Are Your Failures Active or Passive?

As my wife and I lay next to each other at the end of a busy day, one of the most often pondered questions is, What are we going to do with our lives?


Okay.  I admit it.  That is my question every evening.  She smiles.  She already knows.  But me … I am overwhelmed with the idea that we, as a family, are not playing to win.  We are simply going through the motions of life, homeschooling, work, church, etc.

Ever feel that way?

King Saul probably felt that way, only he took a different approach to resolve his problems.  When the Philistines pursued Saul and his family, they eventually caught and killed Saul’s three sons.  A fierce battle ensued and ultimately Saul was wounded by the Philistine archers.  Left with what he thought were very few options, King Saul took his own life.  

Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the word of the LORD which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, and did not inquire of the LORD. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

Did you catch that?  The scripture says that Saul’s failures were not only active, but were also passive.  He not only did wrong—he failed to do what is right! Saul not only sinned by his actions, but he also sinned by his omissions.

For me and my family, it is not good enough to simply avoid what is wrong.  That is fairly easy…don’t cheat, don’t lie, don’t steal.  That’s what we teach our kids.  We need to seek more!  We need to awaken our passive nature and actively pursue what is right.

So, when I ask my wife, What are we going to do with our lives?, that’s what I mean:  Let us do more than get by.  Let us pursue, chase, run, sprint towards goodness.

Image: Tim O’Brien

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Chrissanne Long

    I wasn’t always someone who took action. And there are things I want to do, but haven’t decided they were important enough – yet. As I have discovered in the last 5 years, what I was afraid to discover for the first 33 years of my life is that I can be as successful, happy, and fulfilled as I want to be.

    Every day, I make choices to either DO, or NOT do. I love the fact that you ask the question every evening, or at least, it’s become habit to ask it. What are we going to do with our lives? It’s not about where we are today, because tomorrow is a new day and where we are now can change.

    It’s about where we want to be that we are not already. If I simply accept my circumstances, my passiveness is making a statement: “I’m OK right where I am.” It’s the decision to do and then the doing that makes your last minute possible: “Let us pursue, chase, run, sprint towards goodness…”

    Great message, Matt! I look forward to more discussions along the way!

    • Matt

      Chrissane, You have more encouragement in your reply and I have in my original post. 🙂 Thanks! Also, I am afraid my daily question is generally a product of being stuck, as opposed to an activity of planning. Thanks again for stopping by the blog.

  • Rob Beaudreault

    I am plagued as well by a fear of being mediocre. At the end of the day, I want to matter….to have been significant to another person. This verse challenges me to take an honest assessment as to who I am consulting. Saul did not “inquire of the Lord” and it was much more than just an oversight…it was sin. That’s a pretty heavy thought. Thanks so much for sharing.


      Rob–Again good insight. When you use the words, heavy thought, I get a better picture of the impact of this lesson for me and hopefully others.