<<ready for action, pre-emptive>>
Instead of a reactive response to a problem or situation that has occurred, being proactive is anticipating in advance possible problems, needs or changes. Taking the initiative, thinking ahead and being prepared is empowering – giving a measure of control so the situation can be managed in a less disruptive way. It involves accepting ownership, not resigning to a helpless ‘victim mentality’.
Being proactive is being one step ahead
wise lamp bearers had thought through the implications and were prepared for the eventuality that more oil might be required (Mt 25:1-13).
The Bible says, “Encourage one another daily…so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (Heb 3:13). This is dealing with temptation in a reasoned way, not being dictated to by our passions in the heat of the moment, because our Christian values and principles are already established and reinforced. We always have a choice regarding sin, whether to proactively obey God and consider the old life ‘dead to sin’ or to reactively give in to temptation (Rom 6:11-13; Col 3:1-5; Jas 1:14). We should be proactively obeying God, based on His word, and never reacting in the flesh, which is normally triggered by feelings and emotions.
We are instructed to prepare our minds, to act the way God commands in a given situation (1 Pet 1:13). We are to be ready for every good work and to share Christ with others (Tit 2:14; 1 Pet 3:15). In this life we need to be proactive, to accept Christ as Saviour, then to be in a continual state of readiness for His return (Lk 12:36). Queen Esther was proactive in saving the Jews from annihilation; taking the initiative, and setting measures in place to do so (Est 4:16ff). Daniel had formulated a logical proposal, which when presented met with approval (Dan 1:8-14).
See also: anticipation, forethought, initiative, plans and purposes, preparation, reaction, sow and reap, victim mentality.