Action vs. Reaction

An action is defined as an act of the will; a thing done; the accomplishment of a thing; the bringing about of an alteration by force.

A reaction is defined as the way someone acts or feels in response to something that happens or is said; resistance or opposition to a force or influence; a response to some treatment, situation, or stimulus.

A reaction is what occurs after an action. The action comes first; reaction second.

In the various areas of life—marriage, family, work, school, friends, neighbors, church, community—is your tendency in relationships to initiate action or to provide reaction?

Here are the three elements typically found in those who live by reaction:


Avoiding action and any potential conflict—real or perceived—and staying in reaction mode is a lack of pro-activity.


Consistent lack of action is a sign of fear and constant reaction creates more fear.


When we live and operate life in reaction mode, we don’t trust God, don’t trust ourselves, therefore we don’t trust others.

Someone who stays in reaction mode will eventually see themselves as victims of anyone who lives by action.

A sign of spiritual maturity is moving from reaction to action—even if its baby steps, even if it’s crawling in the right direction.

Of course, we cannot possibly live all of life in constant action, because there is always give and take in all relational interactions, but evaluating our tendencies toward action or reaction can help us make healthy adjustments that lead toward fulfilled and successful lives.

When someone says, “He is a man of action,” it is always in a positive and affirming light. And there’s good reason for that.

Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions. —Matthew 7:20 NLT

Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! —Psalm 119:5 NLT

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