Posted on Thursday, Sep 17, 2020 by Craig Denison
But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
-James 1:25 NLT
Most teachings on taking action really stress me out.
In general, I’m trying to figure out how I can take on less responsibility, not more. Between work, kids, church, my marriage, my extended family, my friendships, and needs in my city and world, I’m constantly being asked to give more than I have.
But Scripture, and I believe all our lived-experiences, hold fast to the truth that a life without meaningful action is a life missing its full purpose.
Apart from action our spiritual disciplines fall short of their true purpose. Apart from action, we’re missing the full picture of who we are, who God is, what life is actually about.
But hear me say, that cultivating a rich interior life through prayer, reading, worship, and solitude is not simply for the purpose of action. A rich interior life, even if others don’t see or feel it, is worship to God in and of itself. Action is not the ultimate goal. Obedience to God is the goal.
And God is calling us, you and me, to a life of wholeness. He’s calling us to a life where our interior and exterior move forward as one, healthy and connected to God himself, and fueled with a love so rich that we cannot contain it.
In James 1:25 God tells us that when we catch a glimpse of God’s will, of his "perfect law," and choose not just to hear it but to do it, to be a true doer of the word, that it’s in our action that we can find blessing, delight, and affirmation.
In Day five of this series on rhythms, how might your life and your world be impacted for the better if you decided to engage in rhythms of intentional, loving action?
Where is God calling you to a life of loving action, where you can find not just influence but delight in living out of your unique and needed calling?
For me, when I’m living out this principle of action well, there’s a few rhythms that really help.
Rhythm One: Get a Full Night's Sleep
"God gives rest to his loved ones." –Psalm 127:2 NLT
Our action is meant to come from a place of physical, emotional, and spiritual abundance. Jesus says that unless we abide in God, we can do nothing. That doesn’t mean we can’t work a lot of hours. It does mean that those hours of work, if not done from a place of abundance, might not amount to much.
Choosing to set aside screens, emails, anything that would keep you from sleeping fully every night is the only way to begin your day consistently with the capacity to engage in loving action.
Rhythm Two: Pray for Eyes to See
"For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." –Philippians 2:13 NLT
All around us God is at work, whether we see it or not. Every life you see is loved and known intimately by God. Every one of us is pursued, called, and valued.
Our job, to quote the transformational concept of Henry Blackaby, is to join God where he is already at work (Experiencing God).
Every day in your rhythms of connection with God, make space to pray for him to open your eyes to see the ways he is loving and pursuing others around you, that you might find opportunities to join him in his loving work.
Rhythm Three: Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone
"Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too." –Philippians 2:4 NLT
No matter how much we pray or rest, engaging intentionally in the life of another is at least slightly uncomfortable. In a world where we spend almost all our efforts fulfilling our own needs and wants, it is not normal to make space to meet the needs and wants of others.
Once a day, when you notice through the lens of the Spirit that God is at work around you, choose to step outside of your comfort zone to love another. And if you choose this once a day, while never feeling totally normal eventually it will become your lifestyle.
And in living a lifestyle of loving action, you’ll find a level of satisfaction and purpose you never knew possible.
Craig Denison is the author of First15. First15 writes new devotionals each day consisting of Scripture, reflection, prayer, musical worship, and a call to action. Thousands of readers each month use our content to discover God in a deeper way, and it’s changed their lives.” Click here for more info.