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Waiting and Doing

As is the case in some other areas of the Christian life, it is easy to go to extremes in one direction or another while trying to do God's will. There are those who are so impatient to be up and doing that they find it difficult to wait long enough to learn what God wants. They plunge ahead in Christian activities hoping that God is pleased with what they are doing. Such Christians may become active in Christian service operations such as committees, planning groups, and evangelistic programs (all very good things if operated in His will, by the way), but are often lacking in the equally important functions of prayer, meditation, and study of God's Word. If they engage in witnessing, they may force the issue with those they meet without waiting for the opportunities God's Holy Spirit gives them, and may often offend. They are like unskilled but enthusiastic carpenter's helpers who, in their eagerness, rush to bring boards and tools which are often unnecessary and which clutter up the work area. Far from helping, they may actually impede the work.

At the other end of the spectrum are Christians who are so obsessed with the idea of waiting on the Lord that they do little or nothing in Christian service. They are concerned that they may do the wrong thing and that their activities in Christian service may be "of the flesh" and not in accordance with the Spirit of God. Such Christians tend to think of themselves as simply puppets activated by the Holy Spirit rather than partners in God's service. They spend commendable amounts of time in prayer and Bible study, but become so involved with thinking about their own spiritual condition that they often find it difficult to give out a tract or engage in a teaching, pastoral, or gospel effort unless they feel especially and mystically led by God to do so. Like some of the ancient hermits, they can become so concerned with themselves and their own spirituality that they are of little use to either God or to their fellow Christians.

To avoid both of these extremes, remember that the great followers of God in both the Old and New Testaments were persons of decisive action and of prayer, and that God's Word counsels you to exercise the same combination of patience and energy. The same God who tells you to be "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16), also exhorts you to "Pray without ceasing … for this is the will of God" (1 Thessalonians 5:17,18). By following all, not just part, of the scriptural pattern for the Christian life, you can be a useful and well-balanced Christian.

—From That Voice Behind You (c) copyright 1991 by Charles G. Coleman. Published by Loizeaux Brothers.