Value is determined by our choices. We can declare that something is important to us but the context for that declaration is comparative. That is, how do we protect, invest, steward or develop that thing that we declare as valuable? If we consistently choose to direct our choices and resources towards other things, then the value is hollow and illusory.
Many people might list their priorities, in order, as something like:
So by the declaration of many, God is #1. God requires faith, so they are saying that faith is #1. If that’s true, the value of what is declared to be primary should be evident.
2 Peter 1:5-7 encourages us to add to our faith by supplementing it with virtue and add to our virtue by supplementing it with knowledge and so on through a list. The original word used as “supplement” in that passage includes “to be supplied, ministered to, assisted.” In other words, the passage encourages us to serve (minister to) and assist our faith with virtue, to our virtue knowledge, etc.
So we are encouraged to minister to our faith. We are encouraged to serve our faith by supplying it with things that strengthen it. We help it by serving it. We build on it by adding things to it which leaves it in a better position than when it started.
I’ll submit that many of us fail to serve our faith. We don’t intentionally seek to add virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection and love. We set it in the position we declare as #1 and ignore it there. That’s not value at all, it’s an illusion.
When we value something we want to take care of it. We want more of it and focus our attention on it and protect it and serve it. We’re given the road map of how to do that with our relationship with God (faith) yet how many of us actually seek to support our faith by serving it with the intentional addition of virtue, knowledge, etc.?
Faith won’t mature by the passing of years. The passage of years just makes us old church folks. Mature faith comes by serving our faith and intentionally investing in its growth. A growing, maturing faith is a focus of our time and talents which validates the value we have ascribed it. It’s an intentional life of serving the One that we call #1.