WordoftheWeek: Knowledge

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

2 Peter 1:3

Said differently:

It is through our knowledge of Him that He has given us all we need for a godly life.

2 thoughts on the matter:

  1. This Knowledge Comes as a Part of His Divine Power

Verses like these remind me logic puzzles. This, then this. But never written in order. So, simplified, Peter says:

  • Everything we need for a godly life we have through our knowledge of God.
  • We have that knowledge of God because His divine power has given it to us.

That we, in our insufficiency, have all that we need to live godly, glorifying lives, is absurd. But the ridiculous statement is true. Because He is that gracious to us. Because He is that loving.

He wants us to know Him. He draws us into knowing Him. God has made Himself knowable to little old us. For example, He gave us the Holy Spirit, sent Christ to become man, and provided His Word . And in so doing, He equips us with all that we need and shows us that He himself truly is all that we need.

divine power

  1. This is Contact-Knowledge

The word for knowledge here is “epignósis.”

Greek to you? Yeah, me too. Here’s what Biblos says:

“   (from…epí, “on, fitting” which intensifies…gnṓsis,

knowledge gained through first-hand relationship.”)

Properly, “contact-knowledge”

that is appropriate (“apt, fitting”) to first-hand, experiential knowing.”

What we need for a godly life is not just academic knowledge of Scripture and theology. Thoughts, and even beliefs, are not what wholly equip us.

Personally knowing God, a gift in itself, is what equips us to glorify Him.

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Do you personally know Christ as your Savior? (Click here to learn more if you don’t.)

And, if you do, do you know Him today, too? Do you speak to Him, do you listen to Him? Do you spend time with Him?

As the definition suggests…are you in first-hand contact with your Lord and Savior?

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Peace With Who I Am Not

When Lisa Murray asked me to be a part of her book launch team for Peace For a Lifetime, I didn’t know what to expect. It didn’t seem like fiction –but was it a textbook? A self-help guide? A lengthy theological statement?

Peace for a Lifetime is written by a counselor. A friend. A believer. A woman who knows what unpeace is like- and who is well-acquainted with the many dimensions of peace as God created it. This book is a gift that exhorts and encourages. It knows too much about me…and it set out to prove that today.

I’m working in autistic support as a compliment to my freelance writing. I love it! And I heard for the umpteenth times five time today that I ought to get certified as a Special Ed teacher. While the suggestion is truly encouraging to me, I also have a problem with it.

When I wrote papers for everyday college courses, I was told I ought to conduct research professionally and was invited on trips and into internships. When I excelled in biology in high school, I was told to become a doctor or at least a veterinarian. I’ve heard that if I tried, it wouldn’t take much for me to get certified in…this. And that. And the other thing.

The fact of the matter for not just me, but for all of us is that we’re capable of a lot. We are capable of more than we can actually do in one lifetime.  

We have one life to operate from: one budget, one pair of hands, one cycle of twenty four hours per day. We only get one set of however many years the Lord blesses us with.

These capabilities He gives each of us are gifts, not to be wasted. But they aren’t all to be invested in, honed in on, and exploited until there’s nothing left to do. That we’re capable of something doesn’t mean that we’re also called to it.

But isn’t it tempting? Isn’t it tempting to get prideful? Or overwhelmed? Or bitter about what we could be doing but aren’t?

It’s hard to hear that you could run something…while someone else does. While you know that if you obey the Lord, you won’t. Because He’s got you somewhere else and His plans aren’t the same as other people think they ought to be. And if we’re honest, His plans aren’t the same as we think they ought to be.

We find ourselves telling God how to use us best. Telling God who we are and what we’re good for. Defending our causes and running the “busy” mill to prove our worth…ironically, to the only one in whom we can actually find our worth.

I came home frustrated because of the compliments and the turmoil they stir up as I feel that maybe I am wasted or wasting, though I’m assured I’m exactly where He wants me. In the course of the evening, I picked up Peace for a Lifetime.

Guess which chapter lay before me? Fostering Authenticity. An entire chapter about our counterfeit selves, the lies that tell us we ought to be someone other than ourselves, and the truth:

Nothing fake will ever satisfy our souls like a true connection with a friend, a genuine encounter with God, or an authentic understanding of ourselves.

The whole book is worth a read, but this chapter met me today right where I was. Only the Lord can do that.

“Somehow, in our efforts to be what everyone else thought we should be, we miss out on discovering ourselves, whom God has created us to be.”

What words! Thanking the Lord today for this lesson and this book. Praising Him that just as I start to question who I am in the face of who others want me to be, He reminds me that He has created me. And you. Just as we are. For the good, good purposes He has called us into.

What peace we find when we accept the purposes He gives us as gratefully and humbly as we accept the capabilities He gives us to fulfill them.

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The Faithful “If”

Photo from: www.spectrumhealth.ie

In Philippians 2, Paul explains what the “ifs” of faith can amount to. We read the words “if any” over and over again. Paul explains how the “ifs” we desire can add up to joy. Sometimes it helps to read Scripture backwards.

Those “ifs,” for instance, are based on the presuppositions that follow:

  • Have the same mindset as Christ
  • Look to the interest of others
  • Value others above yourself
  • Do nothing out of selfish conceit
  • Be united in one Spirit and Mind

Before listing these presuppositions, Paul says that these “make my joy complete” (Philippians 2:2.) Paul was not speaking merely of people doing things in faith to make him proud and happy.  He was explaining not just his joy, but the joy of those who read the Word and listen, resulting in a life that glorifies God.

These presuppositions set us up for the “anys” we long for in life. They fulfill the “if” of faith needed to move us from speculative belief into faith assured by the reality of Christ at work in you and me.

What are these “anys?”

  • If any comfort
  • If any encouragement
  • If any common sharing in the Spirit
  • If any compassion and tenderness
  • If any working out of our own salvation
  • If any of God working in us to fulfill His good purposes
  • If any shining like stars

IF we desire any of these in our lives then we need refer back to those presuppositions. And don’t we desire these?

In His grace He gives us every good and perfect gift. By His mercy we are saved without doubt after trusting Christ. But He doesn’t promise to break through our every barrier and buffer. The Lord doesn’t say that we will feel His presence and have His complete joy when we don’t walk with Him.

He certainly doesn’t promise to make us feel supported and cared for when we act for selfish reasons. In fact, Scripture says that “even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure” (James 4:3.)

So often when we wonder why He doesn’t seem near and or isn’t clearly working in our lives, we are also choosing not to live near to Him or open to His working in our lives. We live “fists closed,” as Ann Voskamp says.

On the days of exasperation and desperation that we cry out “Lord, give me anything” or “Lord, I’ll take anything!” these are the things we desire. These “if anys” are what our hearts long for as we seek to live lives that glorify Him and are filled up and overflowing with His presence.

But it’s also on those days that we tend to be willing to open our hands only to collect and hold possessively close. Our hands aren’t open to giving or to clasping palms with others in the body of Christ. Our minds aren’t open to the mind of Christ or the interests of others.

We live like one way, dead-end streets to “me-ville.” At the same time, we wonder why the love of Christ doesn’t roll on in. (tweet this!)

Longing for these “if anys” but missing the point, we change our hearts to say “if only.” If only Christ were here. If only I could feel His love. If only others showed me compassion. Then…then we could get to the pre-suppositions. But that’s not the order God created.

Start with “if any” and obey. Start with Christ first and others above myself.  Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8.) You won’t have to say “if only.”

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” –Philippians 2:1-5
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