#721. RESOLUTION 3. ADD KNOWLEDGE (3/1/23)
As we enter 2023, many of us may be thinking about our own resolutions for the new year. In this 5-day Bible study, we will focus on God's resolutions - His will - for us in the coming year. Our devotions will be based primarily on Peter's words from 2 Peter 1:3-9, where he encourages believers to make every effort to add goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love to their faith. By seeking to align our lives with God's will and cultivating these virtues, we can more fully live out our faith and experience the blessings of following God's plan for our lives.
‘For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.’ (2 Peter 1:5-9)
Summary: If we are to live good lives, it’s vital that we grow in knowledge of God’s will as revealed in His Word.
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Another resolution that God wants us to have is that we ‘make every effort to add to [our] faith…knowledge.’ Notice that Paul places the pursuit of knowledge after the pursuit of goodness; this is because knowledge is not an end in and of itself, but rather a means to an end. The ultimate aim is to become more virtuous and to fulfill God's will by doing what is good. Therefore, the pursuit of moral virtue should be the motive for seeking godly knowledge, so that we can know and do what is good. Paul writes of this knowing and doing in Romans 12:
‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.’ (Romans 12:2)
HOW DO WE FIND KNOWLEDGE?
The ‘renewing of our minds’ comes, principally, through God’s Word and the five main ways of Bible intake: i. Hearing - (James 3:1) Hearing the Word taught from godly pastors and teachers is vital for our growth in understanding.
ii. Reading - (Revelation 1:3) Reading the Bible gives an overall picture of God's Word. Many people find it helpful to use a daily reading program which takes them systematically through the Bible. Many also like to use an audio Bible for this.
iii. Studying - (Acts 17:11) Studying the Scriptures leads to personal discoveries of God's truths. Writing down these discoveries helps you organise and remember them. Using a study bible or good books can be a helpful approach.
iv. Memorising - (Psalm 119:9, 11) Memorising God's Word enables use of the Sword of the Spirit to overcome Satan and temptations...to have it readily available for witnessing or helping others with a "word in season."
v. Meditating - (Psalm 1:2, 3) Meditation is to read a text prayerfully, slowly, repeatedly and with reflection upon its meaning and application.
We all have different capacities and preferences as to how to imbibe God’s word, but we are all to put our faith in God’s power and promises and do what we can with what we have to ‘make every effort to add to [our] faith…knowledge.’ Jerry Bridges writes:
‘The choices you make every moment of every day reveal the kind of person you have become and increasingly shape the person you are going to be. Your character is developed one choice at a time, as you face the diverse circumstances that come your way. Secret victories based firmly on biblical convictions build character. Don’t simply go with the crowd or even with what seems acceptable as the Christian norm…To pursue holiness, one of the disciplines we must become skilled in is the development of bible – based convictions. If we do not actually seek to come under the influence of God’s word we will come under the influence of sinful society around us’ (Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace)
Paul’s words to Timothy are pertinent to all of us:
‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.’ (2 Timothy 2:15)
How will you ‘do your best’ and be diligent in adding knowledge to your faith?
I encourage you to write down a simple Bible-reading goal and reflect on how you are doing against this goal each week. If you fall behind, don’t worry, pick up where you left off and keep going.
Write down why, what (you plan to do) when and where you will devote time to scripture. Writing down a goal (‘implementation intention’) and Creating a habit through consistency is very helpful.