“…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.” – 1 Peter 1:5-8
Those two words – ineffective and unproductive – terrify me. I like to think of myself as being a very efficient and productive person; measuring the success of my day by how much I have accomplished and how many things I’ve checked off my list.
So naturally these instructions in First Peter caught my attention. In order to keep from being ineffective and unproductive, Peter argues not for increasing our efficiency or getting better at prioritizing, but to simply continue growing.
It’s as if he’s saying, knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ isn’t enough – or don’t stop there. Keep growing… add to your faith goodness and self-control and perseverance and godliness and mutual affection and love. These are all important parts of what a full fruitful relationship with God looks like.
A good friend once said to my wife and I, ‘The greatest gift you can give your children is to be a growing person.’ Initially, it didn’t resonate with me. It sounded like bizarre advice, but the more I reflect on it, the more I understand.
The greatest gift we could give our children is not just to raise them to know ABOUT Jesus, but to have a dynamic ever-deepening relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And the best way to give that to them is to actually live it out ourselves. By exampling for them what it means and looks like to be a growing person.
In these difficult and trying days that we are all going through, may we focus less on what we are or are not accomplishing in a given day, and focus more on continuing to be growing persons in our relationship with the Triune God.
In doing so, I trust the Lord will be faithful in using us to bear much fruit – fruit that will last.