God is not passive

Category : God, bible, faith

So far we’ve looked at several examples of people who thought it would be best to be passive.  In contrast, the Bible clearly paints God as an active God.  Even in rest, he’s making a conscious decision to “take a break.”  You never see God sitting back and saying, “I’m just going to see what happens.”  Instead he does everything imaginable to try and engage with us and change our actions.  Here’s just a quick list of what he did: he gave us a perfect garden to live, gave Adam a perfect wife, provided Moses with miracles to free the Israelites, provided them bread and meat in the desert, brought floods, protected them from enemies, sent Israel into captivity, In the end God decided to take the most proactive step of all: dying on the cross.

The one person in history who didn’t need to go the extra mile was Jesus.  And yet, he picked up his cross and died for us.  God never sat back to let us figure out a way to save ourselves.  He was always working to save us.

God is not passive.  And if we should model our behavior on Jesus, then why should we ever be passive?

As we conclude this 5 part series no passivity, take some time to think about your own life.  Where are you letting passivity creep in?  Is it your prayer life?  Are you just not praying like you used to?  Or is it something else?  Maybe you’ve stopped reading the bible or going to church?  Maybe you’re just feeling so overwhelmed that you have started to say, “I’ll get to it next week.”

My friends, there may not be a next week.  Not because something terrible is going to happen.  But because it’s more likely something good will happen – your life will continue on, always having commitments, friends, and TV shows to watch.

Sometimes the biggest threat to being active, is just being content with the life we have.  I urge you to not make that mistake.

This is part five in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here.

Repentance and Passivity (the Prodigal Son)

Category : bible, faith

Most of us have heard the story of the Prodigal Son.  We know that there are two brothers.  One brother is a major screw-up.  He’s lazy.  A partier.  A womanizer.  And he even wants his father dead.  (At that time if you asked for your inheritance while his father’s still alive, you were sending the not so subtle message of, “I want you dead!”)  He makes most politicians look good.  The other brother is upright.  He does what he’s supposed to.  Always finishes his chores.  And is loyal to his father.  He’s the ______ of brothers.

The younger brother (the screw-up) goes off and does a lot of bad things.  He gets himself in trouble and realizes he has a choice: starve to death or go back to the father he said he wanted dead.  In the end he decides it’s better to go back to his father and ask forgiveness.

When he returns home, his Dad, instead of being upset, comes running towards him.  Not only does the father forgive the son, he actually throws him a massive party.  The older brother, who has never disobeyed his father, becomes furious.  “You never gave me anything!” he yells at his father.

To me one of the strongest points of the story comes as the older brother and father are standing outside the feast to honor his brother’s return.   His father tries to reason with him, but the brother wants none of it.  We’re left wondering what the brother chooses to do.

Each brother has a choice: to return with the father or not.  The screw-up chooses to return.  He shows repentance and seeks forgiveness.  And a party is thrown in celebration.  The older brother chooses to pout.  He sits back and does nothing.  He watches from the outside as the family and friends celebrate the return of his lost brother.

We are often given a choice.  Do we choose the hard thing and ask for forgiveness?  Or do we sit back and do nothing other than pout?

This is part three in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here.

David & Bathsheba

Category : David, choice

David was a great and mighty ruler.  He had always passionately and actively followed God.  Even when it cost him a great deal (he had to hide in a cave for a long time because he refused to kill the man who was trying to kill him).  That desire to follow God, and the fact that David was a man of action is what led David to the throne of Israel.

He ruled justly for a long time.  That is, until one day, when he decided to give up his kingly duties (going off to war with his soldiers) and instead stay behind in the comfort of the palace.

It’s during that time when David met Bathsheba. Or more accurately watched her bathing on the roof, had an affair with her, got her pregnant, and then killed her husband to hide the whole thing. (It was a busy couple of days.)

David risked everything including his relationship with God, because he was being passive and not pursuing his kingly duties. If he had been active, if he had followed his responsibilities, none of this would have happened.

While David did many things and accomplished a lot, he nearly blew it.  Because in one instance, he chose to sit back and remain passive, rather than actively follow God.

This is part three in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom.  It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here. Photo provided by flickr user whalt.

Adam throws Eve under the bus

Category : Genesis, faith

Sadly, throughout much of history, Eve has been blamed for eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and causing Adam & Eve to be kicked out of the garden.  This has been used to justify a lot of things against women.  Certainly Eve bears responsibility for eating the fruit.  She knew just as well as Adam that God had forbidden it.

But who’s fault was the “fall” really?

Look closer at Genesis 3: 6-12. Adam was standing right next to Eve.  At any point he could have stepped in and said, “you know Serpent, that’s not really what God said.”  He could have even said, “Eve, I have a bad feeling about this.  Let’s ask God next time we see him.”

Almost anything Adam would have done would have been better than what he did.  Which was nothing.

Adam stood by and watched.  He gave up all the authority God had given him and simply sat by.

Adam knew all along what was at stake.  But it was easier for him to sit by.  Oh, and for the record, at Adam’s first chance to tell the truth to God, he threw Eve under the bus.  Would things have turned out differently if Adam had said, “God, this is my fault, I didn’t do anything.  I knew better.  I’m sorry.  Forgive me.”  Who know’s.  But Adam chose to be passive the whole time – and for that, he was kicked out of the Garden.

This is part two in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here. Photo provided by flickr user Barbra L. Hanson.

the dangers of passivity – Adam & Eve

Category : Genesis, faith

We live in a world where there’s a lot of choices.  Who should I marry?  Is this job right for me? Can I really eat a dozen donuts? In the midst of all of that, we can easily wonder what we should do.  We can become frozen by our fears, our doubts, and even the excitement of what’s to come.  Frankly we can wish for a “simpler time” or “clear choices.”

But would that really help?

Adam & Eve had it all.  They had an awesome place to live.  Probably some sweet beach front property.  They loved their jobs (naming animals and taking care of Eden).  And Eve was literally created for Adam.  (There was no need to rely on e-harmony to figure out that one).  Life was pretty good.

But they still found themselves struggling with a choice: to eat the fruit or not.  Instead of actively choosing to follow God, they passively stood by and listened to the serpent.  “Of course God didn’t really mean that you’d die” he said.  They knew better.  But it was easier (and more exciting) to go along with the serpent than take an active stand.  And by giving up their choice for passivity – they made the worst possible decision.  And thus, were kicked out of the garden.

Nothing good ever happens when we passively sit in God’s Kingdom.

This is part one in a five part series on the dangers of passivity in the kingdom. It was also featured as part of “The Daily” a short devotional geared toward helping people develop regular habits of reading the Bible.  If you would like to subscribe to The Daily, you can do so here.  Photo provided by flickr user Barbra L. Hanson.