Add to your faith goodness . . . knowledge . . . self-control . . . perseverance . . . godliness . . . brotherly kindness; and . . . love. (2 Pet. 1:5–7)

I WATCHED MY NIECE string together beads. Each one added to the necklace she made. Every bead had its place in sequence, and without it the necklace would not have been as strong or as beautiful.

Today’s passage from 2 Peter is a string of qualities that, like beads in a necklace, are placed in the order he wrote them for a reason. Each adds to the other to complete the pattern for being a strong Christian. It starts with faith and then adds to that goodness, or the desire to please God. Then we begin to gain knowledge through the help of the Holy Spirit, which helps us to develop self-control when we are tempted. Self-control builds perseverance, or the strength to stand up for what we believe—over and over again. Perseverance then helps us to become more like Jesus. But getting that far doesn’t make us “holier than thou” does it? Jesus was never that way. He had a servant’s attitude. As we grow in godliness, becoming more like our Savior, we see others through His eyes and can more easily love people.

Like pearls on a necklace, this progression of character qualities describes how a Christian grows to be more and more Christlike. And, just like the jewelry my niece made, with each pearl of character, the strand becomes stronger, more flexible, and beautiful.

Ask God to help you to add a “pearl” to your faith this week to make it stronger.

Julie B. Cosgrove is a widowed Christian author and speaker living in Fort Worth, Texas. She has one son and two cats, and is involved with women’s and outreach ministries.