There was once an older gentleman that decided to take a young girl fishing on a lake filled with stumps. During their outing, the girl’s hook repeatedly snagged the submerged trunks so well that the line had to be cut. The older gentleman never displayed annoyance, anger, or frustration at the situation but calmly replaced and re-baited the hook for another go. I don’t know if they caught any fish that day, mom never said. But, she did catch a lesson in patience and persistence that was deep and often recounted.
Let’s again consider Peter’s words, “Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5–8, NASB95) To your self-control apply perseverance, a word whose synonyms run the range from quiet patience to aggressive persistence. At times quietly enduring the situation, at other times actively engaging the storm. In addition, there are times when a stubborn steadfastness is required to shield and defend our resolve. But there are also times when persistence goes on the offensive; it does not wait for the storm to pass but pushes through. So you see, the word Peter uses is massive in scope.
What does your self-control require? It could be any of the above and change depending on the situation. I think that is Peter’s point, do whatever it takes to see the resolve born out of self-control through to the end. It may seem like you will never get there but keep at it anyway. Let me ask you this – which is stronger stone or water? Stone can hold back water as in a dam. But water is still stronger because with persistence it will erode the rock standing in its path.