When are you going to say to a friend, “Look, I’ve been able to keep it a secret, but I have a drinking problem, and I need help, because things are starting to spin out of control.”
When are you going to end the relationship you know God wants you to end?
When are you going to be generous the way you know God has called you to be generous?
When are you going to make amends with the parents you have wounded?
When are you going to join a Bible study for the first time in your life?
When are you going to spiritually lead your family?
When are you going to talk to one of your coworkers about your faith?
When are you going to do something real about all the social justice causes you post about online?
When are you going to invite your neighbor to church?
Pastor Idleman puts this list at the end of Chapter 9 for a reason; he wants us to do something to change now!
Chapter 10 is about passivity. This is the killer of action.
To be a passive person means you suffer from a compulsion. You have a learned tendency to live at half-speed. Passive people feel their glass is half-empty. They half-heartedly commit to projects, plans and goals. Passive people are half in and half out of relationships. The passive person who suffers the effects of a the glass half-empty life is more attached to not having what they think they want or desire, even though they protest loudly that this is not so.
Passivity is an offence of omission – not doing or saying what you need to, not responding, not accepting challenges and refusing to take risks.*
In the context of the book AHA, we know we are not doing right in our lives but we sit. We do nothing despite the fact that there is an urgency to act in our lives. We would rather stay right where we are than act.
I can’t say I have not suffered from passivity. We all have. We all have times when we just can’t get started on that project. We can’t make ourselves make that phone call.
We wait for some external force to kick us into action. Pastor Idleman begins Chapter 10 with a sad story of a Southern California fire. You know, you see those fires in the news several times a year. People debate about the cause of the fires but I suspect that dense population, cheap housing materials, dry vegetation and high winds all contribute to the fire situation in this part of the world.
The fact of the matter is that people in Southern California need to take fires seriously but some don’t. Pastor Idleman talks about homeowners who get the fire warning to leave their homes immediately and they start packing their suitcases, try to save their tvs and computers or maybe even make the effort to fight the fire with a garden hose. One firefighter said it this way: “move fast or you will become charcoal briquettes.”
People sometimes do not move fast. In one fire, two dozen were burned alive.
The headline in the local paper read “Hesitation is a Fatal Mistake as California Firestorm Closes In.”
Now, before it is too late.
*from the Positive Health Online Website