After a hiatus, we return to our most recent series to continue the path of transformation through Christ. Last time, we saw how we start: by adding virtue to our faith. This week, we take the next step by adding knowledge to the virtue God freely bestow us.
2 Peter 1:5
…And to virtue knowledge;
We already defined virtue in our last entry. For our purposes today, we'll quickly recap what virtue is.
Definition: moral goodness in thought, feeling and action
Scripture Reference: Philippians 4:8
Application: With absolute belief in God (faith), we can take on a truly good way of living. This includes a transformation in our words, actions, mindset, representation and reputation. By giving God our complete trust, He will guide us in how to think, act, talk and present ourselves inside and out. This is the essence of virtue.
Trusting in God and letting him guide us in how we should live are key. However, God desires us to grow further. The next step is to add to our God-guided lifestyle knowledge that will keep us and continue the transformation.
Knowledge-Moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living
That word moral keeps coming up. It references a set of high principles handed down by a wise guide. In our case, those high principles are the Word of God and the wise guide is God himself. So God desires us to attain His high principles by reading His Word and listening intently to Him when we commune with Him.
If pursuit of virtue is submission to what God wants for our lives, knowledge is embracing God's ways and thoughts and actively seeking them out. Every day, we must open the Bible-God's voice in print-and let that Word speak to us. We must also take time in prayer to be still and listen to what God has to say to us, not just read off a grocery list of wants, needs and complaints. It's through this communion with God we can attain the knowledge we need for each day.
Knowledge is a Process
1 Corinthians 13:12 - For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
Like virtue, knowledge isn't something we can gain over night. It's not something we can Google. It's not a series of classes we can take in a semester. It's a lifelong process that constantly develops and directs us to a greater understanding of God and His ways. We won't ever truly understand everything we face in this life. We won't fully know God's plan until we finally meet Him face to face. Along the way, we discover new and amazing things about God. That's the wonder of following God. We'll always grow. We'll always learn. We'll never come to the end of this fulfilling journey until the end of time. How wonderful!
Last time, we found that applying virtue without faith is a fruitless task. The same can be said of those who try to apply knowledge without virtue. Knowledge is a powerful thing. It can also corrupt and be misused. Plenty of people have used scripture and the knowledge of God to manipulate, control and damage others. Many have sought to use knowledge to advance themselves for personal gain instead of to gain Christ. These people hurt themselves, others and the cause of Christianity. In order to benefit others and the Kingdom of God, we must pursue knowledge with godly virtue working in our lives.
Perfection in virtue is not required to learn under God. However, virtuous intent must be present if we are to truly attain the knowledge God desires for us. The disciples weren't perfect and yet God gave them the knowledge necessary to start the Early Church. David lacked virtue multiple times in his life, but his desire to pursue virtue led him to be the most successful king in Israel's history and his son to be the wisest man to ever live. The desire to live virtuously opens us up to knowledge that God would normally withhold. We gain access to the mystery and wonder of God and the Supernatural that others are blinded, too. All it takes is a decision.
Ask Paul, who, after an encounter with Christ, followed God's commands and converted to Christianity. A man who once persecuted Christians became one when he decided to follow Christ and learn more. As a result, the scales were removed from his eyes literally and figuratively (Acts 9:18). From that day forward, He pursued the virtue of God and increased in knowledge of Him as a result. It's this decision that gave us 13 books of the Bible, all of which teach us how to better understand and develop our relationship with God.
So Adding to Our Virtue Knowledge Means
Going further than belief in God (faith) and a commitment to good living (virtue), we pursue understanding of what God wants for us through His Word and communion with Him in prayer. The knowledge afforded us will allow us to further solidify our faith and virtue while also growing deeper in our relationship with God.
Chris Farris is the author of The Way, a manual detailing how to implement the Beatitudes into your life. He review events and other media and offers other insights into writing and working for the Kingdom of God.