Several weeks ago, Dr. John Goetsch presented the information below as a devotion at a men’s prayer breakfast. It was so powerful that I asked him to write it as a guest post for this blog.
Perhaps you remember the un-cola commercial of 1967 from the 7UP corporation. The company wanted to emphasize the difference of its drink from that of other drinks packaged in a similar way. They filmed a Caribbean planter explaining the difference between cola nuts and 7UP’s “uncola nuts”—lemon and lime.
But the promotion didn’t last long. People wanted something “real” not something “un.”
Imbedded in our thought processes is that the prefix “un” turns a positive thing into a negative thing.
For instance, you don’t want someone to describe your wife as unattractive, unlovable, or undesirable.
You don’t want your wife to describe you as unreasonable, unreliable, or unconcerned.
You don’t want an employer who is unprofessional, unprepared, or unproductive. (And as an employee, you surely don’t want to be labeled with any of these uns.)
No, un is not the kind of person or Christian that you want to be.
The Real Thing
Second Peter 1:1–4 describes the provision God has made for us to fully enjoy the “real thing”—the Christian life as He intended. He provided salvation (v. 1), security (v. 2), His supply (v. 3), and the Scriptures (v. 4).
Now what should we do in response? Verse 5 tells us plainly: “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith…” And in the verses that follow, God gives us seven ingredients to add to our faith.
…add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.—2 Peter 1:5-7
7UP may be the uncola, but I suggest you can be a 7UP Christian without being an uncola Christian. Here are the seven ingredients:
1. Add virtue so you’re not unspiritual.
Paul told the Christians at Corinth that they were missing out on the best parts of the Christian life because they refused to grow spiritually.
And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?—1 Corinthians 3:1–3
I don’t know many men who would be satisfied to drink a glass of milk for dinner if there was a T-bone steak available. Let’s not be satisfied to be unspiritual men either.
2. Add knowledge so you’re not uninformed.
What will you read this summer? How are you growing in your knowledge of God and of His Word?
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…—2 Peter 3:18
3. Add temperance so you’re not undisciplined.
A common denominator among victorious people—in any walk of life—is discipline.
Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.—1 Corinthians 9:24–27
Like the runner who will add physical disciplines into his life so he can win a race, we should be growing in the spiritual disciplines of church attendance, daily Bible reading, prayer, soulwinning, investing in our families, stewardship, etc.
4. Add patience so you’re not unsettled.
Impatient Christians are discontented Christians. One of the greatest birthrights to the child of God is that of contentment. We have Him—we need not be impatient for anything else.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.—1 Timothy 6:6
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.—Hebrews 13:5
Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.—Philippians 4:11
5. Add godliness so you’re not ungodly.
Scripture teaches us to deny ungodliness and resist the temptations to fashion ourselves after the world.
Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;—Titus 2:12
As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.—1 Peter 1:14–16
We belong to a holy God; may we be known as holy, consecrated people!
6. Add brotherly kindness so you’re not uncaring.
You don’t have to turn in your “man card” to be kind. In many cases, being kind is the most manly thing you could do.
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.—Luke 10:30
The thieves beat up the man. The priest and the Levite passed up the man. But the Samaritan helped him up. Which one would you be?
7. Add charity so you’re not unloving.
Are you growing in love? Would others look at your life and see a distinct and Christlike love toward God, your family, your church family?
By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.—John 13:35
Benefits to uncola Christianity
God expressly promises that if you add virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, kindness, and charity…you won’t be unfruitful or unfaithful in your Christian life.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ….for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:—2 Peter 1:8, 10
I don’t want uncola Christianity, but I do want these seven ingredients to a faithful, fruitful life for God!