I’ve been enjoying Jim Berg’s latest book Essential Virtues: Marks of the Christ-Centered Life. Berg explains how the list of virtues in 2 Peter 1 “presents a clear template for our own growth in Christ and for our discipleship of others in the midst of our own morally corrupt culture.” It’s a great study on developing character.

I think this initial challenge from Berg is spot-on:

Believers who are not diligently cultivating these virtues of Christlikeness will be taking on the likeness of the world instead. They willingly focus only on the temporal things right in front of them. They are obsessed with the present—the latest recording hits, the summer’s blockbuster movies, the fall’s television lineup, the current superstars and celebrity fashions, the hottest electronic games, and the season’s ball teams’ standings. From an eternal perspective, these things are entirely irrelevant. Yet the near-sighted believer can’t see anything beyond the present draw of the world—neither does he seem to want to.

Furthermore, when he faces a trial or temptation, he is focused only on the immediate situation and how he can get relief. He cannot see beyond the trial or temptation to what God wishes to do through it in perfecting Christlikeness—the essential virtues. All he sees is the immediate pain or misery in the trial or the enticing pleasure of the temptation. Consequently, he lives an earthbound and narrowly focused life. He is “blind and cannot see afar off” and has brought on the condition by turning away from the ways of Christ.

You can get it from Amazon here.

share this article

About Ben Kwok

Ben is part of a church plant team establishing the Rouse Hill Church. He holds a Master of Divinity degree. Ben and his wife Diahanna live in Sydney, Australia with their four young children.


  1. Steve 20 October, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Jim Berg has a knack for taking weighty, practical doctrine and making it accesible and relevant to the common man.

    I will have to get that book, it sounds just like what I need at the moment.

    Thanks for putting that up Ben.

  2. Jason Harris 20 October, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Wow. I hadn’t seen this book yet. Berg taught through this passage back when I was at Faith Baptist several years ago and I’m glad to see he’s got it in print.

Comments are closed.