rebelling against low expectations

Are You Doing Too Much?


Our recent post on a study linking teenage depression to bedtimes drew a healthy discussion in the comment section. One reader named Micaela asked a question about “busyness” — and we thought it was important enough to share with you.

Micaela wrote: “I have question. The purpose of the rebelution is to encourage young people to “do hard things” and to “rebel against the low expectations of today’s culture.” I think this is absolutely wonderful, and I have a few ideas brewing on how I am going to do this. But how can you tell the difference between doing “hard things” and just plain doing too much?”

Micaela’s question gets to the heart of what it means to “manage our time” for the glory of God. As Christians we must live our lives with proper understanding of the preciousness of time (we’ll post about this next week), but in Micaela’s case, also grasp the difference between busyness and fruitfulness.

As Alex and I have wrestled through this same issue in our lives, we have been well-served by C.J. Mahaney’s seventeen-part blog series on Biblical Productivity. God used this man to convict us of being busy procrastinators and hectic sluggards and to help us to re-align our priorities to achieve “biblical productivity.” Below is an excerpt from the first installment. See if it whets your appetite for more:

Lazy? Not me. I’m busy. Up early, up late. My schedule is filled from beginning to end. I love what I do and I love getting stuff done. I attack a daily to-do list with the same intensity I play basketball. Me lazy? I don’t think so!

Or at least I didn’t think so. That is, until I read about the difference between busyness and fruitfulness, and realized just how often my busyness was an expression of laziness, not diligence.

I forget now who first brought these points to my attention. But the realization that I could be simultaneously busy and lazy, that I could be a hectic sluggard, that my busyness was no immunity from laziness, became a life-altering and work-altering insight. What I learned is that:

  • Busyness does not mean I am diligent
  • Busyness does not mean I am faithful
  • Busyness does not mean I am fruitful

Recognizing the sin of procrastination, and broadening the definition to include busyness, has made a significant alteration in my life. The sluggard can be busy—busy neglecting the most important work, and busy knocking out a to-do list filled with tasks of secondary importance.

Read the entire article »

If you feel you suffer from busyness — and especially if you automatically equate busyness with productivity — we would strongly encourage you to read Mr. Mahaney’s entire series. In the meantime, join in the conversation in the comment section. How would you answer Micaela’s question? What is the difference between “doing hard things” and just doing too much?

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Wow, i know exactly what Micaela means. For me (especially during the school year) I get so “busy” I’m constantly doing school it seems. Yet a lot of times if i really think about it, I’m not really getting all that much done.
    I think the difference between doing “hard things” and doing to much is that when we’re doing hard things we are being productive, yes it takes a lot of time but ultimately our time results in something being accomplished. When we’re doing to much, or are “busy” because we have procrastinated etc. We don’t really accomplish all that much.

    And I have another random question on the side.
    What are you two going to name your new book? (sorry I know it was random :))

  • I fall into this trick too, equating busyness with un-laziness. It’s tricky though… when you have a full plate you don’t have to eat what you don’t like. Somewhat the same with being busy. I obviously can’t finish it all in one day so I’ll just put off the boring/hard/painstaking things for a different day and my conscience is clear. But honestly, I am one of the most lazy people I know.

  • Hmmm…this is true.
    I tend sometimes to think that I am not being lazy, just because I have a full day.
    This is probably a silly question, but it’s actually been on my mind for a while now…
    Does this mean that even if we are doing too much rather then doing hard things, we are not pleasing God?
    Or by doing too much are we still doing enough to please Him?


  • I think it really depends on what you’re busy with. If you’re busy because you pursue excellence in school and other regular activities like music or sports, then you’ll be much more productive than if you were busy with, say, maintaining your wardrobe or keeping up with the latest gossip.
    However, I can see how even productive business can be used as an excuse to avoid doing other important things like praying, caring for friends, spending time with your family, or maybe even getting involved in big, collaborative hard things. If you’re too busy to do these things, you’re too busy.
    From personal experience, it’s a huge relief to cut something out of your schedule and use the time on something important that you’ve been avoiding.

  • It is so amazing how G-d works! I am currently in the process of eliminating that bad habit of mine to be busy but not fruitful. This article was encouraging and helpful. Thank you very much ,Brett!

  • I never actually thought about what she said until I just read it. I would have to say my answer to that question would be: Do Hard Things is more of what your conscience tells you to do. (when I think of your conscience I think of it as God telling you what you should and shouldn’t do) And just plain old busyness is more of doing just plain old activities.

    I know that I use to do tons of stuff.
    Monday: Guitar
    Tuesday: Tae Kwon Do
    Wednesday: Youth Choir and Bells
    Thursday: Piano, Bells and Tae Kwon Do
    Friday: Ride the bus home

    But now I have taken out Tae Kwon Do, Youth Choir (because I’m too old), Piano (because my piano teacher isn’t doing lesson’s anymore), and Bells because it’s the summer but in the fall again I’ll do guitar and bells. So I’ve learned that being busy is definetly not fun because you don’t have anytime to just take a breath. You’re always doing something. So I’d advise to anyone that each year sit down and figure out what you want to do and then eliminate what you can do next year and do what you can only do this year because then you’ll have a little different schedule and then you don’t have to do everything at once.


  • Many people who have ‘busy lives’ are wasting theirs. Just because you’re ‘busy’ doesn’t mean that you’re fruitful.

  • This makes me think of the paraple from Jesus. The one about the good samaratan. The two first people who who passed by the mugged man laying on the gorund, were ‘busy’. They all had things to do, but that does NOT mean that they were doing the right thing.

  • I’ve been needing the issue of business and fruitfulness to be addressed in my life. God is using you guys in an amazing way. Thanks so much!

    The difference between doing hard things and doing too much is doing hard things challenges us and helps us grow, whereas doing too much takes away time for growth and wears us down.

  • Kade, that is so true.

    I want my life to be a little more “busy”, getting a job, extra school, etc.


  • I agree with everyone that it depends on what your busy with. In my case, while it may not seem so now, taking the time to tend to my little brothers and sisters is fruitful. It’s an investment in the future. Being busy doing schoolwork, cooking dinner, keeping the house clean so that it doesn’t constantly look like a pig stye. That is the kind of busy that is fruitful (which, ironically, may not seem so. We all think we have *better* things to do). Being busy doing things like commenting on this post (I’m NOT saying that it is wrong, I’m just saying would you tell your potty-training brother that you COULDN’T help him get to the potty on time because you were *busy*?), checking email, and watching T.V. is not at all productive. Well, commenting on this post MIGHT be productive if you helped someone out by answering a question or clarifying an issue.
    Anyway, I guess, a lot of the time (but by NO means all) I am fruitfully busy. I just need to pick which fruits I want to cultivate. Any good farmer knows that you can’t plant an apple seed and get an orange tree. Knowledge, a good relationship with my siblings, and necessary skills for the future are definately on the list.
    God bless you all!
    Kay Morris 🙂

  • I totally agree. There are a lot of ifs just like that. “how to know if you’re doing too much” is one of the main points of “do hard things” to keep in mind. One of the other most important I think is “are you doing hard things for God, or just because of the rebelution.” You have to think about “how are the hard things I’m doing bringing glory to God? Great message guys.
    – Brandon

  • Thank you so much for your insight and for referring me (us) to these articles. They were wonderful! This is just one more way God is going to have to mold me into His image. 🙂 I’m so glad He is always faithful in this long process of sanctification! God bless!

  • As student council president at school, tech guy at church, and leader of the local youth group, I find this a very real problem. However, I like to slow down once in a while to evaluate whether or not what I am doing is of any consequence (also in a spiritual way), whether it is necessary, and whether myself and others benefit from it. Then I view it alongside my priority list and see whether one or the other need changing… (they should match.) and that’s about it.

  • Hey,
    I have thought about this question alot. I’m constamtly “busy” the problem being I never get anything that needs done, done…

  • Wow, this is so true! Thanks for your question Micaela!

    I think the only way to know the difference between busyness and fruitfulness is by praying about it. We have to ask God to help us prioritize, and really tackle the most important tasks without procrastinating by doing secondary ones first. The most important activity of your day should be the time you spend with Christ, talking with Him and studying His word. If we skip this vital time the rest of our day is doomed to fruitlessness. We must also be careful not to get to busy even if we seem to be getting a lot of important things done. The busier we get the harder it is to hear God’s voice. When we get to Heaven we don’t score points for whether or not we crossed off everything on our list. God wants a relationship with us, that requires learning about who he is and listening to His voice.

    Busyness is never good if it takes away from your time with God or drowns out His voice. Nothing is more important than spending time to learn about your Savior. Take some time today to take a break and really talk to God, with no other distractions, no worries about the next thing on your list.

  • hey, thanks for publishing this. i’ve had that same question before.
    am i right in concluding that if you do a ton of good hard stuff, but are not doing it for God or are doing it for yourself or to “wow” others, then it is not “doing hard things?”
    so we basically need to remember that God gave us our abilities no matter how small, and we need to use them FOR him? that’s why even doing things around your house if you’re doing them for the right reasons can be counted as “doing hard things,” right?

  • thats a really good topic!! i can sometimes tell that i need i better attitude when helping my mom and stuff… i guess when your rushing to the next thing it might not be about other people anymore, it just is about getting the glory and moving on to the next thing…
    So thanks you guys for all the encouraging emails and such. it really does help remind me that doing hard things is not just to make yourself look better and more mature its really about doing the things that Jesus would be doing and doing them for him, not myself.

  • This is a problem that I’ve also struggled with. God has been teaching me, through all this, that He can still work. I’ve learned that untimely interuptions to my day are often opportunities to bless/encourage others. If I can have a flexible enough attitude to make the most of these opportunities, then I feel that I am doing my potential. However, if I find myself frustrated because of my ruined schedule, I need to readjust my perspective.
    Thanks for the thought.

  • Thanks, this article has a lot of significance in my liferight now. This is definately one area I need to work on.

  • This is really an area that I have struggled with and am trying to change! In the last 6months I have been so busy with school, work, track, drivers ed, etc. etc. ect. all important things, but I sat back the other day and was like how can it already be the middle of June? What have I done these past few months? Yah, I have been busy and have done a lot of “stuff”, but the products of that stuff wasn’t fruitfulness for the Lord at all, but really for me, and passing the time! These past two weeks I have really shifted my focus and re-prioritized my time! I am striving to be fruitful for the Lord in how I spend my time, not just filling it with to-do lists, and event after event! God has big plans for me and each one of us, we just need to give Him the time to show us what it is. If we are to busy to slow down and listen to the Lord we are going to miss out on so much!

  • This is very true, I’ll admit I’ve probably been guilty of this a few times. Doing hard things doesn’t really mean that your doing GOOD things, it all depends on what it is and what its for.

  • This may be a LITTLE off topic, but Micaela’s question reminded me of a question I’ve been asking for about 10 years now.
    When I was about 11, I had to memorize this verse;
    “1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
    and while I was memorizing it, a question began to bug me.
    What happens to people who don’t know that there is such a thing as Heaven and Hell?
    Are they sentenced to hell for ever, just because they didn’t know there was a Heaven or hell?
    I mean, I’m sure not many people don’t know of Christ and Satan, but I’m sure, somewhere out there, some people don’t.
    Well, what happens to them when the good people go to heaven and the bad people go to hell?
    Or are they given a second chance?
    Maybe they didn’t know that heaven and hell existed, never became a Christian, but lived a very clean and pure life?

    Sorry if this is off topic, but it’s just something that’s been bugging me for a LONG time.


  • In response to Alesia’s comment:
    I read your question and it really got me interested too. I googled it and didn’t find enough to make a solid answer. However, I can say that it is our responsibility as Christians to bring understanding and knowledge of God and Satan, of heaven and hell to the world. As it says in Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature.” that’s a very good question though, and I’ll keep looking for an answer.

  • Most of the time, I am very busy. I almost always have something to do. I often save the hard things for later, instead of doing them first. That’s going to give me something about in bed tonight.

    My thoughts on Alesia’s comment- I was reading a book called “The Case for Christianity” be Lee Strobel this past week. It talks about that same question, simply put- if people never hear about God, will they go to Heaven? Here is what Strobel wrote, “It’s one to thing to say that truth is found in Christ (earlier reference to John 14:6). What about the people who are like the blind men with the elephant- they never get a chance to see the whole picture? Isn’t it unfair to condemn them when they’ve never heard about Jesus?

    The apostle Paul said that God ‘made all the people of the world. Now they live all over the earth. He decided exactly when they should live. And He decided exactly where they should live. God did this so that people would seek Him. Then perhaps they would reach out for Him and find Him. They would find Him even thought He is not far from any of us’ (Acts 17:26-27 NIrV).

    How does it happen that people do manage to find God, even if they’re in a culture where the Gospel isn’t told?”

    A lot of people in other lands find out about God in dreams or visions. Also, creation shouts out God’s name. It says in the Bible ‘the heavens declare the glory of God’. Throughout the Psalms, phrases about nature proclaiming God as their Creator. They know that all that beauty out there could not come from nothing. Also, God gave people consciences, so they can distinguish right from and realise that there is a Supreme Judge. I believe that all people can know that there is a God. And who are we to question God’s judgement? Hope that wasn’t too long.

  • Kade, that is a great thought. I am very familiar with that parable, but had not thought that there was a “good busy” and a “not-so-good busy”. I tend to lean towards the not-so-good busy. We could all get too busy to stop and think about what we are doing and if it really does please God.

    Thanks for the awesome post, guys! This has challanged me to “Do Hard Things” and consider whether or not my schedule – not that it’s busy right now – truly pleases and glorifies God.

  • Alesia_
    My opinion on that subject is that New born babys and child who can’t know about God g oto heaven so it a person Had No clue to what Heaven and Hell were before they died I think they would go to heaven it’s just if they know and don’t believe that they don’t

  • Alesia and Brandon,
    I have struggled with the same question. I’ve heard and read and asked alot about this topic. One of the clearest elxplanations came from a book called, “why faith makes sense” by Will davis Jr. (in case ya’ll want to check it out!) As my understanding goes, God reveals Himself to all people through someting called “general revelation” (a.k.a. nature) Theres an enormous amount we can learn of God and His character through nature and clear thinking (read “I dont have enough faith to be an atheist” by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek). People are accountable for the revelation of God they receive. All the people before Christ came (like, David (a man after God’s own heart) moses, joseph, noah etc…) looked forward to God’s deliverance, even though they couldn’t “believe in Jesus” specifically, they believed that God would send the Messiah, He would provide a way for their salvation because they believed that God is just.
    However, we know that Jesus (God’s special revelation)is the only way men can be saved (acts 4:12 and a whole bunch of others 🙂 Its easy to adopt the worldview that says, “everyone is good, and its unfair for God to send people to hell.” But in actuality, we all deserve hell, and its God’s amazing grace that anyone goes to Heaven.
    So… where does that leave us? Ive come to the point where I know I cannot fully understand God, or His plans. All I know is that I don’t know and cannot understand God in all His fullness. All I can do is trust in His goodness, love, fairness and justice.

  • That is definately a thought provoking question, Micaela. I know for myself, I often get caught up in the busyness of everyday life, school, work, and even social stuff, which leads to less focus on God. Just becuase you are busy does not mean you are living your life for the Lord, or doing hard things for Him. I think this is a problem many people struggle with, since it is soo easy to become so busy that you lose focus on God, or to think you are serving God by not ever having time in your life that is unused.
    Thanks for challenging post guys! It definately has got me thinking, and changing.
    In response to Alesia:
    For me, the fact that some people may not have heard about heaven or hell is one of the greatest challenges to us to spread the gospel. I have to agree with Halcie, God reveals Himself to people through general revelation and special revelation. Even those who haven’t specifically been witnessed to are justly condemned, because God is witnessed all around us in nature and in our hearts. I have heard a story(I’m not sure where from, unfortunately) somewhere about a man who was seeking God(if it could be put that way) without being witnessed to, and despite living among other religions. When he was finally witnessed to he accepted Christ immediately becuase they just “knew” in his heart that He was the One who he had been looking for. This man saw in nature the witness of a great Creator and Lord and he saught after Him until he was brought to Christ. So, no, no one is excusable for not knowing about heaven or hell becuase God is witnessed in all of nature. Even if there was no means by which we could be saved, God would be perfectly just in condemning us, after all, its us who sinned/sin, not God! That said, I believe in our human inadequecy we will never fully understand how or why God works. In the end then we’re left to praise God for loving us and providing us a means of salvation and share that love to others!!
    I hope that helps, even if only a bit.

  • This is definitely a tough issue. I don’t think there can be a concrete answer as to what is business and what is productivity, and it is probably different for each person. The key is to be aware of God saying that a certain activity is wasting time. Something else to consider: the whole issue may not be what a person does, but also how they do it. Obviously the what is very important, but the same activity can be a”busy” activity if it’s not done for God’s glory and a productive activity if it is. I Corinthians 10:31: “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
    Anyway, being productive and not busy and doing everything to the glory of are definitely things I need to focus on improving.

    As to Alesia’s question. Its certainly not something that can be answered easily. The way I see it, God will save those who he has predestined to salvation. (See Rms. 8:29-30 and Eph. 1:4-11). If someone never hears the gospel, it’s because it was not God’s will that they would be saved. Jesus is the only way and a person won’t go to heaven just because they don’t hear about him. At the same time, I totally agree that the thought of people never hearing the gospel should be motivation to spread it. We don’t know who God has called to salvation so our mission is to reach everybody we can with the news of salvation. There’s my two cents.

  • I think the difference between busyness and productivity isn’t necessarily how much you achieve, but, like Phillip said, working unto the Lord and being faithful to Him.

    Look at the life of Joseph, he was sold into slavery as a teen, but he didn’t let that stop him from being faithful as a slave to God. He eventually became the overseer of Potiphar’s property. Then he was thrown into jail for something he didn’t do. That didn’t stop him either. Soon he was in charge of “all those held in prison.” Two years after he interpreted the cupbearer’s and baker’s dreams he was removed from the dungeon to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.

    Anyway, I’m sure you all know the story, but basically Joseph goes from being a slave to being in charge of all of Egypt! Because he remained faithful and did things unto God even though they probably didn’t seem worth doing, God made him fruitful.

    I think that’s the key to fruitfulness: Being faithful in our work to the Lord.

  • I believe that we have crossed the line from doing hard things to busyness when we can no longer be effective at what we do. I see this a lot among the high school leaders in the middle school group at my church. These students are leaders in their high school group, lead at multiple middle school services, lead other middle school events, and try to cram in one other ministry all on top of having jobs and going to school. They get a lot done, but they don’t ever create very deep relationships along the way. If they would just serve in a few areas they could probably make a larger difference than serving in so many.

  • I think it’s, like most things, different for different people… but being busy with things that seem important on human standards rather things that are important on heavenly standards can be a trap. Try taking advantage of being busy by being a witness to all the people you come in contact with and remember that if an activity leaves you no time for prayer, reading your Bible, or church… check your priorities.

  • Too true. I am in a Woman’s Bible Study on 2 Peter (it’s a Precepts Study by Kay Arthur), anyway, very good and it has really helped to be an incentive to be in the Word and not just in it, but studying it! Yet, my schedule is busy. As you said it’s really easy to shuffle things around and give the excuse to myself that “it has eternal value.” Usually that’s helping to make a social even a good way to spend my time. However, if I do not take time to be in the Word and seeking the Lord in it and spending time in intersession, then I just run myself dry wondering what the problem is when it’s really not that complicated to figure it out. The Lord has given me 24 hours in each day and has His own priorities for my day and those are the truly important ones. It is a challenge, but it’s great! And the absolutely best part is that He is faithful (1 Cor. 1:9) and His plans will stand (Ps. 37.)

    Press into Jesus! Seek Him first (Mt. 6:33.)

  • Just a quick one here: I appreciated your posts (this and another back a ways you mention here) about bedtimes and depression. This is an area we all as young people need to guard and be careful of. God knows what he is doing when he gave us a time to rest- both for our physical health, and spiritual health. Satan loves the dark, and even those of us committed to Serving Christ need to guard ourselves, lest we fall. Getting to bed on time and rising early is one of those safeguards!

    It is easy to loose our focus on the “hard things” that God intends for us to face in our lives, and take burdens upon our shoulders that He never wanted us to bear. If we’re too busy to stop, to be still, to KNOW our Lord, then it is time to take one of those personal retreats- such as Enoch did- and let God re-focus, re-direct and re-define us. God is faithful, and if we are willing, He will help us to KNOW really know, what we should be doing so that even if we are not doing “very much” what we are doing will really count. It may mean giving some thing up or cutting back on *our* chosen hard things in order to do what He is calling us to do, but it is WORTH IT.

    I have found my quiet times of being still to be vital in more than one way, and I would definitely encourage each one to make it a practice of taking that time out so that we can get up again and do the work of the Lord- in His way, and with His blessing.

  • I think its wonderful to do hard things, but I think that we must be careful to not get obsessed with it so much that we clearly exaust ourselves. Does that make sense? I love doing hard things, but that doesn’t mean that every living breathing moment of the day has to be doing a hard thing. We must be balanced and that is easier said than done! It is easy to fall to much to one end and be either lazy or a non-stop 24/7 worker. God wants us to rest, but He also wants us to get up and do things that are challenging and tough as well. We are responsible for when we know we need rest and our bodies need to be refreshed, to call it a day and rest. That’s just my take on the matter!

  • I feel exactly the same way! I haven’t quite finished the Do Hard Things book yet but I have so many different ideas and I feel as though God is laying on my heart and opening all of these doors to the rest of my life and I feel like in the past, I have been complacent and lazy because I am constantly doing things that are on my ten page long to-do list and I feel like I’m being immensely productive but at the same time I constantly find myself rearranging my priorities and not putting God first on my list but putting it in the order of what I want to do first or what I feel I need to do first and not what God is leading me to do. I procrastinate on the most important things and find myself losing sleep over it. Relaxation and sleep are vital to my life because I just can’t function without them; I get sick and tired and then can’t function. But at the same time I stay awake at night planning things like my college search and the rest of my life instead of looking at what God has given me now and using His resources instead of mine to glorify Him. Instead, I’m looking to glorify God by enjoying Him not in America in my own home but in Colombia or Africa or some place other than America. I am so dissatisfied with my own complacency and my own horribile habits that i strive to make a drastic change because I am too afraid to take a stand where God has placed me. I need to take a nap and get my priorites straight! I still have a full year before I graduate!

  • I read all the responses to my question and I wanted to thank you all.
    They were very helpfull and I know that I’ll continue looking into it myself =)


  • I have a question:

    I read on the news about Chase Abrams, and 18-year-old who through a ACE-PACE program graduated from college at the same time as he graduated from highschool. He managed his time to perfection, but looking at a normal day for him, it seems amazing he wasn´t over-saturated. With the prospect of starting college in January, and having a difficult schedule–it challenged me.

    But my question is this: Is it doing a hard thing, or is it just busyness? Where is the line (if there is one) between the two things?


  • Thank you gentlemen for posting the link to the C.J. Mahaney series for all of us to read; I read it this past weekend, and thirty-six pages later, I can say that it was time well given.

  • “What happens to people who don’t know that there is such a thing as Heaven and Hell?
    Are they sentenced to hell for ever, just because they didn’t know there was a Heaven or hell?
    I mean, I’m sure not many people don’t know of Christ and Satan, but I’m sure, somewhere out there, some people don’t.
    Well, what happens to them when the good people go to heaven and the bad people go to hell?
    Or are they given a second chance?
    Maybe they didn’t know that heaven and hell existed, never became a Christian, but lived a very clean and pure life?”

    Hello Alesia,

    Your questions seem to have a common theme. From what I can discern it is possible that they are rooted in a still yet more basic question; a question that may contain words such as trust, contradiction, and the character of God. I will not force this question, for if it is already in your heart, it will come. Otherwise, my discernment may need some sharpening. Blessings as you seek for an answer, for those who seek shall find.

  • Alesia et all,

    You seem to imply that “a man can live a very clean and pure life”, so that God would accept him. The truth is we are all ‘by nature children of wrath’ (Ephesians 2:3). This means that, apart from Christ, *everything* that we do causes God’s wrath. So I say that it is more than obvious that *no one* can live a pure life before God, as long as he is away from Jesus Christ. All men are sinners and fall short of the glory God (Romans 3:23). Regardless of whether they ever heard of the gospel or not. They are still sinners, as they break the law of their concsience.
    So I would think that in the Bible we find a clear answer to your question. Everyone deserves God’s wrath. And thus, all people of all times, cultures etc etc (of an age of accountabilty) will go to hell because of their sins, unless they repent and receive Jesus Christ as their Lord, Saviour and Treasure.
    And if this upsets you, there is something you (and we all) can do. Lose our lives for Christ and His gospel. Because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    God bless,

  • Alesia,
    I think the answer to your question can be simply found when one searches the right verses. Know right off, I am a firm believer in Election; I believe it is the bases of everything we, as Christians, believe. And I believe in it is the answer to your question.
    But to start. First off, no one is deserving Heaven, we ALL deserve hell, and it is only through God’s grace at all that some of us will go to Heaven. So, if someone was not to know about God and went to hell, it is what they deserve (cruel as that sounds in the human mind) However, there is no one on earth who does not know, in some way, about God. I know this from the Bible; though I do not know were the verse is found right off. But it says God has revealed Himself in creation so that man is without excuse.
    A man cannot die, stand before God, and say, “I should go to Heaven, I did not know about You and therefore did not have a chance!” God has shown Himself in creation. Also, all men known what is right and wrong, they can deny it till they are blue in the face, but they know.
    That said, all men know there is a God, God is not going to leave them without His common grace which falls on both the good and the evil.
    However, there is also election one must consider, and I think it is important in this. God chooses those who will come to Him, and they WILL come. “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” John 6:37.
    If God has chosen those people for salvation they will be saved, and no amount of lacking Bibles, or missionaries, or anything is going to stop that. In the same way, if God has not chosen them, no amount of preaching or Bibles will save them.
    This also brings up another point, or so I think. Why haven’t these people heard about God? Are not we commanded to tell them? Well then, why aren’t we? Maybe, if we all put our minds to it, we could do some hard, fruitful things, and find a way to spread the Word to them, or help those who are.
    Anyways, back to the topic at hand. I think there is a difference between doing Hard things and just being busy. Like one of you commented, the presit and Levite were busy, but in the wrong way.
    We can be too “busy” to help those in need, but that does not mean it is the right kind of busy. After all, Jesus was never too busy to help those who needed Him. He never once said to someone who was sick, “Go away now, I am preaching can’t you see? And this is far more important then helping you!”
    I think we need to look at our motives. Why are we too busy? Do we say we are too busy with all our other activities to help do dishes, or help our family. Are we too busy with friends so we will not have to spend time with siblings? With all things we need to look at why we are doing it, look and see were our hearts is. Are we doing it for God or for us?

  • Wow! This has been the same thing I have been struggling with for the last two years: this insane drive to accomplih stuff because I feel that God will love me more if I do more for His glory-but then I get so busy, it’s no longer for His glory. I think that might be an indicator of when we are busy and not doing the right thing; when God’s glory becomes secondary and when our implied duties as Christians, young adults, and children become neglected to any degree.

  • Ok I see what you mean Heather, and when you explain it like that, it makes alot of sense.

    I’m glad I finaly have my answer now, after 10 years, I guess it was kinda obviouse all along though.


  • If someone is going to have a “busy” day but none of it is pleasing to god then they are pretty much doing nothing the will help them in the long run. If church is something that comes second to a hobby then where is your prority?

  • ” If you are faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things,”(ruffly stated from God’s word). Getting things done is good, doing to much is unhealthy, doing to little is unhealthy; my goal is to find the medium, not to much, not to little, anyone got some helpful resources to share?

  • alex and brett –
    im not quite a teenager yet but ive begun to read your book – do hard things – its like your sitting next to me just talking its not all fancy like, one day i helped run a campaign and this is how it went … its just we helped with a campaign and it was a great experience! you guys are great role models for young people like me, who want to make the world a better place but just didnt know where to start. now i do. just be me and stand up for what i believe in and -do hard things- in the name of the lord. deep down i knew and i think everyone knows what we have to do… we just have to do the hard thing and figure out what it is…not just sit around and wait for it to land in your lap. thanks for being an inspiration to all teens. (or soon to be teens)

  • I’m also a youth that has struggled from laziness, procrastination, slugishness and the like. I believe C.J Mahaney is right. Is your busyness being fruitful? If doing much things is hindering you from your first love, i believe that’s not fruitful. However, “do hard things” are doing things that still keeps your gazed and stunned at the glory of God. It’s doing things that still keep yours focused at God. That then isn’t waste, but fruitful.

  • I think the difference between doing hard things and doing to much is the peace God gives you. Whenever I try running my own life, heaping on the work and being super girl, I feel anxious, easily shaken, and don’t have peace over the things I do. When I wait for God’s perfect timing to do what He intended for me to do all along, I don’t feel the same pull at my heart. Yes, at times I will be anxious, but the peace of God, that transcends all understanding, will surround me and comfort me.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →