This is a transitional post that I am writing before I begin posting on John Bevere’s book Good or God.
People who create promotional material often come up with catchy phrases to help sell their products. “Diamonds are Forever, Just Do It, Where’s the Beef? and Got Milk?” are some very popular slogans that public relations people have invented.
Jon Bloom, in his article “Always ‘Be’ Before You ‘Do’”, writes some very important comments about Christian identity. His comments were inspired by a slogan on a tennis shoe box. Bloom writes on Pastor John Piper’s Desiring God website which I often use to teach my Sunday school class. I recently turned to his post on “desiringod.org”.
The slogan reads “Go Do Be” and herein is the problem.
It seems that “Be” is in the wrong place.
I know that movement is important. Go is a popular word. We like it. We often desire it. It is much better to move than just sit when a problem presents itself. The slogan uses “go” implying that we need to “get off the dime” or do something. We need to move. That is not a bad idea.
Do is an action word. We often need to take action in this world to correct wrongs that need to be corrected, to give aid to those who have less than we do, you get the idea: things don’t get done without someone “doing” something.
And then comes “Be”.
“Be” is an identity word. If a person has an identity, they are someone. They have characteristics.
Bloom makes an excellent point about people who discover themselves through movement and action but there is a problem with people who move and act without a basis for moving and acting.
They have no “core.” They move and act without direction.
If you can humor me, let’s go to the Garden of Eden, where you can see Adam and Eve falling into a “go do be” trap laid by Satan. “If you eat the fruit [which takes movement], you will gain God’s wisdom [the movement results in action] and you will become like God [they are promised they will acquire God’s identity].
We all know how this turns out but is it because they don’t have an established identity before they go and do?
I think that may be the problem.
Movement and action should spring from identity for it to be most effective, especially if you are trying to live a Christian life.
In the early days of Christianity, followers of Christ were called “Christian” because they exhibited a Christian identity or they had certain characteristics. Their behavior, activity and speech were like Jesus. Christian was a term that was invented to mean “follower of Christ.”
Unfortunately over many years, the term Christian has been watered down to mean someone who is religious or someone who has high moral values. Some people consider themselves Christian because they do attend church once in a while. Others identify themselves as Christian because they are Americans. The idea is that we are a country “founded on God” so an American must be a Christian.
However, being a Christian is surely more than this. Second Corinthians 5:17 says “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” James says “I will show you my faith by my works” [James 2:18].
First comes the “be” and then comes the go and do.
The Bible defines a Christian as one who has personally received Jesus Christ as Savior, who trusts that the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ happened so our sins can be forgiven. Movement and action in the Christian’s life stem from the power of the Holy Spirit, that guiding force which resides within each person who has received Jesus.
What is the point?
Identity or the “be” is the starting point for the Christian, not the ending point.
Someone in my Sunday school class commented on the fact that a person could go and do and eventually discover Christ. That very well could happen. Then they could find their identity in Christ and become a “baby” Christian requiring milk not solid food. Hebrews Chapter 5 comments on the “inexperienced and unskilled in the doctrine of righteousness…for he is a mere infant…but solid food is for full-grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil.”
Being a good Christian is about having an established identity so we can grow in love for Christ, allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our hearts and lives. Hebrews 12:2 “Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith.”
The good Christian knows God and identifies with the term “Christian.” This is their “be.”
As they grow in love, grow in faith and grow in grace, they go and do in the name of Jesus.
“Go Do Be?”
Maybe, but let’s rearrange.
“Be Go Do.”