2 Peter 1:8
"For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
What is the principle component you use to evaluate your life? How do you determine success or failure? What is a life well lived? What is the basis of your judgment?
2 Peter 1:3 says, those like Peter who have received the gift of faith, have also been given everything necessary to live a life pleasing to God. Not only has God provided this blessing, but He has also given us great and precious promises above and beyond what is necessary to live for His glory in the world. Because of this, we are to respond by diligently developing Christ-like attributes. Peter describes these as virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. In so doing, our lives will be fruitful and effective.
Scripture is replete with examples of fruit, whether good or bad, abundant or scarce, being the basis of God's evaluation of individuals and nations. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus, while warning His disciples of false prophets, says we will know them by their fruits. He asks the question, "Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles?" He goes on to say good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bear bad fruit. Every tree that produces bad fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Jude 12 describes false teachers as, "fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted." You will recognize the character of a person by the fruit they produce. In Isaiah 5:4, God says He will judge Israel, His vineyard because it has provided nothing but wild grapes.
John the Baptist, in Matthew 3:8-10 says, "Bear fruit in keeping with repentance...Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree, therefore, that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." Paul speaking to King Agrippa in Acts 26:21 says his ministry was instructing people to repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance. Repentance bears fruit.
In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus uses a parable of a fruitless fig tree to describe the patience and mercy God displays waiting for fruit. The tree hasn't produced anything in three years, and the landowner is ready to cut it down, but the vinedresser asks for patience while he gives the tree individual attention with the hope of fruitfulness. Just before Jesus tells the parable about the unproductive fig tree, He says "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
In John 15, Jesus says the only way to be fruitful is through Him. "Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." He goes on to say our fruitfulness glorifies God and is the proof of our discipleship. "By this, my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”
Given what we have read, is your standard of a life lived well the same as God’s? How would you evaluate your fruit? Is it abundant or scarce, good or bad? If you are not as fruitful as you desire, is it because of a lack of repentance?
Father, we want to glorify You. Please grant us repentance that leads to life and fruitfulness. Holy Spirit, please do everything You desire to sanctify us and make us effective for our Father's service. Jesus, my Lord, and Savior, forgive me for acting as if I could accomplish anything apart from You. Please quickly correct me when I stray. Stir within me the works of repentance when I do.