Affirmation #11: Your Action Is Required
Many people squander the opportunity to experience the fullest measure of the power of God because they won’t take action when the time is right. Have you noticed that God rewards action not inaction? Goliath did not fall until David loaded the sling and ran towards him and let it fly. God called Gideon to challenge the power of the Midianites through a midnight raid with 300 hundred rather than diplomatic negotiations and prayer. Moses saw the power of God displayed when he went into the presence of Pharaoh and demanded that he let God’s people go. Without action, faith and the power of God never combine to thrust your life forward. You will remain stuck without action. It may be fun to turn the steering wheel of the car when it’s parked by the side of the road, but nothing really changes until the car is moving.
There are things right now that you know that you should do, but you have not done for one reason or another. These known righteous actions that have been left undone are robbing your life of the demonstrated power of God. It could be writing a thank you note to your spouse. It could be signing up to go back to school. It could be admitting your emotions or wounds. It could be asking your colleague at work if they would like to come to the program at your church. It could be playing catch with your son. It could be making that phone call to the client that is barely on your radar screen. It could be making a donation to a worthy charity or volunteering in our community. We are getting promptings all the time to take a step of faith that is beyond our usual way of acting, and it is these actions that release the power of God in new ways in our lives. We often think that God’s power is only displayed in the big things. In most of our lives, the power of God is released by dozens of righteous actions in the small things.
Let’s take a little deeper look at the episode where God called the Israelites to take action so that they could enter into the promised land. God would be faithful, but the people had to act. It was time to act in faith on God’s command.
It shall come about when the soles of the feet of the priest who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, rest in the waters of the Jordan, the waters of the Jordon will be cut off, and the waters which are flowing down from above will stand in one heap. (Joshua 3:13)
This is the crucial passage where God says that the people of Israel, specifically the priests and leaders, must take action first to demonstrate that they are committed to God's plan of action. Notice that the waters of the Jordan would not part until the priests’ feet were resting in the Jordan.
The same is true for us today. When God makes it clear that we are to move in certain direction, then we need to take the first step and commit ourselves. It is when we demonstrate commitment that God acts. We all would like to see the demonstration of God's power first so we know it’s real, but it does not work that way. It is faith first and sight second.
Now, we are not to be foolish and pretend God is calling us to do something just so we can do something selfish or stupid. Also, we do not want to test God by going out on a limb and trying to force God to rescue us. This was the temptation that the Devil tried to get Jesus to try.
This lesson taught here to the Israelites is absolutely crucial to Christian life. We must take action in the right direction first. If we wait for God to do the miracle first or to eliminate all the problems, we will never act. Some of us only want to act on sure things. But life is not a sure thing -- it takes risk. Life requires that we act before we have all the facts -- before we know how it will turn out. We pray, we get counsel, we strategize and plan, but then we have to act. Without action nothing happens. The miracles will not take place until we are in the midst of the plan.
Right now, you are probably facing some difficulty or opportunity and you really need God to do His part. If you are confident that this is God's plan, and you have done your due diligence in terms of planning, counsel, wisdom, approvals, then all that is left is action. You must take the first step in the direction that God wants. It is not a leap of faith but rather a step of faith. You step forward in faith in the direction that is God's will, and your action in faith activates God's power on your behalf.
We do not know what would have happened if the priests would have been unwilling to take the first steps into the flooding Jordon. But it seems clear that there would have been no miracle. There would have been no crossing the Jordon river and no beginning the conquest of the land. There would have probably been a turning away back into the desert to wander like their parents’ generation until all of them died off and God presented the life of faith to the next generation.
So many people abandon their dreams and the righteous plan that God has laid out for them, because they see the obstacles or the problems too clearly. They know that it will take a miracle, and they want God to supply the miracle first before they commit to the journey. The life of faith, the life of success, the life of joy does not work that way. It is faith first, applied in the direction of righteousness and the miracles will appear when they are supposed to appear.
What are you hesitating about that you know you should do because it is the right thing? Take the step of faith. Go back to school. Start the business. Ask her for a date. Take that class. Start writing the book. Volunteer at that good cause. Write that letter. Speak up. Begin a dialogue with your enemy. Life requires action. God rewards action. Put your feet in the Jordon and begin the adventure.
Thank you for joining us for the Transformation: Getting from Stuck to Unstuck series. Next week, I will start a new series on the 8 habits of great marriages that bad marriages don’t do. I hope you'll join me for it. May God continue to bless you as you move forward in your life.
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