What Do I Have To Do…

Ben Schoettel   -  


This week’s message hits directly on the difference between “can I” and “should I”. There is another mindset shift that I also believe is helpful for us to live a fruitful and holy life.

The shift is when and how we use the words “have to.” Here are the ways these two words are often used, that also often get us in trouble.

“I have to have _________ for me to be joyful.”

“I have to get through _________ before I can find peace.”

“I have to see __________ happen before I can be faithful.”

Can you see this issue? When we try to determine (or let the world determine) the parameters and expectations for our lives, the “fruit” we offer to God is conditional fruit that is not from the work of the Holy Spirit but is by our efforts, and only if our conditions are met.

As we have already understood, holiness, and fruitfulness, is 100% rooted in the love of God. What do we know about the love of God? It is unconditional. If the love of God is unconditional, we shouldn’t expect our relationships with God and creation to be fully fruitful if there are conditions set on them.

So how can we use the words “have to” in our desire to live a holy life that brings about love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control?

One phrase: I have to remember.

I have to remember that everything that was created by God is good and is meant for good. (This means learning to appreciate creation (including humanity) and seek to care for it rather than get the most out of it.)

I have to remember that because of the presence of sin, we now live in a world where corruption and death exist. (This means that difficulties and injustices do not cause us to lose peace with God but reminds us of our need for Jesus as we grieve, lament, and seek to be content.)

I have to remember that Jesus is always present and perfecting.

(This means that we can let go of expectations, trust that our acts of love ARE making a difference, and know there is still unseen work that Jesus is doing in our lives.)

When we shift our have to thoughts, we can live a life as Jesus taught the religious leader who ask what he’d have to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus’ answer? Embody Love.

Read Philippians 4:4-13.

How do the words of Paul fit the mindset shifts mentioned in the message and in this devotional?

What other “have to” statements can you think of that lead to either more fruit or a lack of fruit?