I lost my temper last night. I yelled at people who probably needed some gentle prodding, but not the verbal cannon fire I launched at them. I’ve apologized several times. Nevertheless I will lose my temper again.
My mother would tell stories of my epic temper tantrums as a child. My bedroom strewn with clothes flung from my dresser drawers, pages torn out of books, toys and stuffed animals hurled around the room. At least I’ve moved past property damage, right?
Peter wrote, “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 1:8).
“Increasing.” I really like that word “increasing.” It’s translated from a Greek word that means “superabound.” I didn’t know that anything could superabound, least of all that I might superabound in God’s grace, but there it is. It’s a promise of increasing, superabounding faith. It’s never perfect. It’s always growing.
That’s not necessarily what our gut tells us, though. Want to know the two most common blunders we make when it comes to the prospect of growing faith?
“I can’t.” It’s the mistaken belief that faith is a gift for other people, not me, so why try?
“I don’t need it.” It’s the more common delusion that whatever idea of God we received as children is faith enough.
Here’s the thing, though. Neither “I can’t” nor “I don’t need it” gives sufficient glory or credit to God so great and yet so close that He could make the planets spin while counting the hairs on our heads. Neither is the reason Jesus lived, died, and rose again for us poor souls. Neither imagines better for us than a good-enough faith that won’t carry us through the hard times, the waiting times, or the healing times.
We superabound in faith in all the ways we already know: praying all the time, worshipping regularly, serving the least of these, reading God’s Word, and then carrying the presence of God into all the ways we live out our lives at home, at work, in our schools, and in our neighborhoods. It’s not rocket science, as they way, but you just do it because “increasing” faith matters more than we can imagine.
So, yes, I lost my temper last night, and I’ll lose it again. But I’m losing it less often, and I apologize that much faster. In times ahead, I’ll recognize the warning signs and turn to prayer that much sooner. Never perfect, always growing.