topics worth the tussle #8: it’s possible to be unfruitful

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (I John 3:18 ESV)

For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:8 NASB)

Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. (I Cor. 9:26 NIV)

Your Christian students can be generally unfruitful while they’re doing “good things.”

Is this a terrifying, purifying truth you’ve wrestled through with them – and especially with those students who presume themselves “leadership material” and/or “mature”?

Christian collegians can love… but not in deed and truth. They can run fast… but aimlessly. They can box… without actually landing many punches. They will be “judged more strictly” (James 3:1) and may yet be found wanting. It is very possible for your students to live apparently-solid, others-affirmed Christian lives… without bearing a large portion of the fruit God actually intends for them, without accomplishing the “works prepared beforehand” for each of them.

How often do Christians really assess whether we’re really bearing fruit and achieving what God intends? Do your students ever take a serious look at this?

Your college ministry can be generally unfruitful while you’re doing “good things.”

And is this terrifying, purifying truth something you’ve dealt with in the context of your ministry?

You can “love on” students without much actual, lasting impact. A “great message series” or an “excellent event” can be run aimlessly (i.e., without deciding your aims beforehand and then running straight toward them!). You can institute neat plans and still have terrible actual follow-through, not landing a strong percentage of the punches you throw.

And while you “are keeping watch over [their] souls, as those who will have to give an account” (Heb. 13:17),  you can indeed be found not to have fulfilled your ministry.

This is a topic worth the tussle, for your students and perhaps for your ministry as a whole.

Check out other “topics worth the tussle” right here.


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