The Lord is always calling us to take the next step of obedience and growth. Sometimes we KNOW what to do, and we even FEEL God pushing us to it, but we still don't do it.
Have you ever thought, "I just need to read a good book on this topic, THEN I can do it." Or felt like, "I just need to spend a week in prayer, THEN I can do it." Or maybe "I should talk with a few mentors first to make sure I'm on the right page, THEN I can do it." What's going on here? It's helpful to identify three different areas of application: Head, heart, hands. Head is what we know, our theology. Heart is our emotions and feelings. Hands is our practical doing. Each are important, and if we miss one of them, the other two are unbalanced. (To learn more, check out this Knowable Word post)
What we'll focus on in this blog post is the hands, the doing. Sometimes we don't need to learn more. We don't need to read more. We don't need to pray for God to change our hearts more. We don't need to wait until we are more excited about it. God has spoken clearly in His Word! We know the truth! He has provided us with a new heart and new affections! Our job now is swift obedience. To hesitate is to disobey.
So if the Lord has convicted you of a path of obedience, and you know what it is... just do it! Don't sit around contemplating it further. Get out there and make it happen! What are some examples? Perhaps you know you should confront a brother who is in sin. Perhaps you have been convicted about your paltry time in the Word and know you should step it up. Maybe God has been poking you about a sin pattern that needs repentance and change. Or maybe you've been building a great relationship with your nonChristian friends but you just haven't brought up Jesus yet.
Why are we slow to do it? Why is our obedience sluggish? There are plenty of obstacles, and the first step is to identify them. What's holding you back? Admit it. Then when it's clear, you can process it through with the truth of God's word. Most of the time it's simply fear and risk. If we bring up Jesus to an old high school friend it could estrange the relationship. If we start up a Bible study in our community there's a risk of the unknown. If we start a new initiative by faith, there's a risk it could fail. If we repent of our favorite sin, we fear God might not come through with healing and joy.
So practically: write a list of the things you know you should be doing but aren't. And then DO THEM.
Here's the great part! When you obey, you begin to see God's amazing work happen right in front of you, through your faith-motivated action. This is incredibly exciting. We see our lives change, we see God's kingdom advance, we see Him move and act through us.
But what if our hearts and minds aren't on board? What if we still want to learn more first, or what if we just don't have the kind of desire and motivation that we wish we had? Here's the secret: sometimes the very act of doing it, of faithful obedience, is enough to change our hearts and minds and set us on a new trajectory. A previous blog post addressed this in the realm of Bible reading, sometimes if you don't have a desire for the Bible you just have to force feed yourself the Word.
We do often fail in this. We are guilty of James 4:17, we know the good we ought to do, but we do not do it. But the gospel forgive us, and then enables us to move to action. We know that even our failure to obey is one of the sins that Christ covers with His blood, we are completely forgiven! And when we see how Jesus didn't feel like going to the cross but went anyway, as an awesome example of faithfulness and love, that helps us to follow in His footsteps. So remember the gospel, and FIGHT.
Just do it!
The Relentless Fight
PS: Francis Chan uses the illustration of telling his daughter "Go clean your room". Check out this 2 minute video:
PPS: Two secular examples of the "just do it" mentality. The first is from The Art of Manliness about how acting like a man will make you feel like one:
And finally, a classic exhortation of the "just do it" mindset, from Shia Labeouf: