Discipleship is an ongoing process of growth in Christlikeness. In the first chapter of his second letter, Peter gives an interesting overview of how the growth process works:
He has given us his precious and incomparable promises, through which you can share in the divine nature, escaping the decadence in the world caused by sinful cravings. This is the reason why you must do all that you can to develop goodness from your faith; knowledge from goodness; self-control from knowledge; patience from self-control; godliness from patience; brotherly affection from godliness; and love from brotherly affection.
The first step in Peter’s hierarchy of characteristics of a disciple is: faith leads to goodness. By practising faith we can develop our ability to be good. Goodness then leads to knowledge, not in the sense of data absorbed from books, but in the sense of an understanding of the world through God’s perspective. Knowledge then leads to self-control. The better we understand God’s perspective on life, the better we are able to make appropriate emotional responses. Self-control leads to patience. With our emotions under control, we are able to wait for the fulfilment of God’s promises. Patience leads to godliness, because patience is a key attribute of God’s character. Godliness leads to brotherly affection because the more godly we become the more we can care about others regardless of their imperfections. Finally, brotherly affection leads to love.