:5-8 (emphasis added)
Faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love are all spiritual qualities that should be growing in every Christian out of our love for Jesus through the help of the Holy Spirit.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand inthe evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one;and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.
I just love this passage. It is a great and comprehensive list of what we need as we walk out our faith:
Belt = truth
Breastplate = righteousness (being right with God)
Shoes = gospel of peace
Shield = faith
Helmet = the hope of our salvation
Sword = the Holy Spirit, the Word of God
Belt = holds our pants and our dignity up
Breastplate = protects our heart and vital organs
Shoes = protects our feet, enables us to walk great distances
Shield = keeps bad stuff out
Helmet = protects our brain, our minds
Sword = offensive weapon to cut down our enemy
I’ve worked through a marvelous study called “Your Strong Suit” by Donna Pyle. I highly recommend it! Reading this passage again makes me want to go back and do Donna’s study again. It’s now a DVD too!
So faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works… You see that faith was active along with [Abraham’s] works, and faith was completed by his works,… For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
James 2:17-18, 22, 26
Living, good works grow out of our faith and love of Christ. If there’s no faith at the root of your works, they are spiritually dead. Works born of faith are more than just works, they are a witness to our faith in Christ; they are practice for our love of Christ; and they are teaching others how to walk in the faith.
How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.