How the Gospel Transforms Our Productivity

What God Does

To be productive is to embrace the reality of what God does in us and to respond in worship through our work and our rest. Christianity does not teach that we must do many things to be at peace with God. On the contrary, we do things because, through Jesus’s sacrifice, we are already at peace with God. The verdict is in. With this confidence we can seek to have a productive life, knowing that even if we fail miserably, there is grace from God to keep us going. Matt Perman summed it up this way: “The only way to be productive is to realize that you don’t have to be.”1 Truly productive people do not seek to be productive in order to discover their purpose but are productive because they have already found their purpose in God and now want to live it out.

This will change the way we view our successes and failures. Victories don’t make me feel superior because I know that separated from God, I am nothing. Defeats don’t make me hopeless because I know that my value is in Jesus and not in my performance.

Make the Most of Your Productivity

Ana Ávila

In this user-friendly guide, Ana Ávila teaches 6 principles to help you honor God with all you have and reflect his character through your creativity.

What I Do

God is God and does not need us, but he still delights in making us part of his plan. He uses our efforts to accomplish his purposes. Since creation, he has called us to work. Although he could have made a world where produce would sprout without effort, he called us to till the soil. And at the same time, Jesus taught us to rest in the fact that the Father feeds the birds of the air and will feed us too. Productivity is a paradox—it’s work and it’s rest.

This fact will change the way I look at my day-to-day activities. I can work hard knowing that God uses my every effort. I can rest easy knowing that the final outcome is in the Lord’s hands.

The productive life is a life centered on the truth that God uses and sustains us.

It’s impossible to remain in this centered view of productivity all the time. We are very prone to wander. Some of us tend to work tirelessly to prove our worth. Others fall into laziness and allow themselves to be carried along by the flow of everyday life events. Far from remaining focused on the identity that the gospel offers us, many of us feel on top of the world when things are going well and feel like the worst garbage on earth when everything seems to be going wrong. True productivity is found in having good rhythms of work and rest (by neither working all the time nor resting all the time) and a gospel-centered view of oneself (by neither considering ourselves the best nor the worst), with productivity maintaining a balance of work and rest, confidence, and humility.

Although it can be difficult to determine for ourselves whether we are being lazy or are simply exhausted and whether we are overly arrogant in our success or overly defeated in our failure, it can be helpful to regularly evaluate how we are living out the mission God has given us. Are we fulfilling our responsibilities diligently? Are we resting assured that, at the end of the day, God is sovereign and uses our efforts as he wills? If we are successful, do we believe it’s only because of our merits? If we fail, are we remembering that nothing can take away any spiritual blessing that has been given to us in Jesus?

Being productive doesn’t mean doing many things in a short period of time. It does not mean working every minute of the day. Rather, it is seeking to honor God with what you have, making an effort when it’s time to make an effort and resting when it’s time to rest.

The productive life is a life centered on the truth that God uses and sustains us. But above all, it’s a life centered on the identity’ that the gospel of God offers us. We are productive not because we have to be but because we are privileged to be part of the mission of God, who is renewing all things in Christ Jesus.


  1. Matt Perman, What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 104.

This article is adapted from Make the Most of Your Productivity: A Guide to Honoring God with Your Time by Ana Ávila.

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