The word Pro-activity has been on my heart a lot lately.
Pro-activity means to act in anticipation of future problems, needs or changes. It means to look before you leap to see what the outcome will be. When you are not proactive, then you are reactive. To be reactive means to act in response to something, rather than to take the initiative. Pro-action vs reaction is the difference between truth or consequences.
When I think of examples of reacting to something I am reminded of when Moses hit the rock in Numbers 20.
This is when the people were on their way to the Land God promised them. They were demanding water, and wishing they had died rather than go through the suffering they were going through. They starting lashing out at Moses and Aaron, blaming them for their trouble. God then spoke to Moses and told Moses to take the rod and speak to the rock to bring forth water. But Moses was already aggravated by the impatience of the people, and instead of speaking to the rock, Moses spoke to the people calling them rebels and then he struck the rock twice rather than speaking to it.
Moses reacted to the people’s impatience. He lost control and was disobedient to God and now there are consequences to come.
But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you have not believed Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” Numbers 20:12
The consequences were that Aaron died (Numbers 20:28) and Moses did not enter the land (Deuteronomy 34:5).
When you react to something, you tend to do what they call backlash. Backlash is a strong adverse reaction to the action of another. This means to go in a direction that goes against your best interests. You react negatively and not positively. You hit in return rather than turning the other cheek.
God has given us keys to overcoming reactive behavior.
First and foremost is communication. You first go to God in prayer and ask Him for words, guidance, peace and patience. Ask Him to lay a hedge of protection around you so He can become your defense and stronghold. Next stand firm on the word of God by remembering the fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
Temperance is self control. It is the ability to control your emotions and actions. You can do this by letting your heart guide you and not your mind. It means to turn the other cheek when someone strikes you (Matthew 5:9) and to bless the ones that curse you (Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14), leaving their judgment in the hands of the Lord.
Meekness is to be mild, to be humble. It means to endure injury with patience and no resentment. Meek is to be strong, yet controlled. Jesus and Moses are our best examples of those who are meek.
Faith is to believe something with strong conviction. It is to trust and believe totally in God and in God’s word. It is to know that you are protected by God in ALL circumstances no matter what. Faith is to get rid of the chains of doubt and believe you can do all things through Christ Jesus. Faith is believing without seeing. (Hebrews 11:1)
Goodness is a virtue. It is moral excellence. It means to produce something good in performing acts of kindness and charity. You can be good to all people if you see them as Christ standing before you rather than just a regular person.
Gentleness also means to have moral excellence. The difference between moral excellence in goodness and the moral excellence in gentleness is that goodness refers to the action you take. Gentleness is how you carry out that action – with peacefulness and not harshness.
Longsuffering is forbearance. It means to be able to bear injuries patiently. It means to control yourself when provoked, and to be patient. It means to have the strength of mind to bear pain, injury and suffering with courage. It means to be tolerant and forgiving, enduring through the worst affliction with the power of love.
Peace is the tranquil state of the soul assured of its salvation. It means you do not fear the judgment of God, but know that you have been forgiven and are willing now to serve God in whatever way He calls you to serve – even if it means to die as Stephen did. (Acts 7:54-60)
Joy is to be happy. Joy is knowing who you are in Christ and now you want to share it with the world. It is knowing that you will die next month, but you still go out and spread the good news of Jesus to as many people as you can. The greatest joy comes from love because without love you are nothing.
Love is every fruit combined, with something extra on top. God’s love is not just the sweet goodness of every fruit, it is also the whipped cream and cherry on top. There is absolutely nothing that can compare to Gods love and we can only be reflections of it. That is what God desires from you… love others the same way He loves you.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
People with love are not jealous of what others have, but are content with what God has blessed them with. They also don’t go around bragging about what they have because they recognize the fact that they would not have it unless God gave it to them. People with love do not put themselves over others, but treat all people as being their equal. People with love do not seek their way, but seek Gods way. People with love are self controlled and forgiving.
Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres. Always means not just some of the time, it means all the time – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is a total commitment. You can’t love just a few minutes here, a few minutes there. God calls you to love ALL the time. There are no rest stops on this journey, only bathroom breaks.
God has shown you what love is. Now, He will give you all the tools you need in order to be reflections of that love.
It is God that gives you the ability to love and it is with God’s love that you become proactive and not reactive. It is God’s love that helps you to overcome ALL obstacles, because He will give you guidance in advance if you ask for it. It is God’s love that gives you victory in all situations. It is God’s love that makes your core solid enough to take the bites.
It is hard sometimes to be patient with the impatient, it is hard to love the hard-headed people that refuse to see beyond their own nose, it is hard to continually hear the complaining and gripping and whimpering because people would rather have the easy road than to work for what they get. It can be hard to love those who enjoy feeding on self pity, using the love that others give freely in order to get attention drawn to themselves. It is hard to love the wickedness surrounding you. But that is what God calls you to do.
You are called to love others the same way the Lord has loved you. This way people will know who you are by the love you show; by your actions and your words (John 13:34-35)
And if you, like Moses get to the point where you are stretched so far that you can only backlash and react to things, then there is a special little something called forgiveness.
The keys to success… Communication, Love and Forgiveness.