I’ve decided on a new hobby. After watching the Olympics, I’ve decided to take up pole vaulting. Now, don’t laugh. It looks like fun. You don’t have to run too far, you get to fly, and you get to land on a cushy pad. Let’s see, so how to start? Maybe I’ll do some research first. Read up about pole vaulting on the Internet. Study its history and learn about various techniques. Maybe I should read about some of the greats or try to find some biographies and YouTube videos. Surely there’s a “Pole Vaulting for Dummies” book out there somewhere. Cool. Let’s see, it would be good to hang around with folks that like pole vaulting too, right? Maybe there’s a local club or something I can join. Maybe they can give me some pointers. Oh, and of course I’ve got to buy some stuff like t-shirts with cool pole-vaulting logos. Let’s see, did I miss anything?
Ok, so I’m not taking up pole vaulting. But did you notice what was missing? Not once did I plan to do it. I talked a lot about reading, talking, and gathering. The intent of my rather silly opening is to portray how someone can “be” something while not “doing” something. We may talk a lot about what it means to follow Jesus. We may spend time reading about the normal Christian life (to borrow the title of Watchman Nee’s book). We may spend time and energy going to church and small group meetings to learn how to be a better follower of Jesus. We may even spend money buying things that remind us of who we are in Christ. We should dig deeply into “being.” There’s nothing wrong with any of the things that I’ve listed, some are even vital to our walk with Christ. Sometimes though I wonder if we haven’t spent so much time, energy, and resources on trying to be that we’ve neglected to do as well.
Jesus made it really plain and easy to understand, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24, NASB95) And, “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” (Matthew 7:26, NASB95) Paul also observed, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20, NASB95) By “power” Paul means force that is exerted to do something. Words are important but God’s power is released by doing.
There is a balance in Jesus’ words. We must hear what His Word says. We must “be.” Our character must be reformed into His likeness. We must embrace the “be” attitudes of Christ. But we must also “do.” As we read God’s Word, as we hear preachers and teachers expound and explain, as we read about past heroes of faith, as we talk with folks about their own journies, as we gather to worship and pray we are being shaped, molded, and healed. In other words, we are growing into “being.” We need to internalize God’s truths; allowing them to wash our souls. But there is so much more to following Jesus than having our own needs met, our own questions answered, and our own wounds healed. In our “being” we must also take the step of “doing.” But neither should we get so focused, so gratified, so busy with doing that we forget whose we are.
My point is this. Let’s not just read about following Jesus. Let’s not just hang around with folks that talk about Jesus. Let’s not just focus on our own needs, desires, and pains. Let’s do the things that Jesus is equipping, shaping, and empowering us to do in His name. It’s risky. We may fail and make mistakes. We may zig when we should have zagged. We may face rejection and anger. We may look the fool. So what! Jesus won’t love us any less. So, let me ask you this, what are you supposed to be doing? I think you already know. We all have that edgy, uncomfortable thing the Holy Spirit is nudging us toward. Let’s make our walk with Jesus more than just a hobby. Let’s take what we’ve learned and experienced in the crucible of faith out into the lost and dying world around us.