WWE referees, warts, and Chick-fil-A gift cards on Sunday – do you know what these have in common? They’re all pretty useless, for the most part! (I’m sure the refs serve a purpose at times.) In my opinion “useless” is one of the worst things a person could be labeled as.
No one wants to be seen as ineffective, especially guys. We like to be contributors, movers, winners, pioneers, starters, which is why we invest tons of time and resources into growing our knowledge, skill or trade. You probably know someone who is at the top of their “game” and the investment it took for them reach that achievement.
So when it comes to your spiritual health and effectiveness– how are you doing? As part of a group of 4 men, we regularly face the question, “What’s God been teaching you lately?” Over the years this question has challenged me more than any other simply because it keeps me from becoming useless and ineffective. If I’m unable to answer this question with an authentic answer from recent days (as opposed to answering with an old answer or with the standby “He’s teaching me patience”) then I know that I’m off my game.
In his second letter to the believers in Asia minor Peter urges Christians to “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, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, 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.” 2 Peter 1:5-8 Can you relate to needing growth in these? I see those hands…. Same here!
So what do we do when we find ourselves slipping into spiritual “ineffectiveness”? Peter simply says to “make every effort”. Our darkening culture is doing all that it can to pull us away from looking like Christ and when we merely sit back the current drags us away from our target. Left on our own we will not naturally gravitate towards Christ. We drift towards self and its desires. Peter’s reminder rings just as true for us today that we need to be intentionally growing towards maturity.
So here are a few suggestions to help you “make every effort”:
- Plan out your daily time with the Lord. Pick a book, time and place. Read for understanding and life change.
- Share with your spouse or close friends what God is teaching you.
- Be part of a group of men that will hold each other accountable towards spiritual growth and obedience.
- Disciple others.
If we commit to intentionally make an effort one day at a time, one step at a time then we will avoid being labeled as useless and ineffective. For the Glory of God and the growth of the Kingdom let’s “make every effort.”