Just Be

We’ve all heard and seen the very popular slogan of Nike, “Just Do It!” It is a catch phrase that spans several years and many countries and has launched Nike into yet another highly successful run. While for some it may just be another sales pitch, for many it is a 3-word command that has pulled them out of seemingly endless stupor. Often times I would catch myself saying these very words whenever I feel daunted by a task ahead of me, or when I find myself with too much time on my hands and too much guilt for “not doing anything” in the mean time. How about you?

Our God has recently reminded me that life – the Christian life – is not all about doing. If we stop long enough to listen, we will probably hear less of just do it and more of just be.

As I write this, the news of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin’s sudden death at 44 is very fresh in everyone’s minds and hearts. As a fan of his TV shows and conservation efforts, I feel a great sense of loss not just for myself but for the world, especially for the animal kingdom. However, I also thank God that Steve died doing what he loved and being the kind of person he was created to be. How many of us will be able to say the same at our final hour?

It is easy to be lured into believing that life and success are all about doing. After all, we only have a few years on this earth (beyond 70 years is already a bonus) and we ought to make the most of our God-given time. It is a terrible feeling to look back on our lives later on with much regret over things we haven’t done and dreams or ambitions we haven’t achieved when we could. This is especially true for those of us who are home-based, struggling to have a sense of identity, purpose and achievement in our lives. But let me propose Christ’s radical alternative to just be. It could actually change your life and mine!

Rick Warren said in his book, The Purpose Driven Life, “God is far more interested in what you are than in what you do. We are human beings, not human doings (177).” Our character and the condition of our hearts are of greater importance to God than what we are or what we do on the outside (1 Samuel 16:7). And whatever it is we do must be a result and reflection of Christ’s work in us. Let me reiterate. It is Christ’s work in us, not ours, and this through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (2 Thessalonians 2:13).

For people like me who still get conned (mostly by my own feelings of inadequacy) into believing that “doing things”, specifically things that reap financial rewards, is a measure of one’s productivity, this is a truth that needs to be seriously and consciously lived. And I don’t even have a type-A personality! I need to be constantly reminded that God is far more concerned about my growth as his child than my physical or material accomplishments. Reflecting on his truths, praying in the spirit, basking in his glory, standing in awe of him and even struggling inside as he grows me up are all part of my being all he wants me to be.

When my final hour comes upon me, I pray that I will not regret having spent so much time doing chores and responsibilities but so little time just being in God’s powerful and transforming presence. After all, when all is said and done, it is only my relationship with Christ that I can bring with me to eternity. Making every second count is not so much cramming in a lot of physical activities as it is living a purposeful life in Christ. “Live like you mean it”, a catch phrase from HGTV’s Lifestyle Network, is advice I hope to apply to myself every single day.

Let me end with the words of the apostle Paul in Romans 12:5 from The Message (NavPress): “Since we find ourselves fashioned into all these excellently formed and marvelously functioning parts in Christ’s body, let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be (italics mine).”