Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; (2 Peter 1:10, NASB)
Among the most serious and common medical problems that face older adults are falls and the injuries related to those falls. In the United States in 2015, over 3 million older adults visited emergency rooms to be treated for fall-related injuries. And over half of those 3 million people ended up being admitted to the hospital due to the extent of their injuries. For these and many other reasons, fall prevention measures become important for those 65 and older. One of the best and most common measures of preventing falls is exercising to build strength, increase endurance, improve balance, and promote flexibility.
Fall prevention is also important in our walk with the Lord. And this is true not just for older adults but for everyone who follows Jesus Christ. We have an adversary whose goal is to cause us to stumble and to fall away from our faith. He is looking to trip us up in every step we take. The apostle Peter knew well how our adversary looks to cause us to stumble. It was that very adversary who caused Peter to stumble and deny even knowing Jesus on the night that He was arrested (John 18:25-27). In his first letter, Peter warns that we need to be on the alert for this adversary, as he prowls around like a roaring lion seeking prey to devour (1 Peter 5:8).
In his second letter, Peter addresses fall prevention. He gives us some measures that we can take in order to keep ourselves from stumbling and falling away. The key to standing firm in the faith is to be certain of our calling, to be secure in Christ. It is our faith in Christ that guarantees that we are saved, and it is our growth in that faith that gives us the confidence that we need to keep from stumbling. In 2 Peter 1:10, Peter writes that we will not stumble if we “practice these things.” What is it that we must practice? What are these things that Peter is referring to? The answer to these questions is found in 2 Peter 1:5-7 (NLT):
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.
By developing the character virtues that Peter lists in these verses, we honor the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. When we practice these things, these virtues, in the way in which we live our lives, our character and our conduct become evidence to the world and to ourselves that we are children of God. When we live a life of faith that is governed by moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, patient endurance, godliness, brotherly affection, and love for all, then we will walk in the assurance of our salvation in Christ. And that blessed assurance is what will keep us from stumbling. It is our spiritual fall prevention.
Scripture quotations marked NASB are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.