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Am I Effective as a Believer?

The importance of effectiveness knows no limits, from the  stay at home mom to the business executive at the top of a multibillion dollar company.

Effective living

The consequences of ineffectiveness can not only be frustrating but will lead to a wasted lifetime.

As believers, we are not left out. The Apostle Paul in his shortest epistle makes effectiveness the subject of his prayer

And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. (Philemon. 1:6 New American Standard)

Activity or Effectiveness

The greek word translated effective  in the verse above is emerges. In this context, it could mean one of two things-active or effective. The context of the verse and the surrounding verses favor effective. But the alternative helps us understand effectiveness better especially as pertaining to our christian life.

Spiritual activity and effectiveness are not the same things. We understand effectiveness in english as the degree to which something is able to produce intended results. Effectiveness is activity with  intended results. But not all activity is effective. If we are not careful as believers, we will get overwhelmed with spiritual activity  which at best keeps us busy but with no tangible spiritual results.

A Boxer beating the air

The Apostle Paul describes the emptiness of spiritual activity as a boxer who is launching serious blows into the air without touching anyone. In other words, he is very active but wasting his time and energy

Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; (1 Corinthians. 9:26 NAS)

Life has taken a tempo approaching the speed of light! And in our business, we may lose sight of what really matters. It can be easy to get swallowed into christian routines and forget the original intent of those routines. There is a reason why we should pray and meditate on the Word of God. If the original purpose is lost and we are drawn in the form of the activity, we are wasting our time and resources. There is a reason why church organize conferences, similar, programs etc. If this routine looses its intent, it becomes empty spiritual activity. In fact because motion is the hallmark of spiritual activity, we might easily mistake spiritually active people for being effective or spiritually productive.

A case of empty spiritual activity

Jesus speaking to the  Church  in Sardis says

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: He who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. (Revelations. 3:1 NAS)

This church had a name that they were alive, but indeed they were dead. How can this be? Spiritual activity will very quickly earn you the name of being a living church, or a christian on fire. But when there is not fruit, that is, all the activity is ineffective or not producing God’s intended results, that church or believer is “dead” with respect to works.

This generation is prone to spiritual emptiness, and we should cautiously guard our christian lives against it.

Purpose Drives Effectiveness

Effectiveness  can only be judged if we know the intended or expected results or outcome. You cannot judge whether a machine is effective if you do not know what the intended purpose for creating the machine was.

The same is true of our faith in Christ. Faith was given to man to accomplish specific tasks, the chiefest of which is for us to be able to share in the life and works of Christ. Faith connects man to Christ so that man can share in all the glory of His Person and His work through the cross.

For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; (Hebrews. 3:14 KJV)

We become partakers by grace( 1 Corinthians 10:30) and faith gives us access to this grace( Romans 5:2).

With regards to our daily living, the practical aspect of our christian walk, the  ultimate purpose of  faith is for a believer  to share in the life of Christ and manifest that life outwardly on the earth. Faith receives from heaven and releases on the earth. By faith therefore, the church and the individual believer is supposed to be the continuation of the very life and works of Christ. The ultimate goal therefore of faith with respect to our daily living is christlikeness. This might sound theologically complex but christlikeness simply means like  Christ, in living and in works.

Effective fellowship of our faith

If our faith is effective, christlikeness will result. Faith will cause you to grow to become more like Him, act like Him and do the works that He did. Any spiritual activity short of these is empty and void. This is the measuring rod of Christian effectiveness the life and work of Christ.

Philemon who was the recipient of Paul’s  short epistle was not only active spiritually but his spiritual activity was effective. The main had results for his faith-his love for the brethren!

Because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; (Philemon. 1:5 NAS)

Effective faith is faith with works. With Christlike results. Ineffective faith is faith that is dead.

The Spirit’s Desire

The Apostle prayed the desire of the Spirit for His Church

And I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. (Philemon. 1:6 New American Standard)

The Spirit’s desire, herein captured by the Apostle’s prayer is that the communication of our faith should be effective. We should bear fruit by virtue of our sharing in the life of Christ. The Father is glorified when we bear much fruit. None of the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 has a place in that honor roll because they believed and were steadfast in their beliefs. No. They were spiritually handpicked because of what their belief in God led  them do.

For more insight into Philemon 1:6 regarding christian effectiveness, please see these two related posts

  1. Can I be effective as a believer?
  2. How to become more effective as a believer

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