Monday, November 18, 2013

Productive and Useful

If you have ever applied for a job or college, applied for a special position, or auditioned to get a part or a position, you know that just getting accepted isn't the end of the story.  There are minimum requirements that you need to keep in order to keep the position you have been given.  That is just a normal expectation for most things we will do in life - it isn't unfair.  Those requirements just assure that you are doing what you should be doing.  They also help you to stay fresh in your school work or job.  In our faith walk, we should be motivated by God's love to continue to work going beyond believing - it should make a difference in all that we do.  Last week, I looked at the qualities that God wants to see us add to our faith as we grow in our walk with Him and I want to continue looking at what we are told in 2 Peter why we need to add these qualities to our faith.  Please use the link and read 2 Peter 1:3-11.

Today, I am focusing specifically on verses 8-11 because these tell us why we need to make sure those qualities are evident in our faith walk.  Notice the first thing we are told why to make sure we are adding these qualities to our life in verse 8.  The NLT tells us that we will be more "productive and useful" in our knowledge about Jesus.  Isn't that an interesting phrase?  Our knowledge of Jesus is supposed to be productive and useful.  Last week, I explored the word, "knowledge" in verse 6, but the word "knowledge" in verse 8 is a different word.  Verse 6 expressed a knowledge of understanding our faith, in particular how we are supposed to live.  In verse 8, the word knowledge is epignĊsis, which means, "precise and correct knowledge; used in the NT of the knowledge of things ethical and divine."  (see footnote 1.)  So, in this verse, Peter is specifically referring to our spiritual knowledge of God.  This is the knowledge that our faith is based on.  However, don't you find it interesting to see that we could become ineffective and unproductive in this knowledge?

We are told to not just add those qualities to our faith, but we are to add them in "increasing measure."  To me, that means that we should continue to grow in those qualities.  There is no mark that says that we have enough of those qualities.  We are even warned that if we are not adding these qualities to our lives continuously, we are forgetting the great sacrifices that Christ made in order to cleansed from our sins.  I don't want to be near-sighted in my faith!  I don't want to forget how much Christ has done for me!  I don't want my knowledge to be unproductive.  Reading the Bible is a good and necessary thing to do, but if all we do is read to increase our knowledge we are missing the point.  Look at what James 1:22-25 (NIV) says about that:
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
Let's not just add to our knowledge about God - let's make sure that we are motivated by His love to add these qualities to our lives.  Let's not deceive ourselves.  Let's make sure our knowledge is productive and useful.

Are you adding these qualities to your faith?

This post is linked with Sharing His Beauty.

1. Greek Lexicon :: G1922 (NIV). Retrieved from
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1922&t=NIV

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