Values for life – 2

Being & Doing

Knowing that our basic calling is to pursue God more than doing something for Him or for the world. Losing this focus we lose everything.

Our doing must flow from our being. When God created – His being preceded His doing. And as people made in the image of God our being should define our doing. Unfortunately our fallenness reversed this. And the influences of modernity are such that today even our education and work-culture are geared to make us doers. It is sad that even God’s children define themselves by what they do including those in the ‘ministry’! Today we define and regard people by their professions and by their college degrees not by their character. People respect and define you for your degrees, designation, power, material possessions, caste, family background and not because of good virtues. It is because of this reason people including God’s children chase these things. And finding that these do not bring true satisfaction – they think they must get into ministry, not understanding that even doing ‘ministry’ is a wrong focus.  We ought to be defined by who we are and not by what we do. We are humans made in the image of God and loved by Him so much that he redeemed us by his own blood when we were lost. We are now sons of God, His heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. We are to be defined by our creation and by our redemption.

Redemption is about restoring this. God is working in us to build character and virtue. But we still want to chase activity. This is what explains today’s mad rush for busyness and activity-driven lifestyles. People want to fill their dairies and calendars with busy schedules. We are constantly under the pressure to perform. We think to be dynamic is to be busy. J P Moreland writes about empty selves in ‘Love your God with all your mind’  “According to (Roy) Baumeister the self used to be defined in terms of internal traits of virtue and morality, and the successful person, the person of honour and reputation, was the person with deep character. In such a view, the cultivation of an interior life through intellectual reflection and spiritual formation was of critical importance. In the last few decades, however, the self has come to be defined in terms of external forces – the ability to project a pleasurable, powerful personality and the possession of consumer goods – and the quest for celebrity status, image, pleasure, and power has become the preoccupation of a self so defined.” Quietness, silence and solitude are forgotten. Men like Moses, Paul etc needed to spend time in the wilderness before they could DO anything for Him. God was putting character into them – making them to BE the people He wanted them to BE. But today among the people of God – even before we understand what we are in Christ – the pressure upon us is to perform and so people want to DO ministry. This is the outcome of institutionalisation of ministry. Which itself is a result of the influences of secularisation and modernity upon Christianity. This is the reason why I do not agree with the present rush for doing ministry among the people of God. People want to do or get into ministry even before they understand what it means to follow Christ. Nor do I agree with all that is going on in the name of ministry. If we learn to live in fellowship with Him and enjoy Him – as a result of such fellowship with Him we cannot but respond to any need around us. It is this response that constitutes ministry. Today many children of God are placed under the pressure to ‘do ministry’ even before they know such fellowship or even before they have been shaped by Him to the Be the people they ought to BE. Therefore we must just encourage people to first learn to walk with the Lord and live and enjoy their relationship with Him – any ministry that we ought to do will flow from that dynamic.

This is the reason why one of my concerns in the next few years, God helping me, is going to be to create a facility where people can spend in silence and solitude – enjoying His presence and seeing themselves as God sees them.

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8 thoughts on “Values for life – 2

  1. Enoch thank you for the article, it is very liberating. I sometimes wonder if all anxiety, stress and depression is due to the exclusion of being from the doing.

  2. The present world has banished the idea of the Transcendental, God. The resulting self therefore requires definition by this world. The value of the self is then defined by: 1) is the world watching me? (fame) 2) Am I succeeding in attaining worldly possessions (riches) 3) and am I having fun (pleasure) etc. All the definitions of a real person are limited to this world.
    (Aptly summarized as “doing.”). Fame, riches and pleasure all require doing in the immanent present.
    In contrast, the follower of Christ is restored vertically to the Father, and is a member of the kingdom of God, which is present and yet still coming. Rather than being defined by the horizontal and this world, a person is now defined by the vertical and the coming world. The questions are quite different: 1) rather than wanting worldly fame, we are walking in the presence of the Spirit 2) Rather than being defined by what I own and amass in this world, we are defined relationship with God and what He is bringing about in the Kingdom of God–the coming kingdom 3) rather than trying to fulfill an impossible craving for continual fun and pleasure, we are relationally tied to the Father Who has loved us in Christ and sealed us with His Spirit (2 Cor 1:22). Our entire being is now defined in relationship to God. This is why you are completely correct in saying we are to pursue God and that our doing comes out of being. It is the very nature and essence of the Christian to be rooted in God.

  3. A timely message, Enoch. I’ve been going on silent retreats for years, and they have helped me a lot, but it’s so hard to change this fundamental orientation.

  4. Pricisely this is what Jesus said to the Pharisees with regard to the Commandments. No wonder we still didnt get His message. Karunakar

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