The Never-Ending To-Do List

by Joanna Pierce on May 01, 2019

I’m one of those people who absolutely loves to-do lists. It’s not that I like having the to-do part, but the check-it-off-when-it’s-done part. There’s something satisfying about checking off an item that’s done. I’m enough of a weirdo, that when I complete a task not currently on my list, I’ll add it and then check it off. Yep, I’m one of those people.

To ensure my task-list isn’t never-ending, I don’t add things that are habitual on-going actions. For example, I’m not going to add “breathe” on my list. I started that at birth and I plan on doing it until the day I die. Breathing is never a completed task, and therefore, isn’t going on my list. I’d even argue that sleeping, getting dressed, taking a shower, and eating fall into a similar category. If you need a task-list to do that stuff, or don’t do it daily, you might have a problem (sorry).

While we can avoid never-ending checklists in our natural life, this isn’t the case in our spiritual life:

For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:14, KJV).

In our spiritual walk, we have a tendency to see our relationship with God as a to-do list. We have a list of items to do each day, and once we check them off, we check out. But, there’s more behind a simple to-do list with God. There’s less once-and-done than there are ongoing, daily things (like breathing).

I love this Scripture because it’s a constant reminder that Christ died for our sins. It was His complete once-and-done action that paid the price for every sin everyone would commit from the beginning to the end of the world. He has forever perfected and completely cleansed those who are sanctified.

What we can’t see immediately on the surface of this verse is the meaning behind the word sanctified. This Greek word describes a process of being made holy. It’s is a present passive participle (for my fellow grammar nerds out there), which means sanctification is a continuing action. We can’t check it off our spiritual to-do list because it’s always ongoing. This means, we’ve got a never-ending spiritual to-do list.

Jesus’s goal is to lead every believer to spiritual completion and maturity. That doesn’t happen the moment we’re born again (Acts 2:38). With His help, we make daily strides to grow in our relationship with God and become more like Him in our thoughts, actions, and behaviors.

I’ll admit that part of our sanctification process can be broken down into sub-tasks, which can be added to a daily to-do list. We can create tasks for our daily prayer and Bible-reading or set phone reminders to check in with God to keep us in a constant state of prayer and praise. These may seem elementary, and things we should complete daily (like taking a shower), but we may need to add them to a task list until they become as natural (and habitual) as breathing!

As a caveat, adding these little reminders or task-oriented items doesn’t cover every aspect of our sanctification process because sanctification covers so much more. If we allow God, He’ll penetrate every area of our life, every second of the day. Soon, we’ll see that living for God and our process of spiritual maturity isn’t an item confined to a list—it makes up all of who we are, and it’s never-ending.

If your walk with God is more of a check-list, that’s a step in the right direction. Pray God can lead you in a transition of once-and-done to all-the-time. If you desire to seek Him with your whole heart, He’ll help you on your journey toward sanctification. Remember, He already completed the once-and-done item of giving His life for our sins. We get the privilege of living out a daily spiritual to-do list without paying the wage of death for our sin ever again.