Four Principles For Taking Action

Four Principles For Taking Action

To one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
–James 4:17

In the story of Esther, I find four principles about doing the next right thing that apply to you and me. First of all, determine to take action in spite of danger or doubt. There was a fifty-fifty chance that Esther would be killed for approaching the king. But Esther knew she had to take a stand, even though she did not know how it would turn out.

Second, enlist others in your action plan. Esther asked people to pray for her, and I think she probably asked for advice on how to best approach the king with her request. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.”

Third, take deliberate action. Somebody has said that the longer you wait between knowing what you should do and doing what you should do, the longer Satan has to talk you out of it. That is why it is important to take deliberate action. Perhaps there is somebody you need to ask forgiveness from, or a coworker you need to share the gospel with. If you know what you need to do, go ahead and take action. Daniel 11:32 says, “The people who know their God will display strength and take action.”

Finally, leave the results of your action to God. When Esther said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16), she was not being fatalistic. I think she said that with happiness in her voice. If she lived, she lived. If she died, she would get to see God that much sooner. She would win either way. The same is true for you. If you are fearful about taking that next step, ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen to me?” There is no reason to be afraid.

A young woman in Scotland decided that the next right thing for her to do was to teach a Sunday school class for underprivileged boys. Each boy was given new clothes to wear to church. After a couple of weeks, a boy named Bob quit coming. So the teacher went to see him and found that he had ruined his new suit. She arranged for him to get a second suit, and he came back to class for a while, but then he dropped off the radar again. The teacher found he had ruined the second suit too. She told the church superintendent, “I am completely discouraged about Bob. I guess we must give up on him.” The superintendent said, “Try him one more time.” So they gave Bob a third suit and he returned to class. This time he stayed, and eventually he accepted Christ as Savior. That boy was Robert Morrison, who became the first Protestant missionary to China and the first to translate the Bible into Chinese. The Word of God was made available to millions of people because that Sunday school teacher and that superintendent were ready to do the next right thing, even when they did not know the outcome. That is why the apostle Paul said in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Survival Tip #10: Do The Next Right Thing” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2019.

H. G. Bosch, “Third Time’s the Charm” Our Daily Bread, repr., Precept Austin, July 28, 2017, https://www.preceptaustin.org/galatians_devotionals_2.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.