The title of this post should be provocative, it should get you excited to read words that finally explain what it takes to be effective and productive. What is the answer? As you might expect, it’s rather simple and yet difficult at the same time. Simple because I can write the words; difficult because it requires effort.
Peter provides a list of qualities that we should pursue 2 Peter 1:5-7:
- add to your faith goodness
- to goodness, knowledge
- to knowledge, self-control
- to self-control, perseverance,
- to perseverance, godliness
- to godliness, mutual affection
- to mutual affection, love.
You see, if we follow this progression we move from faith to love through several transformative steps: goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and mutual affection. Each of these steps is significant by themselves, but they are not the end goal, they are part of a process.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure…
In increasing measure? I don’t get to check this off my list, I need to continuously add to each of these qualities, to constantly increase each–all of the list. My favorite is knowledge, not so much self-control. Perhaps perseverance is a hard-headed trait, I’m good at that, but not so much mutual affection. Did you have to list all of these Peter? Why all of these things?
…they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
If I want to be an effective ambassador of Jesus Christ, I need to work on all of these qualities.
Here’s the downside:
But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
If we don’t express these qualities we cannot lead others to Christ because we are nearsighted and blind, we can’t see beyond our own noses. How can we forget Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf? I think we forget by not loving others, by not truly demonstrating mutual affection, by giving up when it gets hard. Somehow we buy into the voices we hear in the world, the sound-bites of misguided information that disguises itself as knowledge and wisdom. We lose perspective when we forget we are made in the image of the Creator.
This passage (2 Peter 1:3-11) begins by explaining that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us…” His divine power, his dynamos, his dynamite, has been given to us. With this power comes responsibility. We are designed to participate in the process, called to action, let us hear these words and do something about it:
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
This week our country is in great pain as we witness evil desires taking over rational minds. Individuals choosing to impose their will over others. Corruption, anger, hate, violence, on and on, are all part of the world in which we live, but more importantly, this is the ministry field in which we serve.
If we believe we have the dynamos provided by the Holy Spirit, we actually have the answer. The world will continue to squelch our voice, but that shouldn’t surprise anyone–that is the nature of evil. This month, Russia has outlawed Christians sharing their faith anywhere except in government approved houses of worship. While this is rather overt, our own country continues to push God out of every corner which perpetuates moral relativism.
Here’s the thing, what if we pursued the qualities Peter lists? What if we did everything we could, individually, to be identified with those who are good, knowledgeable, have self-control and persevere with godliness, who show mutual affection and yes, love one another. What if we did these things?
If we do these things we will be effective and productive. People will listen because they will witness our faithfulness, not just hear it. Lord help us to be effective witnesses of your goodness in this hurting world.