God is more concerned about who we are than what we do. We can try to do right things and yet still not be right. As Isaiah 64:6 describes it, anything good that we try to do in our own power looks like a dirty, filthy rag to God.
In Ecclesiastes 7:15-18, Solomon says that he’s seen two odd things in his life. The first thing is an outwardly righteous person who dies early, perhaps because of all the effort spent doing right. The second odd thing is a wicked person who, despite being wicked, lives a long time. Solomon warns against both extremes. Wickedness leads to spiritual destruction, and righteous acts can be a waste of your time and your life. No matter which route you choose, you’ll perish without God.
We can become so busy—so intent on doing—that we forget about God’s work in our inner being. Indeed, too much doing is as much a danger as too little doing. We should make time to rest, reflect, and fellowship in silence with God—like David did when he sought the silence of the wilderness, or like Christ did when He took time from His ministry to rest and pray on a mountain. If Jesus—who fit the most important ministry in the history of the world into just three short years—thought that it was important enough to make time to rest and reflect, we should, too.
But it’s an attractive lie that we can be better or feel better simply by doing more stuff. If we can just keep busy, we’ll automatically be holy, right? Imagine a pot filled to the brim with water. If you boil it long enough over hot coals, the water will bubble up over the edge of the pot and run down into the coals, possibly even extinguishing them. Likewise, we can be so zealous about something, so passionate and fierce, yet if it is not a good goal, or if we do not pursue it while resting in God’s grace, our passion can boil over and put itself out. We grow disappointed, bored, tired, or burned out. We wonder why we even bothered trying in the first place.
Proverbs 4:23 encourages you to guard your inner being. Who you are in your mind, in your heart of hearts, affects everything you do.
Do not misplace your passion. Keep focused on God. Seek Him. Depend on His grace, not on your righteousness. Obey Him because you love Him, because you know that disobeying Him would be a betrayal of everything He’s done for you. Talk to Him, listen to Him in the Word—not because doing those things makes you holy, but because you trust Him to make you holy as you walk with Him.
If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, if God has redeemed to you Himself, then He has already blessed you more than you could possibly imagine (Phil. 4:19). He loves you. He will never stop loving you. And nothing you did earned that love.
Never forget the importance of being.
An excerpt from Behold Your God