Becoming Proactive (The Dirty Truth Part Four)

dirty truth logoWe are concluding our series called “The Dirty Truth: Becoming Who We Were Created to Be.”

If you missed any of the last three weeks, the message and notes are here:

This post includes the following:

    • An Overview of the “The Dirty Truth Series”
    • The video of the message on “Becoming Proactive”
    • The four questions that can help you create a better future starting today.
    • The path for moving from isolated to influential.

The Dirty Truth – Proactivity | June 30, 2013 from Gateway Church on Vimeo.

During this series, we are looking at how developing four particular skills derived from Jesus’ parable of the soils can help us to become a fruitful person. Today, we are looking at becoming proactive.

Over the last three weeks we looked at developing the skill of receptivity – the ability to hear God’s voice and discover our calling and developing the skill of tenacity – the ability to endure no matter what trial may come our way. Last week we talked about becoming intentional to overcome the temptations that distract and derail us.

Here’s the dirty truth.God works in our lives and even helps us trust Him, but there are things we must do to really grow. We are going to have to get our hands dirty – so to speak. With His help, we have to work hard to overcome silence, trials, temptations, and rebellion.

Which of the soils best describes you? (The words emboldened)

Soils                                                     Skills

Hardened   –> Vulnerable         Receptive (Overcoming Silence)

Shallow    —-> Deep                     Tenacious (Overcoming Trials)

Thorny    —->  Clear                     Intentional (Overcoming Temptations)

Desolate   —>   Fruitful              Proactive (Overcoming Rebellion)

 

We can discover our God-given destiny by developing 4 skills. Becoming who we were created to be means we need to become receptive, tenacious, intentional, and proactive.

Let’s take a look again at the verses dealing with the 4th soil but this time in Luke 8.

Luke 8:4-15 (NIV)
While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable…. Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.”

11 “This is the meaning of the parable: 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

The fourth soil describes ground that produces fruit, a harvest 30 times, 60 times, or 100 times greater than what was planted.

It is natural and normal for all believers to bear fruit – 30, 60, 100 times the fruit.  Transformed and transforming others.  Is this you?  Why not?  Have you failed to hear God’s voice or have you failed to respond?  Too often we know what we ought to do and fail to do it.

The natural result of following Christ is a life described as fruitful, rich, and productive.  If we can become receptive, tenacious, and intentional, we will find ourselves in a position to respond to do the right thing.  Knowing the right thing to do is a tremendous challenge.  Choosing to do the right thing is sometimes even tougher.  We can become proactive, and as a result, bear fruit.

Hearing God and following Him requires proactivity and helps us overcome our tendency toward apathy or rebellion.  We can move from a more desolate place towards a more creative, generative, productive, and fruitful one.

The good soil describes someone that hears the word, understands it, and produces a crop.  In other words, they obey.  The words used to describe hearing, retaining, and understanding all imply action – obeying God.  If you hear, you will respond. If you retain or put to memory what you hear, you will live it out. If you understand, you will do it. Jesus was saying: if you comprehend my message then you will put it into action. When you act on what you hear, you will bear fruit.

Even in our culture, we equate hearing with doing. For those of us with kids: Have you ever asked them: “Are you listening to me?” We equate listening with obeying. When we say: “You aren’t being a good listener.” this actually means – you aren’t doing what I am asking you to do. When we say: “Do you understand what I’m saying?” We are really implying: “If you understand me, then you will trust what I am saying and act on it.

Unfortunately, we often rebel. We know what we ought to do, and don’t do it. Or we know what we shouldn’t do, and we do it anyway.

We treat God the same way our kids treat us. Too often, we aren’t good listeners.

To be proactive means we hear and act on what we hear. The key to overcoming rebellion is becoming proactive. Being proactive means doing what you know you ought to do and stop doing the things you know you shouldn’t do.

Are you a proactive person?  Or are you more reactive? Do you move quickly to do what you know needs to be done or do you let just find yourself responding to what others want you to do?  Have you ever known exactly what needed to be done, but you were unwilling to do it?  What do you know you should do in your life right now that you are refusing to do or putting it off until later?

Proactive means “acting in advance to deal with an expected difficulty; anticipatory”

Synonyms include aggressive, ardent, banzai, can-do, eager, energetic, enthused, enthusiastic, fanatical, fired up, intense

A proactive person doesn’t remain a victim no matter what they may face. A proactive person doesn’t complain about something they are unwilling to do anything about.

Only those who trust God obey Him.

Obedience has negative connotations in our society, but think of obeying God as being invited by someone to your surprise party.  You don’t know why they are asking you to do what they are asking, but you know you can trust them.  The result of obeying them (even though you don’t want to) is a fantastic party (even if it wasn’t totally a surprise).

John 14:21

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me.

When it comes to obeying God, you may struggle. For some of us we get stuck because we don’t know what to do. Others of us struggle because we don’t want to do what we know we should do. Some of us struggle to stop doing what we know we shouldn’t do.

James 4:17  (The Message)
“In fact, if you know the right thing to do and don’t do it, that, for you, is evil.”

Take an honest look at your life. What are you doing to undermine yourself? What do you need to adjust and sacrifice to make strides forward?

Just as we need to go to God for help for guidance in what He wants us to become, we need to go to Him to help us get there.

Reflection:

  • What do you need to do now to make progress?
  • Who can help you get there?
  • What sacrifices do you need to make to get there?
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