Thursday, February 23, 2017

Focus on Activity

We live in an age that is high in activity and low on trust in God. Now activity is a good thing in its right place and in its proper perspective. Laziness has never been a Christian virtue (Proverbs 6:6-11; Romans 12:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:7-15). But the question is, who are we trusting in? Scripture says that if God does not build a house, we are wasting our time building (Psalms 127:1,2). That when the world is falling apart, we need to stop and realize that God is God (Psalms 46:10). That Christ will build His church (Matthew 16:18). That we who have put our faith in Christ are created for good works, which God has already prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). Now none of this justifies inactivity. But it should affect our priorities.   

It is easy to get caught up in meaningless activity, or even good activity, and to forget what the activity is all about. We can become like Martha, working hard to serve the Lord but not stopping to listen to Him (Luke 10:38-42). Or worse, we can become like the Pharisees, looking good on the outside but corrupt on the inside (Matthew 23:25-28). To avoid this we need to remember we are sinners (Romans 3:23, Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9) saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Because of this we can only live for the Lord by His power working in us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29). This means that my key priority should be a life focused on Christ. This implies a general attitude, but it also implies specific requirements. It implies a life focused on His Word (Psalms 1:2; Colossians 3:16; John 17:17). It implies a life focused on prayer (Luke 11:1-13; Philippians 4:6,7; Ephesians 6:18). It implies a life in fellowship with other children of God so that we might be built up by each other (Hebrews 10:24,25; Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Peter 4:10,11). But we must be careful not to make these things into just another series of activities we engage in. Rather, they should be motivated by our love of God (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 1 Peter 1:8), resulting in knowing Him more (Jeremiah 9:23,24; Philippians 3:7-10; Colossians 1:10).

We can sometimes treat God in a way similar to the old stereotype of a husband who works hard to provide his family with money and things, but does not spend any time with them. Now the husband who wants to change that situation will probably have to do something beyond working up a vague feeling that things need to change; he will have to come up with specific ideas of what to do. But if he approaches the whole situation as checking items off a to-do list, he will not be very successful either. So if we want to go from being workaholics for Christ to being those who do what we do from love and knowledge of God, we need to cultivate specific actions with the right attitude.

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