Being and Doing
<<existing and acting>>
Being relates to who we are, the inner qualities of our personality, while doing relates to the outward manifestation of those character traits. The Bible instructs us to “Guard our heart more than any treasure, for it is the source of all life”. What we are within, hidden from view, will likely materialise or be evidenced in the public arena, as the ‘fruit’ of our thinking (Prov 4:23; Mt 7:16, 15:19; Lk 8:17). Humans judge only by the outward behaviour yet before God we are also held responsible for our thoughts (1 Sam 16:7; Mt 5:27,28). Although we may be able to hide some things temporarily from people, it will eventually catch up with us; yet all along it is plain before God to whom we are accountable (Num 32:23; Heb 4:13). What is the motivation or driving force in our lives? Is it guilt, pride, the approval of others or is it a pure heart devotion to the Lord?
Adam, the original human, was created “a living being” before he was given anything to do (Gen 2:7). Although outward actions are important and must be undertaken, the first priority is to establish and maintain a sound foundation [of being] to ensure the security of our future and ministry (Mt 7:24-27). In becoming a citizen of the Kingdom of God we acquire a team leader [Jesus Christ] and the right motives for service. Activity should not determine our self-worth for our significance is because of who we are ‘in Christ’.
Character is what we are; behaviour is what we do
Because we are children of God we should be actively doing what He has commanded us to do, and which He Himself did as directed by the Father when “He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Mt 28:19,20; Jn 5:19, 13:15,17,14:12; Act 10:38). Such results-based actions and accomplishments should also characterise our activity. A balanced person gets their significance by being and doing.
Both character development and its outworking in action are necessary to live a God-honouring life with each being attended to but not to the exclusion of the other (Lk 10:39-42). Martha was so concerned with doing she neglected the importance of being. We too, can be so busy ‘doing’ that there is not enough time to ‘be’. The remedy is to slow down so we don’t forfeit the intimate, life-giving connection with God. Endeavour to maintain a healthy balance between receiving the vital spiritual inputs into our being, with giving out expressed in ‘doing’ service to humanity, otherwise excess input with little outflow results in stagnation while insufficient input with excess output results in burnout. Whatever you do, do it with all your heart in Jesus’ name for His glory, yet also take time out to be physically refreshed and recharged spiritually (Ex 20:9-11; 1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17,23).
Jesus is our role model
When on earth He said, “I can of my own self do nothing…I only do what I see my Father doing…I always do what pleases Him” (Jn 5:19,30, 8:29, 12:50). He did not operate independently from His Father’s directives. Jesus challenged His hearers, “Why call me, Lord and do not do what I say?” (Mt 7:21-23). It is essential to hear from Him and obey His directives as futile activity in the flesh, doing what we think should be done, will amount to nothing of eternal value for “Unless the Lord builds the house, it is pointless” (Ps 127:1; 1 Cor 3:12-15).
He also declared, “Remain in me…No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine…Without me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:4,5). A branch severed from the rootstock soon withers, is not productive and does not fulfil its intended task for the lack of connection prevents the flow of life. It is through relationship and obedience that we come to know His purposes, grow in effectiveness and therefore show Him to a world that is looking for the answer to life. We are merely the delivery agents or channels through which we allow either God or Satan to work, with their corresponding good or evil influence to flow out to affect the world. Surrender yourself daily to the Lord to be His servant, to be an instrument for good (2 Tim 2:20).
Jesus said, “I have completed the work you gave me to do” (Jn 17:4). Paul also could confidently state, “I have finished the race” (2 Tim 4:7). God considers faithfulness to Him and His values of great significance together with integrity of character – the developing and outworking of the fruit of the Spirit results in life-enriching good works (Mic 6:8; Gal 5:22,23). Follow the example of “Ezra [who] devoted himself to the study and doing of the Law of the Lord” to make wise choices and follow Bible principles, in every area of life (Ezra 7:10). Focused determination, motivation and painstaking effort are required from us as we carry out the heavenly orders – “Doing whatever He tells you” (Jn 2:5). Could God say about me, “I say to my servant do this and he does it?” (Mt 8:9). God will if I do what is good and right before Him (2 Chron 14:2).
Relationship with God is more important than what we do for Him
(Rom 2:4, 10:9,10; Eph 2:8,9). Daily we are confronted with numerous opportunities for character development. Our response to these challenges will affect our inner, moral fibre. When we act in a godly manner, our inner self is further transformed into His likeness while our carnal self-life needs constant putting to death, so the new life of Christ can blossom (Eph 4:22-24; Col 3:5-10).
See also: action/activity, balance, behaviour, busy, character, fruit (of the Spirit), good works, input, integrity, lifestyle, Martha, Mary (Martha's sister), motive/motivation, obedience, self-esteem, work.