How to be effective and fruitful as a Christian (2 Peter 1:5-8)?
As a Christian, do you ever wrestle with knowing God’s will for your life? Do you find yourself continually asking, how can I be used by God? How can I be effective and productive in the Kingdom of God? What is God’s plan for my life? I have certainly gone through this stage in my life. Let us look at the word of God to give us insight into how you can be effective and fruitful as a child of God. I believe this is a wonderful truth and will lead you to fulfill God’s ultimate plan for your life. Let us read our key passage for today in 2 Peter 1:3-9
2 Peter 1:3-9 “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. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.”
I want you to take note of v8 and 9. 2 Peter 1:8 says “For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” So the first thing to take note here is, in order to be effective and fruitful as a Christian you need to supplement your faith with all these qualities we read from scripture. Not only supplement them, but you must increase in them every day. If you don’t, then as v9 says you will be ineffective and unfruitful. In fact, it goes further to say that whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. That is quite a strong condemnation.
So let us break down this passage to fully understand what Christ has already granted you to be fully effective and fruitful in your Christian walk. By reading our key passage (2 Peter 1:3-9) we can quite easily understand that in order to be effective and fruitful, you need to be “growing”. It is always a growing person in Christ who will be most fruitful. We can learn three truths from this passage.
- Identify the source of your growth.
- How are you to grow?
- The importance of growth.
Firstly, you need to identify the source of your growth. Are you sitting around and pondering why you are not fruitful? Or as a believer in Christ, are you satisfied where you are spiritually? We should never be satisfied and think we have reached some self-proclaimed pinnacle of spiritual success, instead we need to continue to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). In fact Jesus tells us in John 15:16 saying “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…” This is God’s calling for you right here and this is why He chose you, to go and bear fruit. This is where you begin, “go and bear fruit”. As you do this, and as you show yourself faithful in the small things, more will be given. Matthew 25:23 says “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'”
In order to “go and bear fruit” and the key to fruitfulness is to be allow Jesus Christ to be the source of your nourishment and daily bread. John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” No branches can produce fruit that is not attached to the vine. Apart from Christ and his word, we can do nothing at all. When Christ is our source then we are granted power that pertains to life and godliness. 2Peter 1:3 says “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,”. So be connected to the source Jesus Christ, abide in Him and when you do, His divine power will be granted through the knowledge of him in order that He may use you and that you may bear fruit. Amen.
Secondly, how are you to grow? Notice that spiritual maturity does not happen automatically, but it takes time and effort. Something to keep in mind is that you can be a Christian and never grow spiritually. In Hebrews 5:12-13 we read that the believers were still on milk, even though they had been believers far a long time. Lets read the passage: ” For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone. who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.”
There are no shortcuts to spiritual growth. To be spiritually mature it takes time and it is an intentional pursuit. We often see people try and take shortcuts. Often times people associate how they feel to their level of spirituality. Because of this, they continue to seek a certain experience to measure their level of spirituality. Others seek seminars or conferences, or if they read a certain book or listen to a certain preacher, etc.
What the Bible tells us is that maturity is a continual process, and you have to learn in order to be mature. To grow in the Lord, you need to implement discipline in your life. Spiritual discipline! In a biblical context, “discipline means discipleship”. In order to be fruitful you need to be a true disciple of Christ, and in order to be a disciple you need to have discipline. They both go hand in hand, you cant have one without the other. The Bible also teaches us that the more disciplined you become the more God can use you. Amen. The mark of a true disciple is cross bearing. What is meant by cross bearing is that you do whatever it takes to give Christ first place in your life. When you place Christ as number one in your life, then we become partakers of His divine nature which leads to godliness and fruitfulness. This is why you are to grow by supplementing your faith as it says in 2 Peter 1:5-8 “For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is how you must grow.
Finally, it is important to continue to grow in Christ because in order to be fruitful you need to be growing. Not only that but it is a sign of your calling and election. When you grow in these qualities and practice them according to the word of God you are establishing your foundation on the solid rock that is our Lord Jesus Christ. You will never fall nor be shaken. The ultimate end is a rich entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is what it says in 2 Peter 1:9-11 saying “For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your call and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in the same way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
The consequence of not growing is dire. The passage tells us that those who lacks these qualities are “blind”, forgotten that you have been cleansed from former sins. Sadly this is a picture of a unfruitful walk with our Lord and a place that you do not want to be at. So I encourage you today to supplement your faith with all the qualities mentioned in this passage. Make Jesus Christ as the source of your fruitfulness and continue to grow that He may use for the purposes of His glorious kingdom.
As you begin to implement this discipline in your life, you will begin to see God use you in a mighty and marvelous way. Don’t sit back and expect God’s calling to suddenly land in your lap, because this means you are not growing. Rather begin to implement these qualities and continue to grow in the Lord. And as you show yourself faithful in the little, God will set you over much and His plans for your life will begin to unfold before you as you take these steps and be fruitful according to the word of God.
Lets finish by reading a passage from John 15:8 where Jesus says “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
God bless you and lead you. Go forth and bear much fruit.
James Gray – Concise Bible Commentary
Our Daily Bread (A Work In Progress)