I’m built to analyze a situation, figure out the best plan of attack, and move fast. God created me in a way where I function best when I’m figuring out how to do something. Even so, this gift of God – my eagerness to be productive – is one of my greatest challenges.
I take charge. I am impatient. I put myself ahead of others. Ultimately, I put myself ahead of God.
I began to learn years ago that I must be a dependent doer, and I continue to learn this lesson.
Jesus is a doer, too. He acted to create the world; He acted by entering our world as a child; He acted by living a sinless life, doing miracles, and dying on the cross. He was resurrected too, but not in a passive sense. God resurrected Him.
Our God is actively involved in our world and our lives. The way we labor is one way that we are made in His image, but we distort our productivity to sinfully and fiendishly claim glory that we weren’t made for.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. ~ Colossians 1:16-18
If Christ is preeminent (most important, in first place), and if He is a doer, then how do we be productive in a way that makes Him first, not us? How can we be dependent doers? Here are four suggestions:
- Pray often. In prayer, we can humbly approach God and ask Him for wisdom and energy. We can seek Him in all our doing because the blood of Christ gives us access to God (Hebrews 4:14-16). But honestly, how often do we submit our labors to Him? We can pray, but do we pray?
- Acknowledge Him. If you’re like me, you get so caught up in doing that you forget to acknowledge Him in your doing. But consider what making Christ part of your productivity could look like. Instead of simply working for hours on a spreadsheet or by cleaning your house, you’re working at a spreadsheet for the glory of God or for Christ-centered housework. All of our work must be for His glory, or we’re striving in futility for our own glory (Colossians 3:23-24).
- Know yourself. Regardless of how many hours you work or how hard you work, your productivity will always be finite. The sky is not the limit – your energy, your time, and your humanity is. Even before mankind’s fall into sin and brokenness, we were never meant to be limitless, independent people. All of us were made to be dependent on God and to need Him for our daily bread. Even now, God keeps us alive with each breath and heartbeat, and we are completely dependent on His sustaining and saving work. When we die, our productivity in this world ends, but His doing continues.
- Rest. This seems counterintuitive to a post about action, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. When we rest intentionally, we submit all of our lives to Christ. We understand our humanity and admit our inability to do everything. We trust that our lives belong to God, and that we are His dependent children before we are anything else. Rest reminds us that we are not God.