When God gives you an unconditional promise, all you need to do is wait for it. But when He makes a conditional promise, you have a part to play in its fulfilment. Sometimes that calls for taking the initiative. For Israel, it meant being willing to face opposition and drive the occupying nations from the Promised Land so it could be theirs.
‘Then Moses called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”’ (Deuteronomy 31:7–8 NKJV)
In essence, God was saying, ‘When you take the initiative, I will act on your behalf.’ And He’s saying the same thing to you today. Here is what it means to take the initiative:
(1) Choosing the next step. Humourist and pianist Oscar Levant once quipped, ‘Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.’ We smile, but sadly that’s the way many of us operate. The fact is, you can’t be indecisive and be effective at the same time.
(2) Being willing to take risks. The difference between a believer and a nonbeliever is this: as a believer, God has promised to go before you and arrange the circumstances in your favour. ‘But I’m afraid!’ you say. Faith in God doesn’t eliminate fear—it overcomes it. So take the initiative.