A proactive person acts in advance to deal with an expected
difficulty (American Heritage Dictionary).
Proactive vs. Reactive
A proactive choice is based on values and principles. But
a reactive person makes choices primarily based upon desires,
feelings, circumstances, conditions, and their environment.
This is a generalization, but I hope it helps us understand
the major difference between proactive verses reactive behavior.
Actually, proactive choices can be made according to our
feelings as long as the choice is compatible with our values;
but when we reactively make decisions based only on feelings
we often sacrifice our values because of our feelings.
Christians Must Prepare -- Be Proactive
Although the word proactive doesn't appear in the Bible,
Christians are commanded to be prepared, which requires
Peter says, "prepare your minds for action. . . ." (1 Pet.
1:13). We must prepare our minds, to act the way God commands
in a given situation. Therefore, we must be proactive --
we must act in advance, to deal with whatever situation
we find ourselves.
Christians Must Be Ready -- Be Proactive
Prepared Christians are ready to act. Therefore, they are
Jesus tells us we must be ready for His return. He says,
"You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour
that you do not expect" (Lk. 13:40).
Paul tells us to be ready for every good deed. He says,
"Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to
be obedient, to be ready for every good deed" (Tit. 3:1).
And Peter tells us to be ready to give an answer to everyone
who asks about our hope. He says, "but sanctify Christ as
Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense
to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope
that is in you. . . ." (1 Pet. 3:15).
We must be proactive to be prepared, and be ready!
Example: Queen Esther
Was Proactive Queen Esther, a Jew who was married to King
Xerxes, had to make a profound choice.
As recorded in the book bearing her name, Haman issued
a decree that would annihilate the Jews on a certain day.
Mordecai sent word to Esther with a copy of the decree,
and explained that she had to talk to the king and prevent
the slaughter. At first, Esther reacted negatively, thinking
the king would kill her when she went before him without
being summoned. But Mordecai convinced her that she had
an obligation toward God to do everything she could to save
After she was convinced to try and save the Jews, she said,
"Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and
fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night
or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will
go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish,
I perish" (Es. 4:16)!
Notice that Esther's original behavior was reactive, and
she made an incorrect decision based on fear. But later,
when she took a proactive approach, she made a correct decision.
As a result, Israel was saved.
Our Attitude is Similar to Esther's
Esther decided to do the right thing, even if it cost her
Like Esther, out attitude is to do the right thing, even
if it costs our life.
Jesus says, "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his
father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters,
yes, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And
whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot
be My disciple. . . . So likewise, whoever of you does not
forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple" (Lk. 14:26-
We must set aside our sinful affections to follow Jesus.
We must bear our cross, never allowing ourselves to react
with sinful passions and emotion. We must make proactive
decisions to do the right thing, and be ready to face whatever
comes our way.
We Always Have a Choice
We always have a choice regarding sin.
Paul says, "No temptation has overtaken you except such
as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow
you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the
temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may
be able to bear it" (1 Cor. 10:13).
Since we always have a choice whether to sin or obey God,
we must proactively obey God rather than reactively give
Think Rather Than React
When we are tempted, we must engage our minds and think
through the temptation, so we see the way of escape and
We seek the things above, setting our minds on the things
above, considering the members of our earthly body as dead
(Col. 3:1-5). We proactively obey God based on His word,
and never react based on feelings alone.