One of the characteristics we admire in people is initiative. A person with initiative takes steps in a positive direction without having to be prompted, cajoled or motivated by someone else. Instead of being reactive or passive, they are proactive in the way they live their lives. They engage rather than disengage with their responsibilities, assignments and opportunities.
Initiative is a wonderful quality in a person. It results in promotion and positive momentum. Good things happen to people who possess it. It makes us a better spouse, friend, employee or student. It makes us a more productive person.
Initiative also communicates significant things about someone. It is a sign of their interest, appetite, need, desire or passion. It indicates a willingness on their part to make a personal investment in the duties they have been given or the relationships they have with others.
Initiative is a great asset in our spiritual journey as well. God is blessed and eagerly responds to people who demonstrate spiritual initiative. He comes to the aid of people who take positive steps toward Him.
Jesus gave us a wonderful illustration about the rewards of spiritual initiative in Luke 15:11-24. Jesus described a young man who wanted to leave home. He longed to experience the pleasures and attractions of worldly living. He asked his dad for his inheritance, headed out on his own, and ultimately wasted his wealth and lost everything. He ended up working in a pig pen, eating the same food the pigs ate. This experience brought him to his senses. He decided to take the initiative to go back home to his father, seeking forgiveness and some degree of reconciliation.
Take a look at the results of this young man’s initiative:
“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.” –– Luke 15:20 (NLT)
It’s obvious from the story that the father was anxiously and lovingly waiting for his son to take steps in the right direction. And as soon as the father saw the son’s initiative, he came running to him!
The Apostle James brings the lesson home to all of us, describing a beautiful spiritual principle and promise from God:
“Come close to God, and He will come close to you … ” –– James 4:8 (NLT)
When we take the initiative to approach –– to draw near –– to God, we are assured of a reciprocal response from Him! He rewards our spiritual initiative.
How many times do we miss out on intimate fellowship with God because we don’t take the time to seek Him? How many times do we forfeit the help, wisdom, power and grace God longs to give us because we don’t take the initiative to go to Him, ask Him and wait on Him? Many blessings are missed when we don’t develop and maintain our spiritual initiative.
What do you need from God? What do you want Him to do in your life? Go ahead and take the initiative with Him. Approach Him with full confidence of His promise: “If you come near to me, I will come near to you!”