I have been challenged recently to consider the difference in meaning between the two words “react” and “respond”. They are totally different.
A reaction can be a knee-jerk reflex, an immediate action, often without thought or preparation – I am often an instant reactor! And I know we can spend much of our time reacting rather than responding!
Response however is very different – it’s hitting a pause button and taking a minute to allow God by the Holy Spirit to gather together all the factors, and to evaluate them in such a way that the right action is taken. Responding is allowing God into the situation. It allows for spiritual wisdom and insight and even intuition. It’s important for us to learn how to respond rather than to react in order that we can be fruitful in our lives and live God’s way.
Reacting is acting from immediate feelings (out of our soul), whereas responding is letting God in and, then, responding in God’s way to a stimulus (that is Spirit led action).
Perhaps, as suggested by our scripture, we need to forget the ways we used to react, and look forward in the future to responding carefully, with the wisdom of God, so that when the prize of God’s high calling does come, there won’t be a trail of wrong reactions we will have to give an account for!
Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive me for times when I have reacted hastily, and wrongly, and help me in my life to respond in a godly way rather than to be an instant reactor from my soul. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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