2 Peter 1:3-9
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. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 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.
Peter is calling us to supplement our faith. How does this look like?
If you have faith in your own strength, you might typically have been feeding it with striving or independence and even possibly pride. If you have faith that you’ve been dealt the “wrong cards” in life, you might have been feeding that faith with victimhood or blaming.
- Share a few things that you have been living in faith in? Can be things that people might consider positive or negative. Have you been living in faith that you are alone? Have you been living in faith that you’re wise? Share what they are and how your life has been reflecting that belief.
- Now share what you’ve been feeding that faith with. If it’s loneliness… maybe you’ve been feeding it with a belief that you don’t belong. If it’s wisdom, maybe you’ve been feeding that faith with trust in your own knowledge? Or possibly arrogance? What are the things you’ve been feeding / supplementing your faith with?
The first thing that Peter calls us to supplement our faith with is goodness. Why?
The answer? Verse 8. It is so that we may not be ineffective in our knowledge of Jesus. It’s so that we may know Jesus more fully.
Knowledge is made up of two things:
1) The basis of thought
2) The experience of that thought.
These combine to give us the fullness of knowledge.
Ok… so we get to know Jesus fully. Some might ask, “What’s in it for me though?”
The answer? Verse 4. He has given us His promises that we may participate in the divine nature.
Participating in the divine nature means that we have the power of Christ in us. We are allowed to shift the atmosphere of any room. We can shift the circumstances around us because we have the conquering spirit of Christ in us.
- Knowing that you have access to this power of Christ, this divine nature… Do you live this out? If you don’t, what holds you back from actually living in that reality?
Could it be fair to say that most of our answers boil down to lacking trust? We don’t fully trust that it is real. We have this knowledge, this basis of thought. But a lot of times our experience doesn’t quite match up to that knowledge. Why is this? We know that God is purely good. And God, who is that pure goodness, cannot produce something evil or bad. It goes against his nature.
And our behavior follows that lack of trust. Some of our behavior seem to contradict our knowledge and belief.
For instance, when we have anxiety, we are typically saying that we don’t know that we can trust God with provision. Even through He has shown Himself to be Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Provides). We are saying that we don’t know that He is conqueror. When we shrink back from opportunities due to anxiety, we are saying that we don’t know if God is worth and worthy of our belief in Him.
Another example: When we say that we are not enough. Or that we are permanently defective. We are basically saying that I know you made a lot of good people but with me, you’ve made a mistake. We are saying that a God who is purely good has made something bad.
- What are some behaviors that you have that contradict your knowledge and belief?
1 Corinthians 15:17-19
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
God has give us 5,466 promises in the scriptures. If God did not or does not follow through on each and every one of those promises, then everything is null and void. Because it cancels out the possibility of his nature being purely good. And Peter here tells us that we are to be pitied if our belief isn’t true. Since so many have paid for this belief with the ultimate of suffering and death.
But God is nothing if not His word.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
God is His word.
But wait… our experiences don’t match up. That’s the part that doesn’t seem to work… If God is good, then why don’t I see it? What’s going on? If we are going to fully know God, then what about those times when I don’t experience him?
- What are some times in your life that you’ve been unable to see God in those experiences? Share them with your group.
What could be the reason why we don’t see Him? If He is always there, always pursuing, always loving us, always providing for us, then how come we can’t see Him?
- In those experiences that you shared with your group of the times that you’ve been unable to see God… why do you think that God seemingly is absent in those times?
What if the answer is “our perspective”?
We know that he cannot do anything else but provide. But if we take these circumstances and we couple it with the belief that God is untrustworthy, we will continually look for evidence that supports that belief and we will miss out on seeing the provision that God has given us because we’re too busy looking for the evidence that he’s untrustworthy. That’s when we become ineffective.
If you’re willing to consider that it is true that God provides, then you will have eyes to see it.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
- Think about the areas in your life that is lacking. Where there is something missing or incomplete. Where you might feel hopeless. Is it…
People around you struggling?
People across the world that are suffering? Being bombed, terrorized.
Where are the areas that you struggle to believe that God is good.
You have an anchor to put teeth through the scripture. We don’t always see the bigger picture. We don’t see the end as God sees. We don’t see the redemption. Lot of times we are in the here and now and can’t see that future where it didn’t come from me, but now I am redeemed through Christ. We see the hurt and pain right now, but can’t find the beauty that is to come.
God’s way is vastly beyond anything that we can comprehend at the moment. If you know Him and the end game, you would show up very differently. There would be abundance. His abundance is what gives us the goodness. Because his goodness is overabundant and that gives us the ability to continually give it.
He is calling us to Him. To know Him. To be one with Him.
The solution when we don’t see God is not to make ourselves a certain way. It’s to be with him. To draw yourself to him. And sure, it could be awkward. But listen to Him and as you get to know Him, you will naturally overflow with goodness. Because when you have a good father and are clear that he is good and he provides that goodness to you over-abundantly, and that there is no cap on His provision for you, then you will find yourself pouring out goodness and changing your perspective and at times, your circumstances.
God is just delighting in you. That’s His heart for you. He loves you. You have a father who has a limitless supply of good things and he wants to give it to you always so you can give it away freely.
But the enemy is sneaky. He doesn’t outright fight this. He just introduces a little anxiety in you. And we start to wonder where God is. It’s those little things that we have to watch out for.
- What are some of the things that the enemy has introduced to you that have produced anxiety and created doubt of God’s provision?
How do you battle this? Just keep your focus on Christ. God is good and if you pursue Him first, then all things will come from that. Sometimes it just takes that one step towards God in His direction. And when you do that, God always takes the next 5,000 steps.
- Pray with your group about taking that step.