Have you ever felt that your faith, your walk with God, your prayer life, your whatever of an existence was ineffective and unproductive?
Then you must not be a minister…
I think one of the biggest challenges, one of Satan’s greatest tools against ministers is self-doubt. Okay, so I can’t speak for all ministers, but I know this is definitely the case for me! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laid awake at night with thoughts of self-doubt flying through my head like the Tasmanian Devil in Looney Tunes. Am I making any difference at all? Are my class lessons getting through? Am I leading worship like I should? Why were there only three kids in class last night? Am I spending enough time with my family? Am I devoting enough time to the ministry? Why did I eat so much pizza? Why did I drink that coffee at eight pm?
I just have to snap myself out of my funk, pray, and give all my worries and doubts to God.
Good thing for us is that God, in his infinite wisdom, inspired his apostle Peter to address the very issue that I (and probably many other Christians) struggle with on a daily basis. Peter, who had many times where he felt ineffective and unproductive, shared these words with us.
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. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9
Notice that our faith journey is a process. We can’t just say, “Beam me up, Scotty,” and arrive all at once at a mature faith. It takes time. It takes discipline. And above all, it takes grace.
And I love that little jab Peter throws in there at the end. Whoever doesn’t go on this journey is nearsighted and blind. I’ve been in glasses since 2nd grade. My eyesight is horrible. Without glasses or contacts of a very strong prescription, I’m essentially flying blind. I can’t even let the dogs out at night without throwing on my glasses. Without some help from glasses or contacts, I will ineffective and unproductive all day – guaranteed.
So why are so many of us content to live out our faith like someone who refuses to go to the eye doctor? We’ve got our faith. We might even be good people. That should be enough, right? I can function. I can feel my way around the house.
But is that any way to live? Peter says that just having faith might allow you to survive, but you won’t really LIVE until you’ve added goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection, and love.
Let’s grab our glasses, put in our contacts, and go on this journey together. Just imagine if every Christian could consider their faith “effective” and “productive.” Now imagine if you could consider your own faith that way.