He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant, but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action.” – Daniel 11:32
We Christians can sometimes be a walking contradiction: do we sit, watch, and listen to Christianity or do we live, do, and demonstrate Christianity? In other words, should we be spectators, passive observers who watch without doing and have no say in the ultimate outcome of the event they are watching. Or should we be participants that have active roles that impact the outcome? Yes, God is in control, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have a role.
Our first inclination when faced with a situation or circumstances that we are concerned about is to pray. And that makes perfect sense. When we pray, we are demonstrating our dependence upon God. But the key moment comes after we have prayed. What do we do then? This is the critical point where many believers sit back waiting for God to meet their need. And sometimes God does exactly that. But sometimes faith requires action. “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” (1John 3:18)
If you are praying for God to help you get out of debt, pray, but then take action. Sit down and put a game plan together to help you meet your financial needs and achieve your financial goals. Create a budget. Live within your means. If you are praying for your marriage or for a relationship, pray, but then act. Seek out Godly counsel from your pastor or some other qualified Christian counselor, then put your faith into action and do all you can to have a healthy marriage or relationship.
Galatians 6:4 tells us, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.” And Jeremiah 17:10 says, “But I, the LORD, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Prayer is not a passive exercise but an active one. We are active participants in God answering our prayers. It requires action on our part. It is God who is answering our prayers, but our faith requires us to be involved in that process. James 2:14 tells us, “What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions?” No doubt there are some things we pray about that are completely out of our control and we must simply trust God to move on those needs. But much of what we pray about we have the ability to put action to our prayers. It is still God who is answering our prayers, but He is working through our actions.
- Do actions require faith? Why or why not?
- How do I decide when to take action and when to wait on God?