A child paints a face with simplicity, using a circle, black spots for eyes and one color for skin. If that child matures and becomes an artist, she can more accurately portray that same face, using careful observation and a complex mixture of paints and pigments. Peter describes a similar process as he writes about how to mature in our knowledge of Jesus (see “Knowing,” posted below). The process involves a careful observation of the character of Jesus, followed by attempts to portray those same traits on the canvas our lives. As we learn to do so more accurately and naturally, knowing Jesus becomes more fruitful.
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. (2Peter 1:5 -8)
Instead of viewing that somewhat intimidating passage as an impossible to-do list, think of it as a pallet of colors that you will gradually learn to mix together to achieve a pleasing result.