You can’t just sit around waiting for God to do something for you when you should be taking action. Faith is believing enough in something that you are willing to step out, take a risk, and take action, believing for a good outcome. Dreams, visions, and goals are great things, but unless you put action plans in place they are worthless. In this episode we talk about taking action on the things in your heart.
Unless You Take Action, Your Dream is Worthless
I believe in miracles, I believe, and more than believe, I know God intervenes on our behalf when we are down, when we do not have the strength or resources. I continue to believe and hold steadfastly to the love of God in faith believing him to intervene regularly in my life.
James’ question (in the Book of James, Chapter 2) was, “What good is it if someone has faith, but does not live it?” James goes so far as to say that it is not productive to pray for someone if we are unwilling to do the practical things we are capable of doing to help them.
James implies that when we pray for someone without a willingness to become involved in their lives in practical ways, we are abdicating our responsibility and expecting God to miraculously do for us the work we are supposed to be doing.
You can’t just sit around hoping good things will happen. You have to identify the good things you hope for, you have to focus on achieving them, and you’ve got to take ACTION.
Identify the Good Things You Hope Happen [5:53]
We’ve got to shift to an action bias. We’ve got to train our minds to think about the actions associated with the dream.
We have to know what we want out of life. I want what God wants, so I LISTEN intently and daily to his communication to my heart. (We need to do a podcast someday about what it means to “listen” to God.) I have to have a dream, a vision, a direction.
Identify what you want. What I want is what God has put in my heart. I must identify it.
Focus on Achieving Them [10:58]
It still takes work. It’s not just sitting around hoping for something good to happen. It is not sitting around hoping for a miracle. It is work. It is doing something. It’s not knowledge, its not preparation, its not education, its work.
Even the guys in the gospel story who had a paralyzed friend they wanted to present to Jesus, even those guys hauled the guy up on the roof of where Jesus was speaking, tore the roof off, and lowered the guy with ropes so he was dangling right in front of Jesus. They were desperate, determined, and focused. I love it!
We are partners with God in the dream. We are in this together. Does God need us? Yes and no… but on the “yes” side, there’s this whole thing of purpose and plan and calling.
We are participants and not spectators.
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1.3-8 ESV
God HAS granted us everything we need pertaining to LIFE. He has called us to excellence. He has granted us great promises so that we may become partakers or participants or partners in his divine nature. He are in a divine/human partnership. There are things that happen on the divine side of the partnership, there are things that happen on the human side of the partnership. It is a partnership of incarnation.
Peter goes on to say, “Make every effort to supplement your faith….” Faith needs supplements. We add to faith. Faith is not an end, it is a beginning. Faith prompts the work we have to do. Supplement your faith with:
- godliness (integrity and character)
- caring about people
- serving others through love
This is LIFE calibration!
I’ve had dreams for 30 years that have not had legs. I’ve accomplished a lot, built a lot, seen a lot of transformation, but we are putting legs on the things worth pursuing and killing off the other stuff.
The other day I was listening to a business man who teaches and sells marketing. He claimed that his process works, in his opinion 100% of the time. It is tested and proven, but his experience is that out of every 100 people who buy the training, only 1 will really work it and apply it and see significant lift. He observes that all 100 people think they will be that one person, but only about 1 out of 100 really puts the work in to see the lift in their lives.
It works, but not without a lot of work.
The cohorts we’ve done for 10 years, I don’t even beat myself up because we only see significant results in about half of those who do the cohort because for the other half it is a notebook on a shelf. We add to their knowledge, but unless they put the time in creating the chaos and working through the hard things, they will not see significant lift.
It works, but not without a lot of work.
We’ve got to narrow our focus down to those things worthy of our attention. Focus on those things.
I have 5 things floating around inside me, any of which could require the dedication of 100% of my focus. I have to pick one. Just one. Then, I focus on achieving that one thing.
You’ve Got to Take Action [24:44]
Taking ACTION is the point.
It is DOING something that matters.
“I thought about it…” “I should… someday…” are passive statements that accomplish nothing.
We pray and we ask God to do something for us and we sit and we wait, but everything takes an action on our part. The purpose of faith is not sitting around waiting for a miracle, but the purpose of faith is having enough confidence that good things can happen that we get up and start working on it.
Praying to lose weight is worthless.
Praying for God to give you the strength to persevere while jogging that first mile is powerful. Praying for a healthy mindset and then living it is powerful.
Praying for healing for physical conditions caused by our continued abuse of our own bodies is futile. Daily praying for strength and courage to DO, to take ACTION on the things we must DO to be healthy is powerful.
Supplement your faith, because faith without works is worthless.
Get in the Presence of God, a Passion will arise, a Path will emerge, and a Practice will result.
We have to think LAYERS. We don’t just put everything in place at once.
Isaiah 60 begins with these words, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” It is about the fulfillment of promise. I am loving the book of Isaiah because it is FULL of God’s promises to his people.
As Isaiah prophesies about the coming blessing of God he says this (verse 17), “Instead of bronze I will bring gold, and instead of iron I will bring silver; instead of wood, bronze, instead of stones, iron….”
Note the progression. We are moving from one level to the next… Wood, then bronze, then Gold. Stone, then iron, then silver. We do not move directly to gold. There has to be wood before there is bronze, there has to be bronze before there is gold.
Our ACTIONS must unfold progressively. We have to prove faithful at the “wood” level before we are going to move the “bronze” level.
Ideas are a dime a dozen.
You say, “I have an idea that will make a million dollars”… good for you… I have about 25 of those ideas. In and of themselves, Ideas are worthless, dreams are worthless. Who cares. Their value is when you start taking actions to make them a reality.
A young man came to me several years ago about a large vacant grocery store. He had a dream to have that building and put a youth center in the building. He had an interesting dream. He came to me because he thought maybe the district or the church would buy that building and finance him so he could have a youth center in the building.
It was a good dream. Honorable. Just to ask someone for the finances to pay for your dream is not enough. You don’t start with gold, you start with wood and watch the miracle unfold through hard work and faith combined as the wood turns to bronze and the bronze turns to gold.
BREAK IT DOWN
Step one is not getting a massive abandoned grocery store. Step one is starting to work with young people in your community. Step one may be setting up a grill and cooking hotdogs down at the basketball court.
Do something doable. Take the ACTION you can take TODAY!
Think in layers or levels. Don’t be discouraged because you are not positioned to take a “gold level” action, take a “wood level” action with the faith that you will get to the gold if you faithfully execute.
Calibration Tools… Calibrating Your Life and Lifting Those You Love and Lead [36:32]
- What’s in your heart? Determine which things are worthy of your FOCUS.
- What is one thing you can do today to move toward that dream? One thing. I’m not talking about changing the world… I’m talking about doing one thing that moves you in the direction God is calling.
- Think in terms of ACTIONS. Identify the ACTION you must take to fulfill the NEXT goal. Now think. Translate the vision into an action. What does the actions look like? What is the next thing you must do? What are the first steps? What are the first goals? What are the first actions?
Remember, a path EMERGES while you walk on it.
While you are living out your passions, a PATH emerges. The PATH always leads to a PRACTICE, an action. Always.
What are the actions you need to take today.
What are the practices you need to establish in your life.
What are the habits that must become part of your routine.
If you cannot translate your vision into actions, your vision is worthless.