Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Fear of Ineffectiveness

Being ineffective is probably one of my biggest fears. That's probably why I was drawn to a field of study (accounting) that people told me would always be needed.

I never want to feel like I'm being ineffective with my job, with people, in my relationship with Christ.

As much I as I always try to work hard, feeling ineffective has a way of creeping in every now and then.

When that familiar feeling started to come back again, I tried to really reflect on what made me feel that way. What was I doing or not doing that contributed to that? I asked God for some direction in resolving that feeling.

Bring in 2 Peter 1:5-8:

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.

Well, hello there God! That's quite the answer!

As I began studying this passage and what each of the characteristics meant, God really convicted me that when I begin to feel ineffective, I need to examine myself. He has already equipped me to do everything he created me to do. What am I neglecting?

The ESV version uses the word virtue in the place of goodness and it simply means the quality of life that makes someone stand out as excellent. Am I living a life of virtue? Is there some sin in my life that is keeping from living a life worthy of being called a follower of Christ?

The word knowledge here means understanding, correct insight, truth properly comprehended and applied. This kind of knowledge comes from a continual study of God's word and pursuit of him. Am I being diligent in spending time with God? Do I have a desire to know him more by spending time with him?

Self-control seems pretty obvious. It literally means "holding oneself in." It relates to control of the flesh, the passions and bodily desires. Am I practicing self-control? Is there an area of my life where self-control is lacking?

Godliness simply means to live reverently, loyally and obediently towards God. Am I putting into practice what I'm studying? Is there a part of my life where I'm being disobedient to God? Am I listening to and responding to his commands?

The ESV uses brotherly affection in the place of mutual affection. Both mean a type of kindness and mutual respect for brothers and sisters in Christ. Am I really loving people? Am I taking time to pour into other people?

Love is always a big one. Mentioned a lot in 1 Corinthians, love here is a self-giving love that is more concerned with giving than receiving. Am I loving people without any expectation of reciprocation or action in return?

I love how Peter sums all of this up by saying, "If you possess these in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."

This tells me that I need to be continually reflecting on these things to prevent myself from becoming ineffective and unproductive.

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