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Effective Partnership

2 Peter 1:8
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. (NIVUK)

Employers have to account for the bottom line: how the costs of the business have been overwhelmed by the profit.  The Lord also has expectations of our lives.  He has paid out: the costly sacrifice of Jesus and the gift of faith (2 Peter 1:1), with grace, peace and the privilege of knowing God (2 Peter 1:2), plus His divine power and reliable promises (2 Peter 1:4).  It is not surprising that He expects us to honour His investment in us by wholeheartedly applying spiritual disciplines (2 Peter 1:5-7).  When we do so, and demonstrate a passion to be like Christ, we will become productive in the kingdom of God, because God will use us and His glory will be seen.

Without a leadership spur from the Lord, we will all drift downstream to be ineffective and unproductive.  It is important to recognise that our spiritual lives will go backwards the moment they stop going forwards (Hebrews 2:1).  It is not that our devoted effort can win us favour with God (Ephesians 2:8-9) but if we do not apply ourselves to what He says, we will be useless servants, frustrating His purpose, and forfeiting His pleasure.  
True spiritual ministry in the church and community, home and workplace will result in people turning to Christ in repentance and faith.  The church will grow in unity and zeal, instead of establishing mini-empires around personalities as so often happens.  In the workplace, people may not be able to pinpoint the cause of the believer's personal productivity, nor the desire to serve others, but they will know that it works for the business, clinical unit, school or flight-deck.
God has designed us to be productive (Genesis 1:27-28), but sin pulls us back from being what we ought to be. However, when God's people believe God's Word, and repent of their unproductiveness towards God, the brakes are released, and we can thrive in the work that God has given us to do.  Although every workplace, church and family are imperfect, the daily grumbles reflect more about the heart of the grumbler than the competence of the boss or the efficiency of the system.  By contrast, a highly disciplined and well-motivated man or woman can have an astonishing effect, often bringing hope to others.  So just imagine the glory that comes to God from such an individual eager to be like Jesus!  Even though you may be ridiculed, they secretly want you to show that there is a better way.

Gracious Lord. Thank You for designing me to be productive in Your kingdom. Please forgive me for years of spiritual unfruitfulness. Forgive my grumbling and complaints about the sinful world; rather than being eager to demonstrate that You have power to captivate my life's focus, and to work with You for Your glory. Help me to measure my days by the glory brought to You and not to me; and by the over-riding nature of Your grace, rather than moaning about the submerging effect of the world's decay. I want to be productive for You: please help me and enable me to develop as a good trainee of heaven. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams