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 1:5-7 (ESV)
The apostle Peter exhorts us in this epistle to fully apply steadfastness to our self-control. The Greek word that he used in this verse for steadfastness means cheerful or hopeful endurance, constancy, patience, patient, continuance (waiting).
It seems that the method God often uses to produce steadfastness in our lives is the testing of our faith through trials. The apostle James wrote, Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV) Paul used the same Greek word for endurance as Peter and James used for steadfastness. He wrote, Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 ESV)
James gave us an example of steadfastness. He wrote, Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (James 5:11 ESV) There must have been something in Job’s character that needed to be refined. And only God knew what it would take to refine it. God, in his mercy, humbled Job by testing his faith as to bring his character to completion. Yes, Job defended his righteousness and sought to bring his case before God, yet he remained steadfast. We should be inspired by Job’s words. He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21 ESV)
We most always associate the “big trials” with the testing of our faith, which is a legitimate association. By “big trials” I am referring to death, illness, financial difficulties, broken relationships and so forth. However, rarely do we associate the almost daily temptations that come to test our self-control with the testing of our faith. Yet, it is through the testing of our faith that steadfastness is produced. I believe the purpose of supplementing our self-control with steadfastness is, that when we are tempted to give in to the appetites and passions of the flesh, we should not lose control, but cheerfully endure the testing of our faith and patiently wait with the expectation that God will fulfill his promises and reward us (Hebrews 10:36).
The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to lay aside every weight and sin that clings so close to us and run with endurance (steadfastness) the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1). Then he tells us where to find the epitome of steadfastness. Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 ESV) Christ cheerfully endured the trials to receive the reward. The joy that was set before him was the reward; to be seated at the right hand of the Father.
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. (2 Thessalonians 3:5 ESV)
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Timothy 6:11