Effective and Productive Faith
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Ineffective and unproductive.” That could be said of all of us once in a while. You might feel that way about housekeeping, lawn maintenance, or a job situation. As Christians, we sometimes think of our Christian service as ineffective and unproductive. But in this text, the concern relates to our “knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Since our focus scripture begins with the words, “For this very reason,” we’ll need to backtrack for the context of Peter’s instruction.
In verse 3 we learn that God has given us “everything we need for a godly life” so that we can “participate in the divine nature.” (v4) What a beautiful description of what we have at our disposal for living the Christian life.
When you gave your life to Christ this amazing seed with great potential for spiritual growth was planted in you. But without proper care and nurture you will become ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (v8)
Now, to access this promised knowledge of Christ we must work at it, “…make every effort.” And then we’re told what we need to work on. The list is given as a physical trainer would prescribe an exercise regimen. Keep adding more weight, more reps, more intensity.
It’s starts with “faith,” where you are at this moment in Christ. Then the building begins.
Doing good deeds. Thinking good and wholesome thoughts. Striving for good in our relationships.
- studying the word aided by the illuminating work of the Holy Spirit
- time spent in prayer, engaging in one on one conversation with the Lord
- experiencing His work and presence in your life
As we learn what God expects of us we refuse to yield to temptation, endeavor to keep our cool when provoked, and continually work to maintain our good witness in all circumstances.
Growing in the knowledge of the Lord is not a short-term self-improvement project. It’s a lifetime commitment. You will never come to a place where you have mastered godliness or conquered every sin until Jesus takes you home. Growing in the knowledge of Christ is the goal of goals. We are human. He is divine. Nothing could be more worthy of our effort.
Usain Bolt is the fastest runner in the world. He was born with the potential for greatness. But it could only be realized with hard work and commitment. Had he not committed himself to appropriating his gift, he would be just another fast runner. God gave us the potential for godliness. We will only benefit from that gift if we use it.
(6) mutual affection
The Christian life wasn’t intended to be lived in isolation. Mutual affection requires caring and interacting with your brothers and sisters in Christ.
In 1 Corinthians 13:8, the Apostle Paul reminds us that “Love never fails.” Then he talks about the importance of spiritual gifts and concludes, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (v13)
As our love grows for Christ, our love grows for others. In chapter 4 of 1st Peter, Christian love for the saints is again emphasized. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
God has given us the building blocks for a productive and effective faith. May the Lord finish in you the good work He began with your confession of faith as you grow in the knowledge of Jesus.
For more on this topic, check out this article: Unbalanced Christian Faith
Reprinted from The Forever Notebook, Book 2 (April – June) Get your copy here: Paperback and eBook/Kindle formats.