Steps to Christlikeness

Peter says,

And beside this giving all diligence,
add to your faith virtue;
and to virtue knowledge;
and to knowledge temperance;
and to temperance patience;
and to patience godliness;
and to godliness brotherly kindness:
and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, then make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 2 Peter 1:5-8 (KJV

So obviously, step number 1 towards Christlikeness involves at least rudimentary faith, belief that God exists and is interested in me. This faith must result in some action, the first of which is to recognize that I'm not all that I thought I was. Faith leads to bettering myself, wanting to be good or virtuous. I may not know all the unrighteousness that I must replace with virtue but I begin. And eventually I recognize changes for the better in my life.

As I better myself, I respect myself and begin to study the word of God and probably other things I hadn't found time for previously. I begin to take care of myself physically and mentally and develop temperance.

As I care for my body and mind and leave off my past intemperance, I find it easier to be virtuous. And I realize that the intemperate, unvirtuous actions of others come at least in part from a self-centered life that minimizes rules or discipline. I begin understanding others, where they come from, and develop patience.

As I add patience to my lifestyle, others around me recognize the changes in my life and inquire about what changed me. They see the beginnings of Christlikeness in me and may be attracted to the faith that started the changes I am experiencing.

And as I develop godliness, I find it more natural and desireable to practice brotherly kindness and giving (charity) to others. This may often simply be giving the benefit of the doubt to others. The giving of encouragement instead of put-downs. The giving of time. The giving of a smile.

Patience preceeds godliness but patience is immature kindness to others. We usually impatiently dole our our patience. But as we pattern our lives after God and as God enables us to move forward in Christlike growth our patience is replaced by kindness and giving. And God recognizes us as the person He created us to be. He recognizes us as his future neighbor in heaven, as a congregant in the greatest and largest church of heaven where we will assemble each Sabbath. He expectantly looks forward to embracing us and introducing us to a new country in heaven.