God is not impressed by what you do for a living. And you should not be either. But what does matter to God is how you do what you do. God wants you to work from the heart.
Here’s what Colossians 3:22-25 (MSG) says:
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
God wants you to work hard at whatever you do. He wants you to do your best. And He wants you to work from the heart.
Here are three things you should keep in mind as you do your work.
On Saturdays this summer I have been trying to get rid of milk thistles in our yard. If you have ever had to deal with thistles, you will understand exactly why I hate thistles so much. If you’ve never dealt with thistles, then you will probably think I’m a little off for having such a visceral hatred of these plants. At the risk of sounding extreme, my thistle battle is a metaphor for the spiritual battle that everyone faces.
Scripture employs thistles as a symbol of the effects of sin in our lives. In Genesis 3, as a result of the Fall, God tells Adam and Eve that the ground will be cursed and thorns and thistles will grow as a result (Genesis 3:18).
I see five similarities between my thistle battle and the spiritual fight that every person has to deal with in their lives.
You probably have heard or seen (or experienced) when legal contracts don’t go as expected. It seems like one party is always letting another party down in the promises they make. Perhaps you have been let down by someone else in a contract—or in a promise.
Unlike human contracts, God’s promises aren’t violated. God’s promises are always kept. But He requires our active participation in fulfilling His promises.
In Psalm 37, David lists five promises from God. God says that He will do something—if you do something first. Here’s what God asks of you, and what you can expect in return.
There have been times I have allowed work to get me down. I can remember many times when I just didn’t want to have to go to work because of what I had to deal with at the office. When the trials from work weighed heavy upon me, those were the times that I needed to take charge of my attitude—but those were also the hardest times to take charge of my attitude.
Chuck Swindoll, the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and the voice for the Insight for Living broadcast, said this about attitude: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”
What’s your attitude like at work? Are you going through trials at work? Here are three things to keep in mind to help you take charge of your attitude.
The Scripture says that you should cultivate joy every day as a result of your relationship with God. But what does that look like? And why is it so important?
To rejoice means to be cheerful or calmly happy, according to Strong’s Concordance, particularly in reference to your relationship with God. It means always having a peaceful delight in your soul. It doesn’t necessarily mean jumping up and down over something. Instead, it’s about having peaceful delight—in the midst of whatever is happening to you at the moment.
Having that perspective is not easy to do—and it’s impossible if you’re trying to do it without God. But it is nonetheless important to cultivate that perspective all the time.
Here are three reasons you need to have joy in your everyday life.
In 1 Samuel 30, David and his crew came back to his home base at Ziklag, only to find that the Amalekites burned the city with fire, stole their goods, and took all their families captive. David’s men were inconsolable, and David was greatly concerned when his men talked about stoning him. But he worked to encourage himself in the Lord his God.
There will be times that you will need to do the same thing as David: you will need to encourage yourself in the Lord. But what exactly does that mean? And how do you do it?
Different translations say it in different ways.
ESV: “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
NIV: “David found strength in the Lord his God.”
MSG: “David strengthened himself with trust in his God.”
But regardless of what the phrase means, these translations don’t help you understand how to do it. Using Psalm 13 as a model, here is a three-step process you can use to encourage yourself in the Lord.
Be conscious of the negative self-talk you say to yourself because your mind will think you mean it. When you say negative things to yourself, you are contradicting things God has already said about you—because God has a positive answer for all the negative self-talk you say to yourself.
Don’t believe everything you think. Make sure there is a filter between the negative things you think about yourself and what you say about yourself. While ideas have consequences, words have power.
I came across these 15 positive affirmations in an old notebook. I hope you find them helpful to combat your negative self-talk.
When I was a young man, I had a very selfish and self-centered paradigm. I believed the world revolved around me. Eventually, that paradigm broke down for me. It left me feeling empty and lonely, and I realized there had to be another way. Knowing that my paradigm wasn’t working, I was willing to explore Christianity. In reading the Bible, I saw that Jesus’ teachings were antithetical to my way of doing things, but I also saw how it would provide the peace that I didn’t have. As a result, I was willing to be indoctrinated into a way of thinking that went against my current belief system. I was willing to make a paradigm shift. I was willing to be brainwashed by myself.
Brainwashing is usually defined as a process of indoctrinating someone into a way of thinking that goes against their current belief system. Brainwashing is reprehensible practice—unless the person getting brainwashed is also the person doing the brainwashing. In that case, people can choose to indoctrinate themselves into a new way of thinking because they realize that their current belief system is not working for them. They realize it is important for them to actively remove that old way of thinking that is not working and replace it with something else that will work. They need to make a paradigm shift.
People view the world through a paradigm. It’s how they make sense of the world. There are times that people may realize that their paradigm is not helping them and they need to make a change in how they think.
Perhaps you’re at a point where the way you’re doing things isn’t working for you. Perhaps it’s your paradigm about God, or about yourself, or about others. Perhaps you’ve been believing things that haven’t been helpful for you. As a result, you may see it’s time that you brainwashed yourself.
You may have been a follower of Jesus for a long time, but you may find your paradigm isn’t working for you. You may realize your views about God, your views about yourself, or your views about others need to change.
If that’s where you are, then I invite you to explore how you can get brainwashed by yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself and some practical steps to take for changing how you think.
Have you ever been in a meeting with these kinds of people? On one side of the table you have the guy who exudes optimism. He gushes about how the team can achieve what you have never been able to do before. You want to believe him, until the guy on the other side of the table speaks. The other guy says how it’s not possible to do what the first guy says and gives a laundry list of reasons. He brings everyone back to reality based on his cold, hard facts. But what if you could use both of their thinking to your advantage? What if you combined their thinking into what seemed like a paradox? What if you looked at the situation with grounded realism, but you also believed in your ability to succeed anyway? That combination of cold, hard facts with blue-sky optimism can make any venture get off the ground.
Here are three steps you can take to put this paradox of a governing philosophy into practice in your life or in your work.
When I first entered the workforce, I wanted to be credentialed. I wanted someone to affirm that I knew what I was doing. I was looking for someone else to say that I was qualified to do what I was doing. In effect, I was requesting permission to succeed.
But truly successful people don’t ask for permission to succeed. They just go out and get it done.
To become successful, it’s important to do these three things—in this order—without asking for permission first.