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Living with a bias toward action

| by Brandon Cox

Passivity is epidemic among us, especially among men.

And it’s killing us.

At the beginning of 2018, I told our church staff I was committing to living throughout this year with a “bias toward action.” I don’t know where I first heard that term, but to whomever thanks is due, thank you!

Having a bias toward action doesn’t mean we act on everything, like Jim Carrey’s character in the movie, Yes Man! Obviously, there is power in saying, “no” to things. But that’s the point.

Saying “yes” indicates a bias toward action.

Saying “no” also indicates a bias toward action.

Saying nothing, withdrawing from the pressure of decision-making, and hoping the moment will pass definitely does not indicate a bias toward action.

One of my current coaches had assigned me six different books to read over a two week period and we had about three coaching calls in between them all. He opened with two questions each time.

“Did you do the reading?”

I answered, “Yep. Sure did. I highlighted a bunch of…”

“What are you doing with what you read?”

“Wait, don’t you want to hear what I learned?”

“If you’re not doing anything with it, you didn’t learn anything. What are you putting into action?”

Suddenly I was developing a bias toward action in my reading and study life. And as a Christian, I find that this practice strongly echoes the concern of James in the New Testament…

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

~ James 1:22-25 NLT, emphasis mine

In other words, studying without applying and taking action is a waste of time, generally speaking.

So I’ve done the reading. I’ve taken notes. I’ve made some changes when it comes to the management of my time, my finances, my blogging and even in my family life.

And second, I prepared a sermon for my current teaching series, God of the Movement, about the moment when the twelve spies of Israel were sent to compile a scouting report on the beauty and greatness of the Promised Land.

Of those 12, there were 10 who were scared. They spread rumors about the danger that lay ahead. Then persuaded a couple million people to stall and decide they’d rather go back into slavery where at least a meager survival seemed possible.

Two of them, Joshua and Caleb, were action-takers. They were ready to move forward and take the land. Thirty-nine years later, they did just that and had a wonderful inheritance as a result.

  1. To be a DOER, conquer your fear.
  2. To be a DOER, rebuke lies and limiting thinking with truth.
  3. To be a DOER, rebel against your addiction to comfort.
  4. To be a DOER, focus on the God of the dream more than the dream itself.
  5. To be a DOER, stand out from the crowd and go against the flow.

Entire generations of people suffer when we who are called to lead shrink back under our fear and trepidation.

Our culture needs people who live with a bias toward action. Wise action—yes—and not foolish action. Action instead of inaction, for sure.

  • Families need parents who say “yes” and “no.”
  • Companies need managers who make changes where needed.
  • Churches need pastors who lead the flock forward.

Living with a bias toward action is essential to personal growth, and the personal growth of leaders is the basis for growth in any organization.

I want to be a DOER. A finisher. An action taker.

I want to reject passivity and lead my family with a bias toward action… Yes, we’re going to church today… Yes, we’re going to take a vacation together this year… No, we’re not buying that car today, we’re sticking with the car we have now…

I want to live with a bias toward action in my church… Yes, we do wish to see that property… Let’s make an offer… Put that event on the calendar… 

I’ve found that since I’ve committed to living with this bias toward action, I walk more confidently through life. I don’t always make the best choice, but I want to make a choice rather than leaving life purely under the control of my circumstances, other people, and my own fears.

What is it that you need to DO today?

Now go for it!

Photo source: istock 

Brandon Cox

Brandon Cox has been a pastor for twenty years in churches of every size and context. After serving as a Pastor at Saddleback Church, he and his wife Angie planted Grace Hills Church in Northwest Arkansas. Brandon still serves in an editorial role with and Purpose Driven. He also blogs, writes, and coaches leaders and pastors. 


This article was first published on Used with permission. 

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Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
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