You attend a baseball game … or … you practice hard and play on the team like Babe Ruth.
You watch your kids play … or … you grab a water gun and join in.
You sit and take it while your kid talks back … or … you open your mouth to utilize a teachable moment and some healthy discipline.
You sit quietly during the meeting without sharing your idea … or … you speak up and save the company thousands with your great idea.
Which side of the or do you want to be on? We can live life passively, or we can live life actively.
I used to live extremely passively. Never speaking up, never testing my limits, never really expecting all that much from myself. It was safe. I like safe. Ask anyone who’s close to me and they’ll confirm.
I think my 30’s have been good for me. I’ve done my best to leave my safe, insecure 20’s in the dust and have branched out more than I ever dreamed possible. And with that I’ve seen the fruit that bears from active living—excitement, passion, fulfillment, and hope. I know now I’d never feel fulfilled going back to my passive, predictable lifestyle.
Is the passive vs. active phenomenon any different when it comes to our faith? Absolutely not!
I used to be passive in my faith. Go to church, say my bedtime prayers (if I didn’t fall asleep first), read the Bible (once in a while), be a good person. No risks, nothing uncomfortable.
Then one year we moved and began attending a new church, and I found myself challenged. It was uncomfortable. I tried resisting and holding onto my passive, church-going ways. But I loved the church and couldn’t remain passive for long. Everyone around me seemed inspired to go out and love others in a Jesus-reflecting, radical way. I was impressed. They cared for the needy, did life together, and prayed for each other, on the spot.
“How are you?”
“Oh okay, just fighting a headache this morning.”
“I’m sorry to hear that. Can I pray for you right now?”
“That would be great, thanks!”
Sometimes the headache (or whatever it was) was healed/changed. Often it wasn’t. But these people weren’t deterred from praying, because sometimes…SOMETIMES, the power of God broke through and changed everything.
Fast forward over a decade. The things my family and I learned at the Vineyard Church were game-changers. So much that we uprooted our family and moved to Valparaiso, IN to help plant another Vineyard church and experience God in new ways.
We learned the importance of listening as God speaks to us through his Holy Spirit. We learned never to stop praying, and never to stop expecting God to move. We learned to partner with him as he seeks to advance his Kingdom here on earth.
We experienced first-hand that an active faith is life-giving and exciting, while a passive faith is ho-hum and dull.
Now, what I’m not trying to say is that everyone needs to be running around in the streets loving on and praying with everyone they meet. (I mean, maybe some people roll that way, but not this girl.) We don’t always have to be chasing and doing. We do always need to be following the Holy Spirit’s lead.
We should strive to embrace the fact that God is real, alive, and wants to move in us and through us. Knowing this is the case, we should endeavor to tune our ears to the Spirit’s voice and be ready and willing to do whatever God asks of us.
Maybe his voice will tell us to pray with a stranger in the middle of Wal-Mart or befriend a person sitting alone.
Maybe his voice will tell us to move to a new state or take a new job when it seems illogical.
Maybe his voice will tell us to just be still and know how much we are loved by him.
Every day is an adventure when we let the Holy Spirit guide our lives and actively follow where he’s going.
And guess what? You’re invited! As my old church used to put it, “Everybody gets to play!”
You don’t have to be a pastor or go through any special training to live your faith out loud. All you have to do is be a willing follower of Jesus. He’s ready and waiting to guide and speak to you.
The Holy Spirit speaks to and through kids, too!
There’s no age requirement for partnering with the Holy Spirit. No “must be 18 or older to call.” No permission slip for minors.
Kids do what’s modeled (well, often, anyway). Let them see you living out your faith so they’ll be inspired to do the same.
In my upcoming book, Power Up (releasing from https://elklakepublishinginc.com this spring!), my goal is to demonstrate to kids what life can be like when they decide to listen to the Holy Spirit and follow his lead. My prayer is for the book to inspire a new generation of Jesus-followers to trade in their passive faith for an active one.
So give it a try! Take a minute, close your eyes, and ask the Holy Spirit what he wants to say to you. Trust me, once you embrace an active faith, you won’t want to turn back. Leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts and experiences on the matter!
Disclaimer: By no means do I have this “all figured out.” It’s much easier to live passively and I frequently fail to demonstrate to my kids the excitement of following the Spirit, but all I can do is keep trying. Thankfully, there’s grace for me. And for you, too. 🙂
(Also, check out this newly released book by Putty Putman called “Kingdom Impact.” https://www.amazon.com/Kingdom-Impact-Living-Jesus-Broken/dp/0800798538 I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it’s on my “read it soon” list and the author is a pastor at the church I attended for years. I have no doubt it’s a life-changing read.)