“The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.” (Hebrews 11:2 The Message)
Without initiative, nothing happens.
Initiative is an introductory act or step—a leading action. It is what distinguished and set apart our ancestors. They were people who mastered the art of the start.
God can accomplish limitless works through a person who is willing to act.
The Green Light
“[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.” (Philippians 2:13 AMPC)
You cannot follow God when you’re driving in neutral.
Taking initiative requires moving intentionally. It is learning to respond to God’s inner working so that you can be a vessel in which He can work through for His good pleasure. When your heart is aligned with God’s purpose, you’ll move in the right direction.
Consider the following account from one of the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys.
“They went to Phrygia, and then on through the region of Galatia. Their plan was to turn west into Asia province, but the Holy Spirit blocked that route. So they went to Mysia and tried to go north to Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus wouldn’t let them go there either. Proceeding on through Mysia, they went down to the seaport Troas. That night Paul had a dream: A Macedonian stood on the far shore and called across the sea, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” The dream gave Paul his map. We went to work at once getting things ready to cross over to Macedonia. All the pieces had come together. We knew now for sure that God had called us to preach the good news to the Europeans.” (Act 16:6–10 The Message)
In regards to taking initiative, there are several things I would like to highlight from this passage.
First, Paul took action regardless of whether he felt completely certain of God’s will. Paul was a man with a plan of action. He was a doer and a goer who aligned himself with God’s purpose and mission for his life.
Second, Paul understood that in the midst of his obedience—God had already called him to preach the gospel—the Lord would bring clarity. He was aware that things would fall into place as he took initiative. From this conviction, Paul obeyed God instantly.
Third, Paul was sensitive and flexible to the leading of the Holy Spirit. Although Paul had a plan, he wasn’t tied to it. Consider this—it is easier to steer a vehicle when it’s moving than if it’s in park. By yielding to God’s leading, Paul allowed himself to be easily redirected.
Make Your Move
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7–8 NIV)
The ball is in your court.
Many fail to take action because they lack answers, direction, and opportunities.
But Jesus taught that there is something you can do to initiate the answers, direction and opportunities you desire— that is, ask, seek and knock.
Since this requires your initiative, let’s briefly examine each of these.
ASK, and it will be given to you.
Step one is to ask the right questions.
Questions lead to answers, answers lead to decisions, and decisions lead to action. You can start investigating with questions such as, “What is it that I want to do? What steps are needed to achieve it? How much will it cost me? What will be required of me?”
Questions also produce clarity of thinking—a necessity for processing answers and options.
Refuse to allow a lack of answers to hinder you from taking action. Let’s agree to ask the right questions.
SEEK, and you will find.
Is a lack of direction holding you back?
Instead of waiting for direction, you can begin seeking direction. Although asking the right questions will give you the right answers, seeking after God will provide you with clarity.
Consider Paul’s missionary journeys: he didn’t receive clear direction from the Lord until he was actively seeking after Him.
Keep moving in the direction of your calling, but don’t stop seeking after God. He rewards those who diligently seek Him (see Hebrews 11:6).
Don’t forget that seeking also includes reading and learning. Educate yourself as much as you can about your calling and purpose!
KNOCK, and it will be opened to you.
A lack of opportunity often holds people back. Some even feel hopeless and discouraged.
But understand this, opportunity doesn’t always come your way. Many times you will have to look for opportunity. This will involve knocking.
Knocking can be as simple as submitting a job application, interning, or even meeting new people outside of your current sphere of influence. It might mean making that call or sending that text.
Not every door will open. But, just as Paul discovered, when God closes a door, it’s because there’s another one waiting to open. Knocking requires persistence.
What is holding you back from taking initiative? What steps are needed for you to move forward in your God-given destiny? NOW is the time to take action! It’s GO time!
To dive deeper into this topic, check out Called, a ten-part course from John Bevere designed to help you unlock and live your calling.