Genesis 12:4 (NIV) So Abram left, as the LORD had told him…
Initiative is when we know what God’s will for us is and act on it. Nothing can ever be accomplished unless someone takes initiative to start. God, our Heavenly Father, is our model of taking initiative. One of my favorite passages is Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Compare it with this story about the “waiting Father,” commonly referred to as the story of the “prodigal son:” Luke 15:20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. In both passages, we see that God takes the initiative of reaching out to us–who are undeserving but need His love and forgiveness the most.
There are many reasons why many people don’t take initiative. Some people hesitate to take action because they want to be sure about the will of God. They will tell you they are still “waiting on God.” Whereas it is important to wait upon God before we take any critical decisions, we need to realize that there are countless instructions in God’s word that are very clear on what we should do. We are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God has told us to do whatever is within our power to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). Time and space cannot allow me to write every command there is in God’s Word. So next time we find ourselves hesitating to take action we need to ask ourselves whether it’s because we honestly are waiting for God’s guidance or there are other underlying issues.
The other reason why people don’t take initiative is fear of making mistakes. They focus on everything that could go wrong and end up doing nothing about the great ideas they have. We could learn from children. When they are learning how to walk, the possibility that they could fall down does not stop them from walking. Eventually they will walk without falling down (well, sometimes). The mistakes we make should remind us that we are not God. They also give us an opportunity to learn and grow.
Laziness is another reason why people don’t get things done. They keep thinking they don’t have enough time, or that they will do it some other time. Whenever we procrastinate, we are denying ourselves of an opportunity to make a difference–and sometimes opportunities don’t last forever. By the time we finally decide to act the impact may not be the same as if we we had acted on time.
Lesson from Abraham
So Abram left, as the LORD had told him…
If there is one lesson we can learn from Abraham, it is this. He acted in response to God’s Word promptly and without asking questions. He was in tune with God’s heart, and so gladly carried out His will. By God’s grace and providence, we are who we are in Christ because of Abraham’s obedience. You can never know how your actions in response to God’s word could change the world. Next time you are tempted to delay, remember how your simple act of faith could be what God created you for.