Embracing Grace: Abundance Mindset, Part 2

A 365 Day Devotional Journal

Day 86

Scripture: Matthew 14:15-21; Luke 2:46-47; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 6:37; 2 Peter 1:2-4 (Colossians 3:10; Titus 2:4; Titus 2:25-26; Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21); Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:1-3; Romans 1:28, 31a; Hebrews 10:26-31.

 

Humpback whale jumping in Chatham Strait, Alaska. Copyright © 2001 Peter Metcalfe.

Jesus walked in an abundance mindset and exhibited this character trait throughout his entire earthly ministry. Not only that and beginning with the disciples, He directed us to do the same.

When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.”

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.1 

Kodiak, Alaska 400 lb. halibut. Copyright © 2000 Art Sutch.

I think all too often we skim through such passages as these without really getting the point of the message. Jesus did not have the reputation of being an idiot while he walked on earth. At the age of twelve, He was already confounding the temple priests with his wisdom and understanding.

Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard Him were amazed at His understanding and His answers.2

The religious rulers sought to entrap Jesus by His words later on, by way of testing Him. He told these men no sign would be given them but the sign of Jonah, thereby foretelling His death and resurrection. He then warns His disciples to avoid their teaching and in so doing implies that His demonstration of feeding the thousands was not just to feed them but to teach them how to walk in abundance (God’s provision), meeting the physical needs of others for the purpose of leading them to salvation. Notice how He correlates walking in abundance with faith:

Now when His disciples had come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. Then Jesus said to them, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees.”

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, “It is because we have taken no bread.”

But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, “O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?—but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.3

The Gospel of Mark records this account to include the disciples questioning Jesus regarding their ability to feed the thousands.

Photo courtesy of Vera Kratochvil. Public Domain.

What this passage does not spell out is that a denarius was in Bible times the wages paid for a day’s work. They did not have this kind of money at their disposal. They were simple fishermen and laborers, with the exception of Matthew, the tax collector who left his position to follow Jesus. It is quite possible that whoever spoke these words asked a rhetorical question, perhaps even with sarcastic humor, not expecting Jesus to do anything but send the people away.

But He answered and said to them, “You give them something to eat.”

And they said to Him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?”4

The disciples did finally get it, but not until much later. Once they received the empowering of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room, they went about demonstrating their understanding everywhere they went, adding to the church daily. Peter comes right out and states this in his second letter.

 
 

 

Caribou in Denali National Park and Reserve. Public Domain.

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 5

Photo courtesy of Can Atacan. Public Domain.

My husband tells of a time when He had been prayed for by Rodney Howard-Browne, how he ended up on the floor in a vision with Jesus for over an hour. Jesus came over to Him, grabbed a stool, and sat with him. After some moments of silence, He said “You have everything you need, Jim,” repeating this statement several times.

This is Truth, but until we walk in the “true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence,” we will not experience it. Look back up at this passage from 2 Peter. Notice that the wording of this statement is past tense – “has granted.”

 

Photo courtesy of Johnson Cherian. Public Domain.

The phrase “the true knowledge” is here translated from the Greek noun, epignōsis, ἐπίγνωσις [Strong’s G1922], meaning “precise and correct knowledge.” 6 It comes from the root verb, epiginōskō, ἐπιγινώσκω [Strong’s G1921], meaning “to becoming thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly…accurately…by sight, hearing, of certain signs, to perceive who a person is.” 7 Of this verb, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament states that it signifies “to know thoroughly (epi, ‘intensive,’ ginōskō, ‘to know’), to recognize a thing to be what it really is, to acknowledge.” 8 The two words epiginōskō comes from, the root preposition, epi, ἐπί , [Strong’s G1909] meaning “upon” 9 and the verb, ginōskō, γινώσκω, [Strong’s G1097], meaning “to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive,” are significant in that ginōskō is the “Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman.” 10

Incidentally, Ginōskō is the same verb used in Matthew 12:23 and Matthew 13:11, with reference to a tree being known by its fruit and when Jesus told His disciples that to them it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. It is also the same verb used in Matthew 16:8 where it says that “Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘O ye of little faith…” And again, it is the same verb used in Mark 4:13, when Jesus said “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?”

It is important for me not only to comprehend true knowledge but to grow into it. Throughout the New Testament, the importance of growing in true knowledge is referred to time and time again. Paul writes in Colossians 1:9-10, that being filled with this (true) knowledge is what enables us to be fruitful and fully please the Lord. He prayed for the Ephesians (in Ephesians 1:17-18) that God would grant them “the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him,” for the purpose of having their eyes and heart opened to receive experientially the hope of His calling and the riches and glory of His inheritance, so that we would know “the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,” toward us who believe.11

 

Photo courtesy of Vince Mig. Public Domain.

Why would Paul write this if we weren’t supposed to walk in it? I am not talking about just the early apostles, but us, the collective body of Christ. This is who Paul was writing to.

Remember the church at Laodicea? They did not end up with a positive witness, according to John’s Revelation. Take a look at what Paul wrote concerning them in Colossians:

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.12

 

Golden nut, photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

I neither preach nor believe the distortions of the “Prosperity Gospel” which are founded in the love of money. Neither can I ignore the phrase, “the wealth,” in the passage above. It is translated from the Greek, ploutos, πλοῦτος [Strong’s G4149]. This word clearly refers to “riches, wealth, abundance of external possessions… a good i.e., that with which one is enriched.”13 Vine’s says that in this passage it refers to the spiritual and moral riches “possessed by God and exercised towards man,” yet when Jesus fed the thousands, the bread He gave them also was physical.14 If this passage only meant spiritual wealth, why did Jesus not only provide for the physical needs of others but tell us to go and do the same, unless the key to accessing God’s provision comes through the true knowledge of God?

I won’t belabor the point. You can read more about true knowledge in Colossians 3:10; 1 Titus 2:4; 2 Titus 2:25-26; 2 Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21.

 

Photo courtesy of Petr Kratochvil. Public Domain.

Scripture warns us, however, that if we choose not to know God in this way, with true knowledge, in several of the above references and in this one quoted here, below, God will give us over to a deprived mind and allow us to have that which we prefer over Him, all unrighteousness:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper …being filled with all unrighteousness…” 15

The phrase “to acknowledge” is translated from two Greek words here: echō, ἔχω [ Strong’s G2192], and our now familiar word, epignōsis , ἐπίγνωσις. Echō means “to have (hold) in possession of the mind… to hold fast… possess.” 16 The implication here being that if I choose not to possess true knowledge of God, then I will be given over to a depraved mind.

Paul states that if we go on sinning willfully, as a rebellious, preconceived act of our will, we will not retain Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins but instead will reap judgment on ourselves:

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 17

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God.

This is why it is so important to walk humbly with Him, so that when we do stumble (and we will), we are willing to receive correction from Him.

Read: Matthew 14:15-21; Luke 2:46-47; Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 6:37; 2 Peter 1:2-4 (Colossians 3:10; 1 Titus 2:4; 2 Titus 2:25-26; 2 Titus 3:7; 2 Peter 1:8-9; and 2 Peter 2:20-21); Colossians 1:9-10; Colossians 2:1-3; Romans 1:28, 31a; Hebrews 10:26-31. Journal your private thoughts.

Father God, it is clear to me now that You place great importance on true knowledge. I am beginning to comprehend what You mean by this but ask for further insight and the wisdom necessary to walk in it. I want to fully please You and be fruitful. For Jesus’ sake, and the kingdom’s, amen.

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1 Matthew 14:15-21. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
2 Luke 2:46-47. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
3 Matthew 16:1-12. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
4 Mark 6:37. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com
5 2 Peter 1:2-4. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
6 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epignōsis (Strong’s 1922)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1922&t=NASB
7 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epiginōskō (Strong’s 1921)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1921&t=NASB
8 ibid.
9 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for epi (Strong’s 1909)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1909&t=NASB
10 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ginōskō (Strong’s 1097)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1097&t=NASB
11 Colossians 1:9-10. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
12 Colossians 2:1-3. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
13 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for ploutos (Strong’s 4149)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4149&t=NASB
14 ibid.
15 Romans 1:28, 31a. Bold emphasis mine. Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. www.lockman.org
16 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for echō (Strong’s 2192)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 20 Jun 2011. http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2192&t=NASB
17Hebrews 10:26-31. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.nelsonbibles.com

Copyright © 2011, Érin Elise

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