Friday, May 6, 2022

Devotionals for the Heart: When you need support and strength

A devotional by Chaplain Paul Anderson

“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)

A recent theme in my life is supplementation.

Supplementation infers a deficit in content or deficiency in ability. It may also warn of a dangerous depletion. To supplement is to add content for support and strength.

When I had my annual physical checkup, the doctor called me. I could hear concern and urgency in her voice. She had received the results of the blood tests that she had ordered. My cholesterol was very low. Good. My sugar levels were low. Good. PSA was low. Very good for a man my age. Then she said, “But”. Suddenly, my heart was in my throat.

“Do you have any chronic pain? How much sleep are you getting? You look strong, but are you exercising regularly? Are you moody and/or depressed, lethargic with brain fog?”

To the former, I answered “Not much”. To the latter, I said “My wife might say yes”. The doctor’s tone became very firm and cautionary.

“You, sir, are in pretty good health but you are developing symptoms that could cascade into a catastrophic event. Your weight, blood pressure and cortisol levels are too high. You are stressed with vitamin and mineral deficiencies. You have to get out in the sunshine and exercise. Then you need to supplement your Vitamin B and Vitamin D intake significantly, soon!”

I was sobered. Now B12, D3, zinc, magnesium, more sleep and exercise are regular supplements to my diet and daily schedule. Supplementation replenishes, restores and can be regenerative.

After my daily walk, in the morning sun, I sat down with my English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible and started to read the book of 2 Peter. There it was again—the word “supplement”.

The apostle Peter is not suggesting that his reader’s faith in Christ is anemic or weak. He is prescribing a regimen that will keep their faith and godly lifestyle strong, robust and growing.

Like whey and protein for a bodybuilder, the traits listed in this verse of scripture build and fortify the inner character. The items on the list below are the qualities that quantify the presence of faith and faithfulness in our lives:
  • Faith from Peter’s perspective is the firm conviction or belief that Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah who reconciled sinful humanity with divinity and secured abundant and eternal life for those who believe in Him.
  • Virtue is moral excellence, modesty and/or purity of thought, intent and actions.
  • Knowledge, in this context, is a deep and abiding moral wisdom and discernment that informs right doing. It is a supernatural level of discernment, an inner sensitivity that may or may not be explicable, until the danger is avoided or averted. It is inclusive of and more than conscience and intuition. It is a sense of prescience that serves as a moral guardrail.
  • Self-control is about mastering the appetites—especially our sensual imaginations—into spiritual effectiveness. Redirecting our fantasy life from the sensual to the spiritual is the imperative here. Here Peter is urging the pursuit of spiritual, godly visions rather than satisfied senses.
  • Steadfastness is akin to grit and resiliency.
  • Godliness is a lifestyle of piety, reverence and respect for the presence and preferences of divinity. 
  • Brotherly affection is simply an unflinching, unconditional positive regard for every man, woman, girl or boy.
  • Charity—a sense of benevolence, philanthropy and personal investment in those around us. Love can show up as a smile, a word of encouragement, mentoring someone who needs to learn and grow, or helping someone at a pivotal moment in their experience.
Paying it forward is a supplement to faith. It is virtue in action that senses beyond sight, a divine moment that transcends rationale. Paying it forward makes a respectful investment into someone’s current circumstance, with implications on their destiny.

Ask God to strengthen your faith by directing you to do something that makes you the supplement that someone else was praying for.

Let’s Pray: Dear God, thank You for today and for the opportunities that will unfold before us to help someone else. Make us equal to the task so that we can be the supplement that someone else is praying for. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Author Bio:

Chaplain Anderson served for 20 years as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. Over 26 years of active duty, he was promoted through the ranks from Seaman Apprentice (E2) to his final rank as Commander (O5) in the Chaplain’s Corps. 

Prior to his Naval career, Chaplain Anderson pastored in the Allegheny East and Potomac Conferences of Seventh-day Adventists. His undergraduate preparation for ministry was completed at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.

He has subsequently earned four graduate degrees: a Master of Divinity from Andrews University in Michigan, a Master of Education in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland and a Masters of Sacred Theology in Religion and Culture from Boston University. His Doctor of Ministry degree was conferred by Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Chaplain Anderson also completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He also holds certifications in Suicide Awareness and Prevention, Civil Mediation, Alternative Workplace Dispute Resolution, Temperament Analysis, Marriage Enrichment, Workforce Diversity, and is a certified Life Coach.

You may connect with Chaplain Anderson via email at this address,

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