In 1 Samuel 17:35, it says “I went out after it.” This is a spiritual quality! This quality served David for many years and complemented him as he became the leader of his nation. Leaders go after things. They don’t always wait for them to come to them. It’s best described in the word Initiative, meaning leading action. It means taking the lead on what needs to be done. David was not cocky or overly confident, he took the initiative. He was simply responding to the HARD THING with confidence.
It doesn’t matter what personality you’ve been given, or what upbringing you may have had, this quality can be nurtured into your present nature. Leaders show up like spiritual grown-ups. If they need change, they look for ways to change, and go after it. They don’t need permission to show up.
Years ago, I remember a season of DOING HARD THINGS when the Lord was trying to get me to see my life as an adult. I remember Him saying this phrase to me: “You need to get your power back!” It seemed simple at the time, yet now I seem to use it on a daily basis. What it meant to me was that all the moments in my life when I felt powerless, or that someone was more powerful than I was, were a lie.
God did not create me to live as a powerless person hoping that someone or something would make me powerful. God created each of us to operate with an inner power and His name is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit makes the difference in our lives! When we receive Jesus and the work of the cross, and we invite His Spirit to live within us, we receive power. He is the One who changes our natural to supernatural and gives us the eyes of the Spirit to see what we cannot in the natural. Part of “going after it” in our lives is understanding each of us were created to be powerful beings. Called and anointed to do the work of the Father.
What is the difference between godly initiative and fleshly ambition?
Fleshly ambition is based on an inner motivation to prove ourselves, to gain acceptance or approval, to avoid rejection, and to maintain control.
Godly initiative, on the other hand, is the fruit of responding to revelation from God related to what He wants us to do, and then doing it in faith.
Jesus clearly said He only did what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). This is very important. When we talk about initiative, we have to have godly initiative, not just fleshly ambition. The difference comes when we commit to only doing what we see the Father doing. For some of us, this will come very naturally because we inherently like to step out. But for others, stopping and waiting to hear what God wants us to do will take incredible self-discipline and diligence. At the end of the day, we want to live lives pleasing to God, so hearing His voice and responding to Him is vital to our spiritual growth.
One last thought: Sometimes, we forget God set up a system to deal with our sin. He says in the Bible that if we have pride, the next thing that happens is a fall (see Proverbs 16:18). Sometimes, as believers, we get so caught up in trying to have the right motives, we miss the opportunity to simply “do something.” Part of maturity is knowing that if our motives are not right, God will deal with it. We cannot be afraid to fail but rather must be prepared to step out anyway in the midst of fear and understand that God can take whatever we’ve been given to sow and make it beautiful.