Monday, November 27, 2006

Act or React?

In every circumstance today you will get a choice: will you act or react? Most people never give it any thought. They go through life as if they were a ball in a pinball machine, reacting to this and that all day, every day, never in control of their path. Others make a decision about who they are, what they will do, what they will not do, and how they will honor their belief system regardless of any "action" in their way. They are faith heroes. And you can be one.

Look at Hebrews chapter 11. It is considered the faith chapter, the honor roll of faith. You might know the chapter very well but I would like for you to check something out: look for the verbs. When you do, you discover that the chapter is a primer on HOW to live by faith. Real faith has a verb attached to it; a purposeful, decisive action.

11:4 -- by faith Abel offered...
11:5 -- by faith Enoch pleased God...
11:7 -- by faith Noah prepared...
11:8 -- by faith Abraham obeyed...
11:9 -- by faith he dwelt...
11:11 - by faith Sara conceived...
11:17 - by faith Abraham offered...
11:20 - by faith Isaac blessed...
11:21 - by faith Jacob blessed...
11:24 - by faith Moses chose to be known as a son of Israel... forsook Egypt... kept Passover...
11:29 - by faith the Israelites passed through the sea...
11:30 - by faith the walls of Jericho fell...
11:31 - by faith Rahab received the spies...
11:33 - subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped mouths of
lions, quenched violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, went from the
weakness to strength, became valiant in battle, drove away the invaders, the dead
walked again...

These people did not merely believe (as some weak form of intellectual assent), but they matched that faith to a verb and so became great heroes. The scripture tells us that God honored their choice to act by:

1. God Himself witnessing that they were righteous.
2. They became heirs of righteousness.
3. They did not see death.
4. They received the inheritance.

You have a choice today and every day. You can either act or you can waste your life in reacting. Once I was partnered with three non-believers during a golf match. My opponent took every opportunity to curse, make noise while I putted or teed off, and never gave me a putt regardless of how close it was to the hole. In response, I helped him look for his errant tee shots, gave him putts well outside the normal range, and gave him every compliment on his good shots. The other two players in our foursome watched this almost the whole match before finally coming over to me. "Why are you still giving him putts and treating him so nice? He's cheating! He's rude!" and so on. I responded, "I decided before I left my house this morning what kind of person I was going to be. He doesn't get to change that decision."

I learned that from Hebrews 11. Faith means nothing without a verb. Choose your verb. Don't let the world choose it for you.

10 Comments:

At 11/27/2006 01:50:00 PM , Blogger That Girl said...

Boy! I needed that today. I am SO reactive. I always want to be in control but end up letting others make the decisions on how I will act. Not today, by Ned! I'm gonna be sweet today!

 
At 11/27/2006 02:49:00 PM , Blogger Stoogelover said...

"I decided before I left my house this morning what kind of person I was going to be. He doesn't get to change that decision."

That's GREAT! I just may have to golf one more time to use that attitude and that comment! Nah ... but it is a great attitude of the heart.

 
At 11/27/2006 10:19:00 PM , Anonymous Gallagher said...

I once heard Zig Ziglar say when parents wake their kids form their sleeping slumber, tell them it will be a good day. Rub their chest or backl and tell them that today is a good day. He said to repeat that over and over until they wake up. His point was we, parents, stick our heads in and say, "What are you doing? Get up!" Then we wonder why they have a bad day.

Great post. Hebrews 11 is not jsut a Hall of Fame it is a Hall of Famous Believing Actions!

 
At 11/29/2006 10:40:00 AM , Blogger DJG said...

I picked up on the same phrase as Greg.....that is really good stuff. And like Terri I am afraid I need it!

Thanks Patrick!

 
At 11/30/2006 09:51:00 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Faith" is a verb. As James aptly pointed out, a belief without action is not faith.

Great post as usual for this blog.

Grace and Peace,
Royce Ogle

 
At 11/30/2006 02:53:00 PM , Anonymous Frankly Speaking said...

I have often thought of the need to drive a stake while we walk with the Lord i.e. (tent Pegs) to sustain us in the paths of rightousness. Hew. 11 is a wonderful chapter of those who trusted God even beyond what their site could see.
Oh that I would be more like that..
Thanks Bro. Frank

 
At 12/01/2006 01:01:00 PM , Anonymous carrie burlingame said...

I have been a "pinball" for much of this week. Being in worship on Wednesday began the change. Today is a good day. It occurs to me that I did, indeed, make a decision before leaving the house this morning. The day (and the attitude) reflect it. "By faith..." I offer up this day for the glory of GOD and the prayer that He will use me as He sees fit.

 
At 12/03/2006 12:17:00 AM , Anonymous TinaMarie said...

What a challenge! Sticking to a decision made in the morning when spending time with our Lord and Savior. I do not suceed as often as I desire. The Good News is that I will get other chances and God's grace, mercy and strength (which He has given me)to "press on toward the goal". Thanks for the reminder.

 
At 12/04/2006 06:58:00 PM , Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Somehow Patrick, I'm just coming by and reading this. I have no idea how I missed it because I normally keep up with your two blogs daily. Anyway - I love this and am in agreement with Greg (isn't he great!) and Donna that that line about deciding before you left your house how you were going to be is your best line and sums up your entire post. I love that!

That's exactly how I try to live. I determined years and years ago that I belonged to "myself" and not anyone else. In other words, no matter what anyone else said or did it wouldn't (couldn't) affect me unless I let it and that I had to be true to myself through it all.

Thanks for the reminder! Great stuff.

Dee

 
At 6/16/2009 04:56:00 AM , Blogger Synnøve said...

I found this blogpost when googling for something else. Thank you!!

Be blessed

 

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