I remember stressing over an exam and cleaning the oven until 3:00am. The oven got cleaned, but I don’t think it helped me with the exam.
I remembered this experience when I watched a friend of mine dive headlong into church activity. She joined the praise band, a small-group in her community and started volunteering with the youth.
She looked great. In fact, she looked a lot like my oven; all bright and shiny. She knew it, too.
Before long, she’d made her own bandwagon. Everyone, she said should get more involved in church. Look at me. I’m a real Christian.
Ah, the sweet seduction.
If the enemy can’t get us enveloped in some life-sucking sin or some interpersonal chaos, then he’ll overwhelm us with invitations to do good. This is when zeal runs amok.
No, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with joining the praise band, a small group or volunteering with the youth. There’s nothing wrong-er in that than cleaning the oven. It’s just that there are times to clean the oven and times to study for exams. There are invitations to get involved in different activities in church or in the community, but not all of these invitations come from God.
Sometimes, we can get so busy that we just ignore God. Or, we can get so focused on doing good that we’re really trying to earn our own spiritual points.
The important thing is to slow down or really, to stop.
A friend of mine told the story of sitting down with his schedule and praying through his activities. He was one of those people – involved in everything. He realized that his over-involvement was just good work designed to satisfy his own need to be a good person. In the end, he slashed almost everything off of his schedule, much to the chagrin of his church community. In place of activity, he learned to sit with God and that changed his life.
What about you? Are you doing the things God is calling you to or is it really just all about you?