Mrs. Smith would be proud. She was my third grade teacher that helped me understand that not all words were alike. Some were nouns or pronouns, some were verbs, and some were adjectives. I know there are more, but let’s keep this on a third grade level.
Simple enough, right? But, it’s easy for me to forget the difference sometimes, especially when it comes to living out my faith. Just like people in the early days of the church, we have a tendency to translate our relationship to Christ into a list of things we are supposed to do.
We give because He told us to be generous.
We attend because that’s what good Christians do.
We witness because it’s in the job description.
And our lives are built around verbs.
But Jesus wants more for us. We could do every one of those things and be no nearer to Him than if we didn’t do them.
The writer of Hebrews gives us a clue. In Hebrews 11:6 it reads, “Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must first believe that he exists and rewards those who seek Him.”
There you have it. There is something we must do – we must have faith! That’s what He wants from us!
Faith is not what He wants. Faith is what we use to find what He wants. The longing of Jesus is that we “draw near.” That’s what a worship lifestyle is all about.
Acts 1:8 says it another way, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
So, He wants us to witness. That sounds like something we do. It’s another verb.
But He doesn’t tell us to witness. He tells us to be witnesses – that’s the key. He isn’t asking us to do something. Jesus wants us to be something.
And that happens when we draw near to Him – through faith – walking in intimacy with our Savior.
Choose to live today on the noun side of life. And the verbs will take care of themselves.
Mrs. Smith would be proud.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.