In View of God's Mercy.... Resolve Away

by PastorErick | 1/2/18, 7:02 AM

[3] His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, [4] by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. [5] For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, [6] and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, [7] and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. [8] For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2 Peter 1:3-8 ESV)

Last week we began our series of devotions by discussing New Years Resolutions. Are they good, bad, somewhere in the middle? The answer: It all depends.

If your resolutions are seen as something that will in ANY way add to your standing before God, or somehow improve His feelings about you, than you’re doing it wrong: God’s love for you is not determined by your performance, but by Jesus’ (see verses 3-4 above)

That said, the Scriptures are very clear that as a response to the mercies of God (Romans 12:1-3), we ought to be “resolved” toward growing more into the image of God in our lives (see vs. 5-8 above). As Dallas Willard has said,

“Grace isn’t opposed to effort, it is opposed to earning."

In what should we seek to grow in 2017? Let’s take a look at some of the things Peter lists for us in our passage:

The Word- Peter says it this way: Add to your faith….knowledge. As a Church, we all should strive to grow in our regular, disciplined reading of the Word. For it is through the Word that God sustains our faith and builds us up (Romans 10:17). Romans 12 says it this way:

Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

You need to know what you believe and why you believe it, and that knowledge will only come through regular study of and meditation in the Word of God.

Grow in Prayer/Worship- Peter instructs us to grow in “godliness” (which really just means exhibiting devotion to God). Now that can be manifested in many different ways, but one of the main, most important ways it is manifested is in prayer and worship. Church, let me just ask you a question: Are you praying for your Church regularly? What about individual members of the Church? And in your time with God, do you pause to worship Him, acknowledging His rule over your life, or do you just ask Him for stuff? It seems to me we all need real growth in this area....

So how to do it? First, put away your Iphone, and turn off your T.V., (No, seriously, do it. I mean it.) Close your eyes, and try to be still. Second, seek to use the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer as a guide. If you want to see how this is done, check out Martin Luther’s little book, “A Simple Way to Pray”. It’s literally just a few pages (and it’s free!), but it’s contents could really help you.

If you’re still not sure what to say, just worship Him simply: “Praise you Jesus. I worship you Lord.” Start praying for others you know who are struggling and hurting. The more regularly you do this, the more it will come naturally to you. Remember you’re talking to God as your Father so you don’t need to be eloquent.

Grow in Fellowship- Peter says, “Add to your faith, brotherly affection.” The word there in Greek is literally “Philadelphian” where we get our city in the United States, the city of “brotherly love.” This is referring to our all being brothers and sisters in the family of God.

How? First things first, we all need to grow in regular Church attendance. Fact is, you just won’t grow in fellowship if you’re not gathering with the saints regularly (Hebrews 10). Growing in fellowship will mean growing outside your comfort zone, no matter who you are. For some in the Church, you already have a group of people you’re good friends with, so you tend to just talk to that group. But everyone in the Church is your spiritual sibling, not just that group. For some, you may not have a group of people that you've fit in with yet, or you’re not particularly close to anyone in the Church. For you, you may have to be willing to take a step towards someone you don’t know and introduce yourself. You may have to go to a Bible study before Service, or a community group during the week. Or how about just inviting people out to dinner after Church, or over to your apartment for dinner sometime?

It really does break my heart when I hear from some people that they don’t feel included in a Church. There’s just no good reason for it, and there is so much that each of you can learn from and appreciate about one another (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)

Alright, we’ll stop there for today. Peter’s not done telling us what we should resolve ourselves to grow in, so we’ll spend more time next week discussing that. But for now, take a few minutes to pray, asking God to give you growth in these areas of life over the next year….

Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Erick

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