Applying the Character Quality of Initiative

Initiative vs. Idleness

3 min

Initiative is acting on the promises that God gives to us in His Word.

Initiative is expressed in two ways: by thoughts and by deeds. The Hebrew word chashab (translated think) defines the thinking phase of initiative. It means to “plan, calculate, invent, imagine.” The Greek word most frequently used for doing, poieo, describes the action phase of initiative, meaning “to make, produce, execute, institute.”

Initiative requires faith in discerning God’s will through His Word and works in order to carry it out. Initiative that does not spring from faith results in doing our own will versus God’s. Initiative is using the energy of God’s grace to achieve the will of God, as directed by the Spirit of God.

Initiative requires faith in discerning God’s will through His Word and works in order to carry it out.

How Is Initiative Activated?

Initiative is activated by thoughts and words. Scripture teaches us that power for good or for evil is in our thoughts and words. “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). “Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:5). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21). With our words, we can do the will of God or the work of Satan. Therefore, “by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matthew 12:37).

When God formed the world, He generated creative energy by words. “The worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). The words of God are recorded in the creation account: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (Genesis 1:3).

Words are also basic to the initiative of redemption. Jesus is the Living Word of God. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

God initiated our salvation through words, and we receive salvation by words. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9).

When Does Initiative Become Iniquity?

We can take initiative to do many good things; however, they may actually be works of iniquity if they are to advance our own agendas and do our own will. If we are to avoid iniquity, we must follow Christ’s example and allow the Holy Spirit to produce in us the right initiatives and guide us in properly carrying them out.

It is the Holy Spirit Who gives us grace, which is the desire and power to do God’s will. It is also the Holy Spirit Who guides us with Scriptural truths. We can take initiative based on the Word of God and know that we are in the will of God. This is the promise of John 15:7–8: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.”

When our chief concerns are to glorify God in all that we do and to “do good unto all men,” especially those of the household of faith (see Galatians 6:10), we will be in a good position to establish proper initiatives.

Personal Evaluation

  • Do you show initiative by rising early in the morning and seeking the Lord?
  • Do you take initiative to seek direction for your life in God’s Word?
  • Do you show initiative by memorizing and meditating on Scripture?
  • Do you show initiative by asking forgiveness and being reconciled with your enemies?
  • Do you take initiative to honor the Lord’s Day?
  • Do you take initiative in sharing the Gospel with others?
  • Do you exemplify initiative by keeping your home and car in good repair?
Explore more about this topic in The Power for True Success


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