In this letter, I would like to share with you a few thoughts from the closing of a letter the Apostle Peter wrote to believers: “... but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
The apostle desired for these Christians to grow much deeper in their relationship with Jesus than they already had. We look to these first-century Christians as our examples and heroes of faith, and we wish to become like them. They loved Jesus, were filled with the Holy Spirit, fearlessly proclaimed Christ, had amazing faith, experienced incredible miracles and were willing to suffer and die for the Lord. If these Christians still needed to grow, what about us?
We often think and act as if we have already become all God expects us to be. Perhaps we have been Christians for 10 or 20 years and know enough of God’s Word to teach others. We may have experienced answers to our prayers and are successful in our ministry. And when we go to church or a conference, we hear nothing that we didn’t already know. If you are in this category, the Apostle Peter’s exhortation is for you: “Grow.”
We are to grow in two specific areas: “. . . in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Grow in the grace of Jesus: Grace is favor we don’t deserve. It is rooted in God’s amazing love for us, the depth of which we can only begin to understand when we look at the price He paid at the cross for our redemption.
Jesus introduced us to the grace of God when He came to earth and died for our sin (see Romans 5:2). We are saved by grace, are kept by grace and will go to heaven by grace. Everything we receive from God comes to us by grace, including our calling to serve Him. All we are and all we accomplish for the Lord on this earth is by grace alone (see 1 Corinthians 15:10).
If you want to grow in the grace of Jesus, you must:
Walk in humility: “God . . . gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
Receive God’s mercy and grace for your life on earth (see Hebrews 4:16).
Allow God to place you in situations where you must depend on His grace to get through (see 2 Corinthians 12:9).
Extend grace to others.
Grow in the knowledge of Jesus: This scripture doesn’t tell us to grow in knowing about Jesus but in knowing Him. We can know all the Old Testament prophecies and New Testament facts and teachings about Jesus and still know Him only a little, or not at all. The only way we can really get to know Jesus is to spend time with Him on a very personal level. We need to walk with Him, talk with Him and be with Him wherever He is—in good times, in ministry and in suffering.
Physically, this was only possible for the disciples and those who lived in the time of Jesus. We can’t go back in time to be with Jesus while He was on earth. So how can we be with Him? Jesus told His disciples, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” before He went to heaven (Matthew 28:20). So even if we cannot see Him, Jesus is with us. If we choose to spend time with Him, we have the opportunity to get to know Him better each day of our life.
Paul became a Christian after Jesus had already gone to heaven. In his letter to the Philippians, he told us what he was doing to grow in the knowledge of Jesus:
I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord . . . that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:8, 10).
This is what Paul meant: “To know Jesus is my greatest desire in life and my only focus. It is worth it for me to suffer and to sacrifice everything I am and all I have in this world. I am willing for God to take me to places where I am in need of experiencing His resurrection power, to places of suffering and to the cross where I face death with Jesus. All Jesus went through I am willing to go through with Him, so I may know Him intimately.”
If you want to grow in the knowledge of Jesus, you must:
Be aware of His presence with you.
Live consciously with Him throughout the day.
Enjoy His fellowship and love for you.
Talk with Him about everything and listen to His answers, just like you would with a friend who walks beside you.
Spend daily time in prayer and meditation on His Word.
Be willing to let Him lead you through places and circumstances in your life that will teach you to rely on Him, stretch your faith and increase your trust in Him to take care of you.
Allow Him to let you taste a little of the rejection and suffering He faced for you, so you will get a glimpse of how deeply He loves you.
My dear sister, it is my prayer that you desire to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus.
May the joy of the Lord fill your heart and may His grace be with you.
Your sister in Christ,
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