2 Peter 1:8
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. (NIV)
We must be productive in our faith. When Christ saw the fig tree not producing fruit though it was in season, He cursed it and it died. He makes it clear that when we are unproductive as Christians, we place ourselves under the curse of death. The spirit of death will dry up our bones and ruin our life. How do we do this?
In the Old Testament, the people were commanded to come to the Lord and worship Him by giving to Him. We no longer have to offer animal sacrifices. Scripture teaches the acceptable offerings today are money, praise, devotion, and service. The sacrifices may be different, but the purpose is the same. When Old Testament sacrifices were offered, the flesh was cut away. When we give our offerings of today, we must give from the heart so that we present ourselves to the Lord so He can cut away our flesh. He cuts away the unholy that is within us.
One key thing we are missing in today’s American Christianity is the idea of presenting ourselves or giving ourselves to Him. The Old and New Testament sacrifices are required to remind us that we are to be giving ourselves to Him. Without us giving ourselves to Him, there is no cutting away the unholy.
In the New Testament, Jesus to help us understand takes the cutting away of the unholy and puts it into the analogy of pruning. It is the pruning of branches that allows the tree to produce more and healthier fruit. Without this pruning, this cutting away of the unholy, we are unable to grow spiritually. Yet, there is no pruning without giving ourselves to Him. When we give, He cuts, and we bear much fruit. This keeps us from being ineffective and unproductive in our faith.
To the degree, we give ourselves to the Lord, He cuts, and our spiritual productivity and effectiveness increase as we bear much fruit. When we don’t offer ourselves to God by using our money for Him, giving our heart to Him, singing the praises of Him, and serving the purpose of Him, there is no cutting and no productivity. But as we truly give to Him, He cuts away the unholy, and death dies in us.
Prayer: Lord, help me to not come to You only to receive, but to give myself to You so that I might always be effective and productive in my faith. Amen.