Let’s talk about being REACTIONARY


Think of a pool table and how the balls on that table move. The player sets up a shot, aiming the cue ball to strike a ball that is just sitting there passively. The balls on the table react, moving only when hit. The illustration is imperfect in that pool balls are inanimate objects, but let me challenge you to ask yourself if you are just waiting for something or someone to set you off, bouncing off some remark, moving only when pressure is placed on you?

God has gifted us with the ability to choose course, to live purposefully, to rise above living a reactionary life to the hits that come our way!

Let me quickly add this. We are not masters of the universe. Many things will enter our lives that we never saw coming. Six months ago who knew that our world would be turned upside down by a pandemic? Six years ago I was just beginning to wrestle with the unimaginable thought that my beloved wife had a cancer that could (and did) ultimately prove deadly. You have your own story about those moments that changed you.

What we must know is that we can live purposefully, moving beyond being reactionary. When the hits come, we need not let ourselves be knocked completely off course or destroyed by those unforeseen developments like cancers, viruses, economic collapse, divorce, or disappointments. How can we remain ‘on course?’

We choose to serve God.  Joshua, the leader of God’s people, addressed them at the end of his life with a challenge of choice. Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:14-15, NIV)

When Jesus Christ is our true God, not just our Sunday god, or the insurance god we keep around hoping for a good life, or the Heaven god that we hold in reserve for the dreaded end, we will set our hope in Him and plan our course around discovering and doing His will. Even when we waver or are pushed temporarily ‘off course,’  knowing that He is Lord brings us back ‘on course’ in due time.

 We see beyond the moment.  When we cultivate faith, living worshipfully at all times, devoted to the Lord, there is a core strength created in us. That faith allows us to live the words of Paul- all the time – not just when the sun is shining on us. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18, NIV) God has something planned for us that is just ‘out of this world’ literally. We must never let the pain of the moment push that from our mind.

We remember He is always at work on our behalf.  I wish I could see the why behind the what of everything that happens to me, but I cannot, nor can you. Wise people will try to learn from what happens to them, will accept responsibilities for those choices that brought about unintended consequences, refusing to play the victim in life. They will also realize that sometimes the human mind cannot fathom the cause and effect. That does not mean we surrender to fate, becoming like those balls on the pool table, reacting to hit after hit, knocked about randomly throughout life.

We are held secure in this truth about the sovereign power and will of God.   ” And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:36-39, NIV)

Are you spending inordinate amounts of time just reacting to people or situations?

Are you living without a greater vision of who you are in Christ to guide your responses?

Have you, in your reactions, given others the ability to write the script of your life rather than choosing to faithfully and purposefully living in the will of God?

Paul wrote those words about his single-minded focus of life early in his public ministry. History reveals that he lived them!  About two decades later, he was once again reflecting on the course of his life, this time as he was imprisoned and waiting execution at the hand of Caesar.   He had stayed with the God Story for his life so he was not filled with regret or remorse.

Note the anticipation in the words he penned to Timothy. “As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:6-8, NLT)  I love those words!

Fought, finished, faithful!  The prize, the crown, now waiting for me!
That is living ‘on purpose.’
Lord help us to live in that way in these turbulent times.


Lord I Need You

(Pray with Chris Tomlin as he sings of our heart’s need)

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

 Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

 Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

 So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

 Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher

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