“We are human beings, not human doings.” I do not know the origin of this quote but I like it. It is a phrase that has stuck in my memory bank and quite frequently these words come to the forefront of my mind. While using some scripture references and quotes from various books, I am taking time to unpack my personal interpretation of this quote today.
Science may define me as a human being, but the type of life I live may reflect me more as a human doing. Physically, I am a human but I want to go beyond this fact. I am both a “human being” (an entity) and I am a human “being” made perfect according to God’s plan. This takes me to two scripture references.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image…”
God is the great I AM and He is perfect. I can hear God saying I AM loving you – I AM forgiving you – I AM healing you. I could go on to list a multitude of ways the I AM statement could be completed but I will stop with three.
I am made in His image but I am not perfect. My first reaction to this fact is for me to be doing something to make myself more lovable, or to be doing something so I can be forgiven, or to be doing something that will allow me to be healed. However, what I truly need to do is claim scriptures that confirm that I am being loved, being forgiven and being healed by God. These effects will not be evident within me because of anything I am doing, but they will be the result of my being in the presence of God and allowing Him to work in me. Once again I go to scripture to learn how my “being” transpires without my “doing”.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Mark Batterson says in All In, “Religion is spelled do. The gospel is spelled done.” A religious person is caught up with trying to please his god by doing. For me, faith is based on what Jesus did for me when He died upon the cross. My faith entails a relationship with Jesus Christ that gives me the privilege of “being” in His presence. He did the “doing.” Jesus did it all so all I have to do is be His child. Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Yes, I will honor God by doing good works, but my motive will be to serve Him. My doing is not nearly as important to God as my being! However, I still want to know more about how I am able to “be” rather than “do”.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.
The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave himself for me.
While reading these words of Paul to the Galatians, I realize that I need to put to death my inclinations of doing for God when my goal is to attain His love. Instead, I am to concentrate upon being in the presence of Christ and then allowing His love to flow through me.
God desires me to do things for Him, but my doing must be the result of my being in His presence. My being should influence my doing. I am a human being a child of God to do good works, not a human doing good works to be a child of God. I desire to be a human being aware of the Lord’s presence in my daily life. My goal is to be a human doing with Him and for Him not to earn His awareness of me but for me to be aware of Him.
Max Lucado sums up this concept well with the following words, “No more performing for God. Of all the things you must earn in life, God’s unending affection isn’t one of them.”
For in him we live and move and have our being.
If I live and move and have my being in the Lord, how do I best live as a human being rather than a human doing? Several writers help me answer my question.
In God Calling, Sarah Young writes as if Jesus is speaking the following words, “Trust Me enough to spend ample time with Me, pushing back the demands of the day. Refuse to feel guilty about something that is so pleasing to Me, the King of the universe.”
In The Circle Maker, Mark Batterson talks about how we tend to focus on what we are doing or where we are going, while God’s primary concern is who we are becoming in the process. He says that the will of God has much more to do with being than doing. “It’s not about being in the right place at the right time; it’s about being the right person, even when you find yourself in the wrong circumstances…. It (success) has nothing to do with how gifted or how resourced you are; it has everything to do with glorifying God in any and every situation by making the most of it.”
Steve Fry is the last author I want to mention. He says in his book I Am, “Who we are is more important to God than what we do.”
Be still, and know that I am God.
As a human, my being in the Lord’s presence is the best preparation for my doing for Him. My doing will have more depth and power when I am aware of being in His presence. I realize that I am not just a human doing my own thing to impress the Lord. I am a human being transformed into His likeness by being in His presence which prepares me for doing the works He has planned for me to do.
My Reader, may you and I remember that “We are human beings, not human doings.”
A Challenge for you: We are approximately halfway though Lent. This season of the Christian calendar is the time period of forty days when we prepare our hearts for Easter. It is a time of moving closer to the cross. Sometimes moving closer to the cross is accomplished more by being than doing. May you set aside time to be alone with the Lord this week. Be a human being rather than a human doing.