I am going to put into caps the things that stand out to me. " By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this BY COMING TO KNOW HIM, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that ENABLE YOU TO SHARE HIS DIVINE NATURE AND ESCAPE THE WORLD'S CORRUPTION CAUSED BY HUMAN DESIRES. In view of all this, make every effort to RESPOND TO GOD'S PROMISES. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone,[ I loooove the progression of this list]. The more you grow like this, THE MORE PRODUCTIVE AND USEFUL YOU WILL BE IN YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. So, dear brother sand sister, work heard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and YOU WILL NEVER FALL AWAY. "
Here we see that by coming to know Christ as our personal Savior we have access to all that we need to grow and excel in our Christian walk. He has given us promises. And by these promises, we are given strength to stand against the evil desires of our own flesh, but if we don't know the promises, then we are missing out on the power of the Word to guide us, the power of the Word to help us when we are tempted. After reading that portion of this passage, I really feel that I don't know enough of God's promises. I know that I need to find out what they are and memorize them. Now, on to the list. This is my understand of why thing are in the order that they are. First we must believe in Jesus as our Savior, which is faith. Then through that faith, we begin to be convicted of our morals and values and begin a change out of our sinfulness into virtuous behaviors. As we begin to be changed ,we want more and more to know God and by studying His Word and prayer we gain knowledge of Him and His ways. Through that knowledge, we begin to have more self-control of our flesh because we see many things in our lives that are not pleasing to God and through that awareness we are able to put those things before God and allow Him to continue refining us. And when we have learned self-control of our flesh, we learn to be patient...waiting on His will and timing. Once we have gotten to this place, we are able to truly exhibit a life that reflects Christ, and once we are at this point, we have the capacity,( no longer so focused on self and trying to please the flesh) to love our brothers in Christ. And of course, once we are able to love our own brothers, we can love all others,( including our enemies). So it's a natural flow from one thing to another. How cool is that? You can look at this list and prob see more or less where you are in your walk. :) And when we are at a certain place in our relationship with God, we become much more useful to the Kingdom. At the end of all this, we are encouraged to never turn back in the process,( we all make mistakes but a purposeful neglect in continuing in our faith and the process of growth is what I believe it is speaking of here) but to keep going forward because we know who God is and we never want to turn away from Him and His goodness. And those who do not go forward, but go back to their sinfulness.....well, there is a falling away. And the Bible speaks of the danger of that. So I really love this passage because it is full of wisdom and instruction.