NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

This week's Bible study is adapted from the YOU curriculum.

Bible Passage: 2 Peter 1:1-9

Discussion Questions: How can I live a godly life? How well does your life personally reflect God's divine power?

Food for Thought:

In the movie, "Akeelah and the Bee," Akeelah and Dr. Larabee used different approaches to learning to spell. Dr. Larabee wanted Akeelah to experience the power of words, but she was content just to memorize them without letting them affect her thoughts or life. This lesson titled, "My Role in Right Living," challenges us to let God's power be something we know about and something that affects us in every way.

A teaching that made concessions for immorality had begun to permeate the church in Peter's day. That teaching was that one's spiritual life had little or nothing to do with his or her physical life. Many lived as if they wholeheartedly believed that. In other words, you could go ahead and live however you wanted during the week as long as you showed up at church on Sundays.

If that sounds familiar, that's because it is. The church today is filled with people struggling with immorality and various other sins. Marriages fall apart, pornographic addictions plague many and debt handcuffs the majority. The result: We often do not demonstrate strong connection between life and godliness. Believers in general seem to live powerless lives, satisfied with spiritual mediocrity.

In 2 Peter 1, Peter exhorted Christians to exercise diligence in developing qualities that would help them mature and stand against false teachers: "For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love" (vv. 5-7).

Peter continued by explaining that there are two types of Christians -- the fruitful kind and the useless kind: "For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 8).

It's not that one person has more ability to be fruitful than another; we each have equal access to His divine nature and power. But some believers step up to the plate to make the most of what they have been given while others are unfruitful, wasting away the precious gift and privilege they have been given. Peter urged believers to use the power God had granted to live in faith and godliness. He reminded them that though this power was available, they still could fall short of the standard God expected.

The Greek word used by Peter for power is the word from which our English words "dynamic" and "dynamite" come. The word describes power that is active and effective. It describes what may be called a spiritual explosion in our lives as we yield ourselves to God.

Christians in Peter's day were being misled to believe that their relationship with Christ need not have any outward effect. There are also false teachers in contemporary America. Our culture is increasingly accepting of all forms of godless behavior. But God's call on the lives of believers today is the same as it was when Peter wrote his letter.

We are not to forget who we are, whose we are, and what He has done for us. We are to grow more and more like Christ in every way. Stick close to Him. Pursue intimate fellowship with Him. Remain in Him and let Him work through you.

Are you using the gift of God's divine power to the best of your ability in daily living?

YOU

Intentionally focused on African American, urban and multicultural believers, YOU is biblically based with culturally relevant and affirming lessons to help people connect, grow, serve and ultimately be engaged in impacting the world for Christ. This flexible, non-dated all-in-one quarterly resource offers weekly Bible study for leaders and learners, devotionals and teaching plans as well as articles on hot topics and missions. For additional online teaching resources, visit LifeWay.com/YOU.

Other ongoing Bible study options offered by LifeWay for all ages can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool.

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net




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