2 Peter 1:8 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.
Because verse 9 had such a liberating effect on me over 20 years ago, I tend to gravitate to that whenever I read this chapter. However, there’s a lot more good stuff here too! Verses 5-7 list qualities that should be practical, every-day goals for us. They are perhaps difficult to quantify but they are certainly recognizable, either to ourselves or to those around us. It can be difficult at times to make an objective evaluation of yourself, so it is very helpful, even essential, to have a brother or sister in faith who can be honest with you about how you’re doing. Even without that, however, we know what these things are and can press on to take hold of them in our lives. (Philippians 3:12) This verse gives the reason and motivation for doing that. If our ultimate goal is to receive the accolade of “Well done, good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21, 23) and it should be, then we certainly don’t want to be ineffective and unproductive! The Japanese says, “unfruitful,” and that ties in exactly with something Jesus said in the Upper Room before His crucifixion: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) When God created us He didn’t want pets, much less stuffed toys, but when we fail to grow spiritually and apply the resources He has given us, we aren’t much better than that.
Spiritual growth is of great interest to me precisely because I was so bad at it for longer than I care to remember. I started out with great advantages, as I am reminded often. However, as Jesus said very clearly, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) I am grateful for my heritage, but I must not presume on it. That sort of pride can be disastrous, as the Lord was so gracious as to show me back in 1972. As a pastor, I am to seek to make full use of all that God has provided to me to lead others into full, obedient fellowship with Him. Anything less would be ineffective and unproductive.
Father, thank You for this strong reminder. Help me indeed be a faithful steward of all that You have poured out on me, so that all of Your purposes in giving it to me in the first place may be fulfilled, for the blessing of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!