#723. RESOLUTION 5. ADD GODLINESS, AFFECTION AND LOVE (5/1/23)
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: The pursuit of godliness entails loving our church family as Jesus has loved us.
You can watch this devotional:
Other resolutions that God wants us to have are that we ‘make every effort to add to [our] faith…godliness, mutual affection and love.’
Even people who have no faith in God often make resolutions around becoming a better person and having better relationships. Deeply, we all know that how we treat others and loving people is more important than anything else. Christians are to be exemplary in ‘godliness, mutual affection….love’.
WHAT IS GODLINESS?
Eusebeia, or ‘godliness’, is rooted in the concept of devotion to God. As believers, it is our duty to strive to be fully devoted to God and to prioritise His values and desires. Godliness will, therefore, lead to ‘mutual affection’ and ‘love’ which are of great importance to God.
Paul writes to Timothy about the pursuit of godliness:
‘Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.’ (1 Timothy 4:7-8)
How many of us waste our time on gossip, conspiracy theories, vacuous wittering about vacuous entertainment. I’m sure we would all be greatly helped by seeking to talk about things pertaining to godliness!
MUTUAL AFFECTION AND LOVE
Loving our church family is an essential component of godliness. Reverence for God and devotion to the church are a crucial part of what it means to be godly. John writes:
‘Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.’ (1 John 2:9-11)
‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.’ (1 John 4:7-8)
"Philadelphia" means "mutual affection" (in the New International Version NIV) of the Bible) and it refers to the idea of loving one another within a family or community. Here, It is paired with the word "Agapē," which is translated as "love" in the NIV and refers to unconditional, self-sacrificing love. In the Bible, the apostle Peter pairs these two words to encourage believers to love their church family in the way that Jesus loved them – unconditionally and sacrificially, as demonstrated on the cross. In other words, Peter is calling on believers to love one another with the same kind of love that Jesus showed by giving his life for us. In 1 Peter 1:22-23, we have the same combination of ‘Philadelphia’ and ‘Agapē’:
‘Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.’ (1 Peter 1:22-23)
As believers in Christ, we are family - adopted by God and united by the Spirit. As members of this family, it is important for us to show love and care for one another in a way that reflects the love of Christ. This means loving each other with grace, purity, generosity, and practicality. It means being willing to sacrificially serve and support one another, and to extend love and compassion to all members of our church family, regardless of our differences or imperfections. By loving one another in this way, we can model the love of Christ and bring honour to his name.
Are we loving our local church like our family? Are we loving our brothers and sisters as Christ has loved us? Are we sacrificially devoted to the good of our church family?
Over this week we have seen the attributes that God wants to help us to grow in. These are God’s resolutions. Those who will prayerfully pursue them are promised:
‘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.’
The devotions that we’ve gone through this week, I humbly suggest, need to be revisited and prayerfully applied. As we go into this New Year, I can think of no better goal than to prayerfully resolve to develop in the fruits of 2 Peter 1:3-9.