BE… – Jeremy Austill

**Excerpt from a project I am working on…

I am going to begin with
what some may use as a rebuttal to the coming thoughts. Depending on your
preferred Bible translation, you likely have this verse etched in your memory
with particular phrasing. I grew up primarily with the KJV so in my young world
it sounded like this…

 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only,
deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)

In our Western society
we place a high priority on being people of action. We value and hold in esteem
those who “get the job done” and are “about their Father’s business”.
Contemplation, meditation, reflection are somewhat intimidating concepts and to a
degree and are often addressed with caution because those words are routinely attached to Eastern philosophies. Doing is more tangible. It yields more easily
measured results. It is within our control. It is completely understandable James 1:22 would be a lynchpin verse for a believer. I love the verse. I
too want to be counted among those noted as doers of the word. However, notice there is an important word which precedes doers…the word is “be”. One must
sufficiently BE before they will ever be compelled to consistently DO. And this is where we begin our journey.

 “If you focus on your rights you get rebellion; if
you focus on your responsibility you get revival.”

This is a good sounding quote. It
rolls off the tongue with ease. It is the kind of statement which compels you to
nod in agreement. It pulls a “yes” from your lips. It conjures thoughts of the
entitled and their soon coming demise. It feels right…it sounds right…it is
right…isn’t it?

What if I said there is a
way that seems right to a man but the end thereof is death (Proverbs 14:12)? I
understand Solomon was likely talking about the fool, the deceiver, the liar or
the blatant sinner. However, it seems so often as believers, we are prone
to embrace earthbound concepts that sound appealing and correct upon first
hearing. Could it be we have allowed many worldly thought processes to
maintain residence in our thinking despite our citizenship in a different
realm? Is it possible we have harbored quotes like the one above and in
doing so have cornered ourselves in a room full of shame, despair,
intimidation, stress and pain? The quote sounds like a solid truth. I am not
saying it is not accurate. I am certain the heart of the man who
delivered the quote is pure and sincere. Yet, for years I have meditated on my
responsibility, delegitimized the notion that I have rights as a Kingdom citizen and as a result
have been incredibly conflicted internally. What would happen if our focused
shifted?

I want to make it clear, I do not wholeheartedly disagree with the content or intent of the quote above. However, I struggle with where it positions me as it
relates to my Father. The quote was a noble call to action, a call to
selflessness. However, it also subtly resonates with a tinge of guilt. Maybe it is the Generation X
in me, but I am at the point in life and faith where I am exhausted with
hearing what I need to do. 

I am willing to admit I may be in the minority here.
I have a plethora of knowledge on what it is I need to do as a devout follower
of Jesus. The database is extensive. After 38ish years of church life, a bible
college degree, and roughly two decades of preaching I have a ridiculous amount
of information on how I am to conduct myself in order to be perceived as an
adequate Christian. I know what to do. You probably have a pretty
sound idea on what to do yourself. The problem is that doing, alone, can create
malfunctions. Doing that is not derived from being is hard labor that produces
fatigue and frustration. I wonder if you have felt the exhaustion in your soul
of doing absent a legitimate source. I am not speaking of physical fatigue,
rather of the draining of your thinking, emotions, and will. We proclaim our efforts are “all about Jesus” but even for the spiritual leader I wonder how much of
our labor is from the source of being and how much is from the obligation of it
having to be done. I fear we have a large percentage of people in the body of Christ
who know how to do church but have no idea how to be in Christ. Maybe we need
to pause and reflect not so much on what we need to do and more so on what He
has done….

 Quote from Jason Upton – “Be is the beginning of Being. Be is the beginning of Behaving. Be is the beginning of Becoming. Be is the beginning of Beautiful. Be is the beginning of Believing…”

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