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‘The Pursuit’ Blog

Motion in Action

James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” was the number-one best-selling book on Amazon in 2021 and the number-one audiobook on Audible. It’s been translated into more than 50 languages and sold over eight million copies worldwide since its release in late 2018. There are probably many reasons you could cite for Clear’s success – his book is a fantastic resource for anybody who wants to build more good habits or eliminate poor habits. 

A key concept Clear talks about in his book is the difference between being in motion and being in action. For more on this concept, you can order his book or read the blog post where he specifically unpacks this idea. Clear writes, “When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.”

Whether Clear realizes it or not, this principle relates to our faith as well. There’s a component of faith that correlates with the idea of being in motion, but as we learned from last week’s blog post and the words of James in Scripture, action must follow as a result. While faith certainly does require planning, dreaming, and seeing a future that doesn’t yet exist in the natural world, we must also be intentional about putting these dreams and visions into motion. This is where the hard work of action comes in. 

So what makes it hard to put faith in action? Why do we find ourselves attracted more to the idea of being in motion? There are several reasons, but the one that stands out to me is that being in motion feels safer and more comfortable than actually doing something about what we’re thinking or feeling. If I postpone taking action, I’m able to maintain the comfortable and safe feelings that result from my life remaining unchanged. I’m also able to uphold the so-called “perfect” illusion of what might happen if I were to take action, even if it’s disconnected from reality. 

Although Peter wasn’t perfect by any standard, there are many examples in Scripture where I’m amazed by Peter’s faith. For example, think about the story from Matthew 14 where Jesus calls to Peter to walk to him on the water. Although Peter wasn’t able to remain upright because he lost faith as he started walking, he still had enough faith to take the first step out of the boat. He wasn’t only in motion – he was taking action.

If I can offer any encouragement to you, I would urge you to lean into trust by moving from motion to action. Will it be uncomfortable? More than likely, yes. Will you feel unsafe? There’s a good chance – especially if Peter’s story is any indication. But at the same time, there’s something beautiful that happens when we reach the end of ourselves and have no other system of support besides our trust in God. This is where our faith begins to grow and where we can start to see God at work in a powerful way.