Frustration. Futility. Failure. That’s the experience of most believers trying to live the Christian life. Success feels so elusive. You read in the Bible what Christianity is supposed to look like. You read books and devotionals that make it sound very doable. You see friends living out their Christian walk victoriously. But it feels like you keep failing God, never living up to His standards nor living out His commands. What’s wrong? Why can’t you get it right? How can you start living the abundant life God wants for you?
Get ready for your life to turn upside down—right side up actually. See, most believers are living the Christian life upside down, and they don’t even realize it. They define Christianity by what they do and don’t do, and they feel like they’re failing God. That’s the problem. They have it upside down. They start with “Do this” and “Don’t do that.” “Do” is the last thing to worry about—literally.
Instead, begin at the top:
You begin with KNOWing God. Then BEing who you are in Christ. Then DO will come naturally—supernaturally actually—no more mustering up the willpower to do the right thing nor suffering overwhelming guilt when you don’t.
Know. Be. Do. Three simple words. One incredibly freeing truth. Once you get the order right, the Christian walk is no longer an uphill battle, it’s a guided tour with God. Life turns right side up again.
The starting point is KNOW—intimately, biblically knowing God. Bonding, connecting with Him at the deepest level. The more you really know Who He is, the more you understand who you are in Christ (BE). And once you discover how to accept and employ your position in Christ (BE), you’ll understand how you can abide in His ability—to truly “be” who God says you are. Living in this awareness of your true station in life, the Christian life no longer feels like a duty, but a delight. You’re acting on His authority and appropriating His power. You bring pleasure to God doing whatever you want, because it will be natural for you to want what you KNOW He wants, to do what He wants.
Throughout the Bible, you’ll find KNOW BE DO embedded in the very DNA of Scripture. For example, “To KNOW Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may BE filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to DO above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us” (@Ephesians 3:19–20).
Know. Be. Do. Get the order right, and it all falls into place. Attempt starting with do, and you’re on the road to failure.
We have two wonderful daughters. When they were teenagers, they were busy doing anything and everything. School. Church. Hobbies. Boys. It was non-stop activity. But I will always remember one night during their busiest teenage years, when they pulled out an old family photo album. They started looking through it and asking me questions about my life, about seasons in my life that were unknown to them. Where I went to college my first year. How I landed my first real job. What my dad did for a living. Why we moved to this city or took that job. They were soaking it up.
There were plenty of things around the house that night that needed doing. But I didn’t need them to do anything for me. Truth be told, I could do it myself easier. Or I had enough money that I could pay someone else to do it. I didn’t want them to do anything except just be my daughters. All I wanted that evening was to just milk every moment of that time when my girls wanted to know me better.
God wants you to KNOW Him better. He wants you to understand Whose you are and who you are (BE). He doesn’t need you to muster up the willpower to do anything for Him. He’ll empower you to DO it as you stay connected to Him. Know. Be. Do. Keep it in the right order, and you won’t have to worry about failing God or yourself.
16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
3 This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent —Jesus Christ. 4 I have glorified you on the earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with that glory I had with you before the world existed.
Be still, and know that I am God;