In our culture we have a proclivity to elevate “doing over being”; to focus more on causes than on Christ. This means that the greatest threat we have as Christians (as defined by Paul in Galatians and Romans when we try to have salvation by works) to our growth in Christ by process is that we live in a future oriented culture that relates time largely to efficiency and productivity. We are more inclined than ever to use time to accomplish results than to enhance relationships.
Of course the balance of this in the biblical model is the fact that the last words of Jesus before He ascended into heaven were regarding the “Great Commission” of preaching the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15, Matthew 28:19,20). Also the fact that Jesus told Peter that if he truly loved Him he would feed His sheep (John 21:15-17). So what we don’t want to do in this session is to give people an excuse not to serve in the Cause of Christ — we are speaking more about motivation than activation.
TEXT: Matthew 3:16-4:4
And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”
When we first meet a person, within the first few minutes of the conversation we ask them “what they do for a living” as a means of sizing them up and figuring out how important they are to our agenda or to society at large.
“We are warned not to waste time but we are brought up to waste our lives” Eric Hoffer.
“Most people spend the first half of their lives spending their health on acquiring wealth and the second half spending their wealth trying to get back their health” (unknown)
“Middle class Americans tend to worship their work, work at their play, and play at their worship” Gordon Dahl.
Because of this culture, many believers are encouraged to set their heart on goals that actually distance them from Christ.
Our “doing” should flow out of our “being”, otherwise our worth and identity is determined by achievements and accomplishments. The problem with that is that, we are only as important as the last big thing we have accomplished! Older people are discarded as unimportant, which is why the suicide rate is the highest amongst those who have retired! Some biblical points to consider:
I. The temptation of Jesus had to do with reversing being and doing
A. We see in the text (Matthew 3:16,17) that Jesus was approved by His Father BEFORE He ministered; His ministry was powerful because His doing came out of a sense of well being.
B. Jesus was able to go into the wilderness and ward off satanic attack and temptation because He already had affirmation and a clear sense of identity in His relationship with Father God!
C. Satan’s temptation had to do with reversing what the Father did to Jesus when He affirmed Him after His baptism. He was tempting Christ to prove His identity by His performance (4:3). Satan was trying to reverse the affirmative words of the Father to Jesus by tempting Him to prove His Sonship by performing a miracle.
II. The symptoms of a person whose “being” comes out of they’re “doing”
1. They tend to view people, creation, and events as objects to use to go to the next level
2. They very rarely rest in the present but are always striving and thinking of the future
3. They constantly compare themselves with others instead of having contentment in Christ
4. Often they covet other people’s gifts instead of celebrating their competency
5. They has competition with others instead of having compassion on them
6. They tend to compromise for the approval of men instead of focusing on character and principled living
7. They try to transform themselves by acting instead of allowing themselves to be acted upon by God for transformation (Philippians 2:12,13; Corinthians 3:18)
8. Their time with God is based on using Him for productivity instead of worship and transformation (Scripture reading is for information, prayer is for results, and church is our platform, our religious or corporate title is our identity)
9. They tend to approach God based on their own holiness and sense of worth instead of in brokenness and humility
10. Their preaching and ministry is totally focused on human responsibility and hardly ever on grace, mercy, and God’s sovereignty.
III. The Balance Between Doing and Being
Being is: Intimacy with Christ / Doing is Activity in the world
Being is: Solitude /Doing is Engagement
Being is Abiding in Christ / Doing is serving in Christ name
Being regards the interior life / Doing involves the exterior life
Being involves our relational calling / Doing our cultural calling
Being involves our Character / Doing involves our ministry
Being is in the invisible realm/ Doing the visible
Being is the real life / Doing the reflected life
Being involves restoring our spiritual energy / Doing is the application of spiritual energy
Being is “resting in the Lord” / Doing is “working for the Lord”
In conclusion, trying to have a good balance between “being” and “doing” is a lifetime journey for me. I often struggle with thinking more about the next thing on my “to do” list instead of being emotionally present in what is at hand. This article is meant to help bring self-awareness, not to heap condemnation or to give the impression that emotional health and inner transformation can come quickly, merely by our choice. We need to allow God space to operate inside of us because only He can transform us.
To subscribe for a weekly teaching click here.