Ok I’ll be honest.
The title of this blog post is not really accurate (sorry click bait)
Why? Because nothing I share on this platform is unique to the Bible, henceforth not really a secret if you read it.
However, many individuals in the Christian community emphasize on this one theme/ question…
“Do you having a personal relationship with Jesus?”
And you know what? I love this emphasis!
Unfortunately, there’s one problem I’ve personally been dealing with regarding this question …
What things can I practically do in order to deepen my personal relationship with God?
Thankfully, scripture is FILLED with answers, and this blog will cover some of them.
…For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…
The statement above is an excerpt from Apostle Peter’s letter in 2 Peter 1.
I chose to emphasize on this statement because it got me thinking…
Isn’t having faith in Jesus Christ sufficient to live my life as a Christian?
Absolutely! Better yet, it’s impossible to be saved without placing our faith in Christ.
So how come Apostle Peter is suggesting that we supplement our faith with…anything?
The answer is really in the word “supplement”
Other versions use the word “add” to your faith.
The point is this.
We can’t do anything in this walk as without having faith in Jesus Christ.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek himHebrews 11:6 ESV
As such, before going any further with this blog regarding “Secrets of knowing God”, we must ask ourselves the following questions..
“Do we truly have faith in Jesus Christ?”
“Is He really Lord of our lives?”
Certainty of these questions is paramount if we want to benefit from the points discussed below.
Supplement your Faith with…
Now before we dive into our passage of interest, I highly recommend reading up on 2 Peter 1:3-4 and truly meditating on the truths from those scriptures.
Why didn’t I include these passages in our main scripture of interest?
1. There are so many truths from 2 Peter 1:3-4 that this blog post would turn into a book
2. I want to increase my blog post views (LOL) so I wrote two mini blog posts to tackle 2 Peter 1:3 and 2 Peter 1:4 respectively (but no seriously there was too much treasure in those verses)
The previous blogs essentially emphasized on the fact that in Christ, we have everything we need through His divine power. Moreover, because of this gift, His followers now have the privilege of having a share of God’s nature.
Then, apostle Peter went on to share these gems:
Pay attention to what verse 8 says…
they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ
THESE ARE THE “SECRETS”, which will keep us from being ineffective in knowing Jesus!!
In other words, practicing the 7 qualities mentioned in 2 Peter 5:5-8 will lead us to fruitfulness in personally knowing Jesus Christ (i.e., deepening our relationship with him)!
Now…let’s address each of them (this a going to be a long post #sorrynotsorry)
In the original greek, it rather uses the word ἀρετῇ (aretē) which translates to moral goodness/ excellence.
Wikipedia essentially has an identical definition by stating that
“A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being”
Therefore, supplement your faith by conducting your life in a manner that is morally excellent.
Many of us can have different perspective on morality, however if our foundation is “faith in Jesus Christ” our perspective must be aligned with His.
Henceforth, one believers perspective on morality should never contradict that of another since we must all be founded in Christ
This is why the Bible instructs followers of Christ to not ignore their convictions/ conscience in Romans 14, lest they sin against God.
Desire a virtuous way of living. As we pursue this, we draw ourselves closer to Christ.
How do we pursue virtue? The next point helps us answer this quesiton.
This is pretty self explanatory.
Know the Word of God.
Read it, study it, recite it, memorize it.
Need more tips? Take a look at this article.
However notice that the scripture says “..and virtue with knowledge”.
Henceforth, pursue a virtuous lifestyle by knowing & living according to biblical morals presented in scripture.
3. Self Control
Placing our faith in Jesus Christ…
Knowing that in Christ we have all things…
Pursuing a life of virtue/ moral excellence through the lens of scripture…
These are all crucial
We must then subject our bodies under the authority of God to be literal instruments of worship by way of practice. Daily practice a life style of repentance through the teachings of scripture.
Or to put it more simply
” But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” – James 1:22
Don’t just become a Bible nerd in studying, memorizing and teaching the word of God.
Control every part of your life through the Bible. Let it be your guide, and be consistent.
Other scriptures of inspiration:
You see all the qualities that have been mentioned above?
Being steadfast essentially means being consistent at these qualities. We will obviously never be perfect, but it’s essential for us to strive for consistency and not waiver in our faith in order to truly grow.
Simply stated, godliness means piety/ devotion towards God. Therefore, the practice of the previous four qualities (virtue/ excellence, knowledge, self control, steadfastness) eventually leads to a character of godliness (devotion towards God).
In absolutely everything we do, develop a mindset that your work is being done for God, who is worthy of our total worship.
6. Brotherly Affection
Brotherly affection or from the original greek “philadelphia” (root word
philadelphos) essentially means loving one’s brother or loving like a brother.
Some versions state brotherly kindness, affection, brotherly love, kindness to a friend.
As Christians, all followers of Christ are considered to be our brothers and sisters.
Therefore, let’s make an effort to practice kindness/ affection/ love to all believers.
As believers our love for each other is what causes the rest of the world to know that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:34-35). Our love for each other is what develops fruitfulness in knowing Christ.
Brotherly affection and love mean two different things here. Recall the greek word philadelphos which essentially means “brotherly love/ loving like a brother”
However, the greek word for love in this verse is derived from ” agapaó”
Simply put, this is defined as the “love of God” or “selfless/ unconditional love”
The words of Christ in the book of Matthew really helps differentiate between brotherly love and the love of God.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another
John 13:34 ESV
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us
Romans 5:8 ESV
Essentially, this is a call for us to unconditionally love anyone and everyone.
The motivation? God’s unconditional love for us. (Click here to read my blog concerning this topic).
Before closing this long-winded blog post (thanks for sticking around), notice that each characteristic was a build up of the previous.
Hence why the word “with” was used in between each characteristic (for example “and brotherly affection WITH love..”
All in all to say, we should make every effort to grow in EACH of these characteristics, building from one to another as 2 Peter 1 suggests.
In doing so, we will eventually cultivate a lifestyle of selfless, God-like, love in which we will be fruitful in deepening our relationship with our Lord and Saviour.
Soli Deo Gloria