- Out of Phase #1 – Being a Servant
- Out of Phase #2 – Boundaries
- Out of Phase #3 – Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #4 – Rules
- Out of Phase #5 – Emotions
- Out of Phase #6 – Work
- Out of Phase #7 – Christian Quips
- Out of Phase #8 – Reasons & Responsibilities
- Out of Phase #9 – Religion
- Out of Phase #10 – Enough
- Out of Phase #11 – Retreat
- Out of Phase #12 – Healthy Relationships
- Out of Phase #13 – Words
- Out of Phase #14 – Depth and Breadth – Impact
- Out of Phase #15 – Control
- Out of Phase #16 – Tradition
- Out of Phase #17 – Pain
- Out of Phase #18 – Our Story
- Out of Phase #19 – Peace
- Out of Phase #20 – Hopes, Dreams & Desires
- Out of Phase #21 – Good Things Bad Things
- Out of Phase #22 – Keeping our Focus
- Out of Phase #23 – Transactions
- Out of Phase #24 – Formula
- Out of Phase #25 – Community
- Out of Phase #26 – Thoughts
- Out of Phase #27 – Doing
- Out of Phase #28 – Trying
- Out of Phase #29 – More
- Out of Phase #30 – Knowledge
- Out of Phase #31 – Tragedy
We live in a transactional world. We earn the money – we buy the thing. We do the crime – we do the time. We plant the seed – we reap the harvest. As human beings, we are doers. So, it stands to reason doing can knock us out of phase.
When I was young I believed following Jesus meant doing good things and not doing bad things: doing. The reality is we cannot do enough good things and cannot not do enough bad things to earn God’s love, favor, or our own salvation. And while this is contrary to the world’s transactional wisdom it is truth nonetheless.
You may ask, “as Christians aren’t we supposed to do good things and avoid sin?” And the answer of course is yes! Below are just two of many verses to validate that.
And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are
the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:16 NLT
All who fear the LORD will hate evil. Therefore, I hate pride and arrogance,
corruption and perverse speech. Proverbs 8:13 NLT
So, how is it then that the Christian faith is not transactional? That is a fair question and one that had my understanding of what it meant to be a Christian knocked completely out of phase – for years. Likewise, I believe this is something that can skew the focus of many other Christ followers. So, how do we keep our doing in phase? By being.
Jesus said in the parable of the vine and the branches found in the Gospel of John chapter 15, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” This is from the New International Version (with the exception of the capitalized Me’s which is a pet peeve of mine). Other translations use the word “abide” instead of remain. Either way, remaining or abiding simply refers to being: resting in who we are in Jesus, allowing Him to flow through us (to continue with Jesus’ vine and branch metaphor).
As Christians any goodness we do and any badness we don’t is not in and of our own effort, but rather a result or response to what Christ as done in us. In other words, we do not produce fruit—we bear it. Jesus Himself said, “apart from me you can do nothing.”
Again, this may be a source of confusion. People do good things all the time, right? So, how can anyone say otherwise. I believe it all comes down to one simple thing, our heart.
In the Gospel of Matthew chapter twenty-five Jesus speaks about the judgement of humanity using the term Sheep and Goats (verses 31-46). He tells the goats to depart from Him, saying He never knew them, to which they respond, “didn’t we do all these good things in Your name?” Then Jesus tells the sheep to come and inherit the kingdom He has for them because of what they did. To which they respond when did we do all these good things?
It appears both the sheep and the goats were doing the same things, so how is it that the goats doing was out of phase? They were not abiding, they were not resting, they were performing.
It appears to me from this text that the goats wrongly believed God’s love was no better than their own: it was something to be earned. I believe this fact bears out in the parable of the talents which immediately precedes the Sheep and Goat account of Matthew twenty-five. While the sheep knew God’s love, grace, and mercy was all consuming and therefore could not be earned they simply rested in it, while the goats wrongly believed God to be a hard man and was afraid of Him (v 24 & 25), not believing God to be who He said He is. In other words, they were being transactional.
Our being is knocked out of phase and morphs into doing when we refuse to believe that God lavishes love upon us (1 John 3:1) because He IS love, and not because we have done anything earn it. God’s IS love and that love is available to ALL who rest in Him. And this is truly Good News for us all.