Initiative (Proverbs 22:29; Ephesians 5:8-14; Philippians 3:14; 4:13-15; Hebrews 10:24-25) will take the front position to recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. This character will help power us though set backs, failures, adversities, persecution, oppositions, injustice, ingratitude, and the old excuse, "we have never done it this way before." It is not about being a leader as much as it is motivating yourself to grasp what Christ has for you. It is the moving of yourself, using your resources and ingenuity to serve. We cannot stand for Him, or move for Him, if we do not arise, and get off the couch. We must make the move and get on with the life that Christ gave us. Christ said for us to rise out of our sleep!
Drudgery, Resistance to change, refusing to put forth effort, and Laziness are the opposites. This is another form of Apathy! You will not see the goodness you can have, rather only the work and effort that is required, so you will not consider it worth your endeavor. But, if it is good and noble, you must be motivated to go after it or you will miss out on what Christ has for you. You will also cause others to follow your lead into laziness and excuse making!
Not all initiative is good, as it may sometimes lead us well off the path God has for us. We have to be discerning that our motivations are centered with the values of the Word and are working side by side with the Fruits of the Spirit and the rest of the character traits. If not, you may motivate yourself in the wrong direction, and rationalize all kinds of excuses for it as you run off into oblivion. Excuses become the horse that pulls the plow of apathy and laziness.
We can all come up with a great set of reasons why we should not do something. Even though discernment and common sense need to come into play, if your excuses are keeping you from being your best for His glory, you have set your path into a jungle of darkness and despair. Ephesians 5: 8-14 tells us to see the light, and not darkness, before we can get up.
We have to be willing to see what needs to be done for the kingdom and then do it. The gifts of leadership will entail such attitudes, and the ability to motivate others to do this. However, you still must motivate yourself without needing a leader to grab you and pull you. God's voice and call is usually gentle; we have to quiet the noise of our Will to hear Him (Psalm 46:10). He will rarely get you up; you have to get yourself up. God did motivate Elijah out of his depression directly via an Angel, and He also told the man with a withered hand to stretch it out, for him to take the first step (1 Kings 9:5; Matt. 12:13). He gives us the call; it is up to us to respond to it. If you need help--and we all do--ask for it.
Partner with others, seek His light, and He will empower you to accomplish the task. We have to arise and eat/awake/get going/shine (Isa. 60:1; Matt.26: 46; John 14:31) to receive His blessings and to bless others. We need to take the responsibility for our spiritual growth and for the exercise of our gifts and call. Do not sleep away your life with excuses and apathy, or let past failures get in your way!
Is the Character of Initiative working in you?
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this character and fruit of Initiative from God's most precious Word by examining the passages below. Now ask yourself:
- How do I exhibit Initiative in my daily life?
- What can I do to develop a better attitude of taking the lead in being Initiative?
- What blocks Initiative from working and being exhibited in me?
- How can I make Initiative function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainly and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture (Gen. 1-2, 1 Kings 9:10-28; Neh. 2; Matt. 14:22-33; Mark 2:1-5)
· Here are negative examples from Scripture (Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 16:1-9; John 19:1-16; 2 Thess. 3:6-13)Further Questions
- How would you define Initiative? Do you need someone else to motivate you, or help you set goals?
- What are the things that cause you not to seek to help others, or do as you are called?
- How does resistance to change counteract Initiative? How can you be discerning of what change is good, and what is bad?
- What happens to our relationships with God and others when we refuse to put forth effort or resources?
- When have you been filled with Initiative the most?
- In what situation did you fail to be motivated when you should have been?
- What issue is in your life that would improve with more Initiative?
- Think through the steps you need to take to put Initiative into action in a specific instance, such as motivating yourself to see His light, to get you moving in the direction He has for your life? How can you use initiative to counteract obstacles and failures?