The Quiet Life
Haste is the primary reason we fail to operate in God's will.
Yes, there are times when we must make haste. Many scriptures reference the necessity of acting quickly, but there are powerful similarities among these scenarios. In almost every encounter, God's people were instructed swiftly to 1. avoid/flee from danger 2. carry a message of love and joy or 3. ask for guidance and follow His commandments; not to readily enter into an argument or engage in debate. For example, in Acts 22:17-18, Paul, gives his testimony and explains where the Lord tells him to move hastily:
God met Paul in prayer and instructed him to act quickly after revealing imminent danger. In another example (in 2 Samuel 15:14), David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem:
It's important to note that there are numerous times where God instructs his people to engage in battle. What separates this instruction from the previous of not making haste? In each battle, God took time to prepare His people, prescribe a strategy and told them when and where to begin the battle. It was not a haphazard decision for them to enter into war nor should it be for us to engage in conflict. We have to pray without ceasing and be sensitive to God's word and His guiding spirit.
Have you every wondered why God didn't command all the armies to war at once? He always employs exactly who He needs when He needs it to do His work. He's had multiple armies at His disposal, but was always purposeful with the who engaged in war. Make no mistake, just because you are armed with the word of God does not mean that you are to always be in battle. There is a time for everything, including war and peace. (Ecclesiastes 3)
An example of acting quickly to spread the joy of Christ and good news, after Jesus' resurrection, an angel of the Lord spoke to Mary Magdalene and Mary (the mother of Jesus) and told them, "Go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead!" They were to be quick in spreading the news of the risen King! In a less familiar story, Manoah was a Danite whose wife was barren. One day while out in the field, an angel came to her and said, "Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son." After receiving this word, she made haste to tell her husband the amazing word she received from the Lord! This son would be named Samson who had his own personal battles to conquer, but that story's for another discussion.
These examples aren't an exhaustive list of the ways we should act quickly. As a starter though, I've compiled a short list of more examples of when we should act hastily.
When Should We Act Quickly/Hastily?
- Genesis 19:22
- 1 Samuel 23: 26-27
- 2 Samuel 15:14
- Acts 22:17-18
Spreading Good News
- Matthew 28:6-8
- Judges 13:6-10
- Luke 2:15-20
Serving God/Asking for Guidance
- Genesis 18:1-8
- John 11:20-29
- Genesis 24:18, 20 and 46
- Exodus 34: 6-8
- 1 Samuel 25:18, 23 and 34
- Psalms 22:19; 38:22; 70:1, 5
So whenever you come across a situation where you want to react, address the spirit that is in you first. Is it one of frustration, anger or discontentment? If so, stop right there! This is not the spirit of God leading you to act quickly and you should address the situation with tact and wisdom. But if there is a present threat to your personal walk with God, do not idle in fleeing from it and calling on God to protect you from that danger. Notice the emphasis is on your personal walk with Christ. Again, we are not to make haste to judge or enter into confusion or controversy. This doesn't mean that we aren't allowed to voice our opinions, but if its not something that God has revealed to you in prayer to share, it's probably not meant for you to be that person to share it.
We are all workers in the kingdom of God. He employs each of us for a strategic mission and when we get distracted from the voice of God, even if its because we know His word, we are know longer being lead by His spirit in this passage, Paul is addressing the church in Thessaloniki. Having to leave abruptly (coincidentally to flee from danger) after teaching for several Sabbaths there, Paul received a good report from Timothy about the church continuing to keep the faith. His letter was in response to this good news:
There are many times I too want to shout from the rooftops "You're absolutely wrong!" or "That's not the word of God!" I want to chime in on controversial topics and address false teachings just as much as the next God-fearing person, but I stop myself and instead of "counting to ten," I "lean on four." I let these four proverbs scriptures marinate in my heart.
- "All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.” -Proverbs 16:2
- “A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” -Proverbs 17:10
- "Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you?" -Proverbs 25:8
- “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Above all else, I want to live a life that's pleasing to God and I realize that doesn't mean I have to preach or shout His commandments on a hilltop (although we still need people who are called to keep doing this type of work). It means I have to live them. Everyday that I walk in God's commandments, press towards higher education and use my resources to help others is a testament to my faith in, love for and loyalty to Him.