But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. – 2 Peter 1:5-7
So you’ve taken the step from faith to virtue. You have actually begun to do the things you believe with all your heart that God wants you to do. I remember the three things I was to do: Stop telling lies, stop hanging out with a certain group of friends, and actually start studying the Bible. It sounds so easy doesn’t it? It was five years after my profession of faith before I finally made the move from faith to virtue.
The next transition from virtue to knowledge took 15 months. My plan was to read the entire Bible in one year. It actually took three months longer. I didn’t beat myself up if I missed a day; I just picked up where I left off. I also wasn’t that discouraged when I hadn’t finished after 12 months. I just kept on reading until I finished.
In no way did my reading of the Bible mean that I knew everything that I needed to know. I have found after reading it several times now that the more I learn, the more I realize there actually is to learn. At the same time, I don’t want to take away from just how valuable that first read through of the Bible actually was. There are still things that speak to my spirit by reading the passages that I highlighted my first time through.
The best part of it all was the fact that somewhere in the middle of those 15 months, God had changed my heart and I didn’t even realize it. I went from having to stop lying, having to stop hanging out with my friends, and having to read the Bible to actually wanting to. I now had a brand new outlook on life in general and what it looked like to love God and actually be conformed to His image. I wasn’t even close, but I felt like I grown leaps and bounds toward it.
If you have systematically never read through the entire Bible, this is probably the best way that you add knowledge to your virtue. Get a really good study Bible that will help you understand a little of some of the more difficult stuff. Learn how the Bible is laid out. Go to a church where the Bible is taught and God’s Word is highly revered. Test the pastor and ask yourself, “Does this person actually love God?” Watch carefully the way they live their lives and pay very close attention to how they treat people, especially people who can do very little or even nothing for them and “their” church.
Read Christian books, but read with caution. We do not lack for wolves in sheep’s clothing simply looking to get rich quick off of their book sales.
Many churches put their sermons online. Find some good ones that you like and add knowledge to your virtue by simply listening to them. Just remember, pray constantly for a discerning spirit. I have had spells of being led astray because I liked the way a pastor spoke. I have put more stock in the man rather than the Word he was preaching. This is usually not a problem if you are actually reading the Word for yourself.
If you have placed your faith in God and are doing the things you believe He would have you do, how are you now adding knowledge? If you don’t really have a plan, develop a plan and start today. If you are winning and gaining knowledge in the place of devotion, you will begin to win in the next step that we will talk about next week.