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 1.8From David King
Assessment, assessment, assessment. Most of my family are going through assessment of some sort or another at the moment. We are particularly aware of how hard this time is for those taking GCSEs and A Levels. I thought that not having to sit public exams was the biggest get out of gaol free card that there is. Only now am I discovering that, for our young people, the pain is spread out with an extra topping of not knowing what is really going on.
Assessment is hard, not least because when you are assessed someone is making the judgment as to how effective you’ve been, how productive. And at its heart it is normally based on the things we produce.
In 1 Peter 1.8, we are told where true effectiveness lies, and it is a surprise. But before we see that, let’s dig into a bit of background first. In verse 3 Peter tells us that we receive everything we need for a godly life (a God-ward life) through knowledge of Jesus and in particular His “great and precious promises.”
Peter then tells us how we can judge whether our knowledge of Jesus is effective and productive (v.8) or not (v.9). What will be the measure? Will it be: number of people who have come to faith through our witness; money we have given to God’s work; how much our children’s group or home group has grown; or how many people in need we have helped. These are all good things, but it turns out that none of them are the mark of effectiveness and productivity in Jesus’ eyes, because they are all based on things we’ve achieved. Instead, Peter points to our heart and our character. His answer to how we judge our productivity is to look for evidence of:
- Mutual affection
Note two things:
- This isn’t the measure of the productivity of your ministry or your ‘Christian life’ as if they are one part of your life. This is the productivity of your whole life.
- Peter says that the evidence that we are effective is that these characteristics are seen in ‘increasing measure’. That is wonderful news. The Lord doesn’t say you are only productive when you are excellent at these things, but when you are growing in them.
So put down your pens and forget all those other assessments, the list above is the only one that matters.