Make Every Effort to Add to Your Faith

God has granted you all things through his divine power and precious promises.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

Meditating and resting.

Do you have a regular and favorite way of meditating on God’s Word and resting in his promises?

Eugene Peterson describes meditation in his book Answering God as:

“Meditate (hagah) is a bodily action; it involves murmuring and mumbling words, taking a kind of physical pleasure in making the sounds of the words, getting the feel of the meaning as the syllables are shaped by larynx and tongue and lips. Isaiah used this word “meditate” for the sounds that a lion makes over its prey (Isa 31:4). They purr and growl in pleasurable anticipation of taking in what will make them more themselves, strong, lithe, swift.”1

A Carthusian monk called Guigo described a form of meditation called Lectio Divina:

“Lectio Divina”, a Latin term, means “divine reading” and describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to what God wants to say to us. In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.

He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously, this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live, and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives. 

These stages of Lectio Divina are not fixed rules of procedure but simply guidelines as to how the prayer normally develops. Its natural movement is towards greater simplicity, with less and less talking and more listening. Gradually the words of Scripture begin to dissolve, and the Word is revealed before the eyes of our heart. How much time should be given to each stage depends very much on whether it is used individually or in a group. If Lectio Divina is used for group prayer, obviously more structure is needed than for individual use. In group prayer, much will depend on the type of group. Lectio Divina may involve discussing the implications of the Word of God for daily life but it cannot be reduced to this. The movement of the prayer is towards silence. If the group is comfortable with silence, more time could be spent resting in the Word.

The practice of Lectio Divina as a way of praying the Scriptures has been a fruitful source of growing in relationship with Christ for many centuries and in our own day is being rediscovered by many individuals and groups. The Word of God is alive and active and will transform each of us if we open ourselves to receive what God wants to give us.2

Remember:

2 Pet 1:1-4 – I, Simon Peter, am a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ. I write this to you whose experience with God is as life-changing as ours, all due to our God’s straight dealing and the intervention of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 2 Grace and peace to you many times over as you deepen in your experience with God and Jesus, our Master.

3 Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! 4 We were also given absolutely terrific promises to pass on to you — your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust. (MSG)

Lectio.

Reading. Read the Word of God slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into you.

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

Meditatio.

Reflection. Think about the text and ruminate upon it so that you take from it what God wants to give you.

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

What word or phrase stirs you? Take some time to murmur and mumble the word/s, taking a kind of pleasure in making the sounds and getting the feel of the meaning. Take in what God wants to give you that will make you more yourself, created in his image and likeness.

Through his precious and very great promises we may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

Why are we called to make every effort to supplement our faith with virtue? What does that effort entail?

He gave the right to become children of God.

John 1:12-13 – But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God, not because of bloodline, physical impulse or human intention, but because of God. (CJB)

Take on a God-fashioned life.

Eph 4:22-24 – Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything — and I do mean everything — connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life — a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. (MSG)

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

For this very reason, make every effort…

Make every effort, giving: to bear in alongside, i.e. introduce simultaneously; near, from beside, on account of, to carry inward, bring in, lead into.3

Diligence. Speed, dispatch [to send off promptly on a specific errand or official business]; eagerness, earnestness, urge on, to await eagerly.4

Labor for the food that endures to eternal life.

John 6:27 – Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” (ESV)

Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Savior.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith…

Supplement/add: to furnish besides, i.e. fully supply aid or contribute; add, minister nourishment unto. Give, minister, to be a dance-leader; to lead, to bring forth, let go, keep, lead away, be open.5

Faith/trust: persuasion, moral conviction of religious truth or the truthfulness of God, especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; to assent to evidence or authority, to rely by inward certainty, be confident, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.6

Looking away to the Initiator and Completer of your trusting.

Heb 12:1-2 – So then, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us, too, put aside every impediment — that is, the sin which easily hampers our forward movement — and keep running with endurance in the contest set before us, looking away to the Initiator and Completer of that trusting, Yeshua — who, in exchange for obtaining the joy set before him, endured execution on a stake as a criminal, scorning the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (CJB)

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue…

Virtue: intrinsic or attributed excellence; to lift up, to take up or away; by Hebraism to expiate sin.7

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness.

2 Peter 1:3 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, (ESV)

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge,

Knowledge: knowing, the act; allow, be aware of, feel, perceive, be resolved, be sure, understand.8

Continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge.

Col 3:10 – and have put on the new self, which is continually being renewed in fuller and fuller knowledge, closer and closer to the image of its Creator. (CJB)

The glorious Father to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation.

Eph 1:17-18 – the God of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, the glorious Father, to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you will have full knowledge of him. I pray that he will give light to the eyes of your hearts, so that you will understand the hope to which he has called you, what rich glories there are in the inheritance he has promised his people, (CJB)

The Spirit gives you the knowledge of God’s will.

Col 1:9 – Therefore, from the day we heard of it, we have not stopped praying for you, asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will in all the wisdom and understanding which the Spirit gives; (CJB)

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

Oratio.

Response. Leave your thinking aside and simply let your heart speak to God. This response is inspired by your reflection on the Word of God.

2 Peter 1:3-4 – His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.

2 Pet 1:5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, (ESV)

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

 

Contemplatio.

Rest. Let go of your own ideas, plans and meditations, your holy words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. Listen at the deepest level of your being to God who speaks within you with a still small voice. As you listen, you are gradually transformed from within. Take what you read in the Word of God into your daily life. The way you live is the test of the authenticity of your prayer.

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1Peterson, Eugene H. (1991). Answering God: The Psalms As Tools For Prayer (pg 26). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

2https://www.ocarm.org/en/carmelites/what-lectio-divina

3Make every effort/giving: NT:3923 <START GREEK>pareisfe/rw <END GREEK> pareisphero (par-ice-fer’-o); from NT:3844 and NT:1533; to bear in alongside, i.e. introduce simultaneously: KJV – give.

NT:3844 <START GREEK>para/ <END GREEK> para (par-ah’); a primary preposition; properly, near; i.e. (with genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively), (with dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the proximity with (local [especially beyond or opposed to] or causal [on account of]: KJV – above, against, among, at, before, by, contrary to,  friend, from,  give [such things as they],  that [she] had,  his, in, more than, nigh unto, (out) of, past, save, side … by, in the sight of, than, [therefore-], with. In compounds it retains the same variety of application.

NT:1533 <START GREEK>ei)sfe/rw <END GREEK> eisphero (ice-fer’-o); from NT:1519 and NT:5342; to carry inward (literally or figuratively): KJV – bring (in), lead into. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Diligence: NT:4710 <START GREEK>spoudh/ <END GREEK> spoude (spoo-day’); from NT:4692; “speed”, i.e. (by implication) despatch, eagerness, earnestness: KJV – business, (earnest) care (-fulness), diligence, forwardness, haste.

NT:4692 <START GREEK>speu/dw <END GREEK> speudo (spyoo’-do); probably strengthened from NT:4228; to “speed” (“study”), i.e. urge on (diligently or earnestly); by implication, to await eagerly: KJV – (make, with) haste unto. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Supplement/add: NT:2023 <START GREEK>e)pixorhge/w <END GREEK> epichoregeo (ep-ee-khor-ayg-eh’-o); from NT:1909 and NT:5524; to furnish besides, i.e. fully supply, (figuratively) aid or contribute: KJV – add, minister (nourishment, unto).

NT:1909 <START GREEK>e)pi/<END GREEK> epi (ep-ee’); a primary preposition; properly, meaning superimposition (of time, place, order, etc.), as a relation of distribution [with the genitive case], i.e. over, upon, etc.; of rest (with the dat.) at, on, etc.; of direction (with the accusative case) towards, upon, etc.: KJV – about (the times), above, after, against, among, as long as (touching), at, beside,  have charge of, (be-, [wherefore-]), in (a place, as much as, the time of, -to), (because) of, (up-) on (behalf of), over, (by, for) the space of, through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), with. In compounds it retains essentially the same import, at, upon, etc. (literally or figuratively).

NT:5524 <START GREEK>xorhge/w <END GREEK> choregeo (khor-ayg-eh’-o); from a compound of NT:5525 and NT:71; to be a dance-leader, i.e. (generally) to furnish: KJV – give, minister.

NT:5525 <START GREEK>xoro/$<END GREEK> choros (khor-os’); of uncertain derivation; a ring, i.e. round dance (“choir”): KJV – dancing.

NT:71 <START GREEK>a&gw <END GREEK> ago (ag’-o); a primary verb; properly, to lead; by implication, to bring, drive, (reflexively) go, (specially) pass (time), or (figuratively) induce: KJV – be, bring (forth), carry, (let) go, keep, lead away, be open. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Faith: NT:4102 <START GREEK>pi/sti$ <END GREEK> pistis (pis’-tis); from NT:3982; persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: KJV – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.

NT:3982 <START GREEK>pei/qw <END GREEK> peitho (pi’-tho); a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): KJV – agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confident, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

7Virtue: NT:703 <START GREEK>a)re/th <END GREEK> arete (ar-et’-ay); from the same as NT:730; properly, manliness (valor), i.e. excellence (intrinsic or attributed): KJV – praise, virtue.

NT:730 <START GREEK>a&rrhn <END GREEK> arrhen (ar’-hrane); or arsen (ar’-sane); probably from NT:142; male (as stronger for lifting): KJV – male, man.

NT:142 <START GREEK>ai&rw <END GREEK> airo (ah’-ee-ro); a primary root; to lift up; by implication, to take up or away; figuratively, to raise (the voice), keep in suspense (the mind), specially, to sail away (i.e. weigh anchor); by Hebraism [compare OT:5375] to expiate sin: KJV – away with, bear (up), carry, lift up, loose, make to doubt, put away, remove, take (away, up). (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

8Knowledge: NT:1108 <START GREEK>gnw=si$ <END GREEK> gnosis (gno’-sis); from NT:1097; knowing (the act), i.e. (by implication) knowledge: KJV – knowledge, science.

NT:1097 <START GREEK>ginw/skw <END GREEK> ginosko (ghin-oce’-ko); a prolonged form of a primary verb; to “know” (absolutely) in a great variety of applications and with many implications (as follow, with others not thus clearly expressed): KJV – allow, be aware (of), feel, (have) know (-ledge), perceived, be resolved, can speak, be sure, understand. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

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