Find God at Work

How to Get Godly Inspiration at Work – The Daniel Principle

Read Time: 5 minutes

You’re stuck. You check a few blogs. Watch a few YouTube videos; maybe even look to see how someone else has done the job — but no good ideas come to you. The lights are off in the imagination department and you can’t finish the job.

Have you been there before? Have you ever needed to get a job done, but not known how to do the work?

Welcome to the club. That’s every man.

Have you ever needed to get a job done, but not known how to do the work?

Every guy, if he’s honest, will have a time or two when he’s run out of ways to solve a problem. I’ve had plenty. But that earlier question won’t solve our challenges on the job. Even though — you probably could find some workaround — you’re resourceful.

The better question to ask is: how should a Christian guy solve his workday problems while he’s on the job?

There are lot’s of “could’s” for this question.

You could research the problem.
You could seek out creative inspiration.
You could even read a leadership book for good measure.

I bet you’ve tried a few of these and have still run up dry some times.

Me too. But there’s a better (more practical) way.

Let’s take a cue from Daniel in the Bible to see how we can solve our own modern-day work problems when we’re stuck. Here’s his short story:

But Daniel resolved in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine. So he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself.

Now God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, but he said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age? You would endanger my head before the king!”

Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief official had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearances with those of the young men who are eating the royal food, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”

So he consented to this and tested them for ten days. And at the end of ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the young men who were eating the king’s food.

Daniel 1:8-16

Okay. So let’s talk biblical context first.

Here we find Daniel, recently enrolled in a new job, being made ready to serve in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. The Bible actually says that he was supposed to “be trained for three years” before he started his new consultation gig.

But apparently, he has credentials which you might think qualify him already. Those being:

  • Gifted in All Wisdom
  • Knowledgeable
  • Quick to Understand
  • Handsome (Not sure how that’s a skillset but cool)

None of those qualities mattered, however, when it came time to do the new work he’d been assigned.

Instead, he acts on principle. Particularly towards his relationship with God.

He could’ve relied on a strong jawline and a high IQ to prepare for the job — but instead, he chose to honor his God.

He “resolved in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine.” This resolve was linked to the fact that Ol’ Nezzy opposed God’s people and plans. (Some theologians suspect Daniel, full of insight, knew he would have to eat off stolen silverware from God’s temple of which Babylon recently invaded…)

Knowing the King’s worldly position, Daniel decided that it would be better to honor God first, and then let that inform how he would solve his work-life woes.

From that position of honor, Daniel makes a request: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given only vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearances…” he said to the King’s Chief of Staff.

His Babylonian boss relents. And the plan pays off (plus now, he has a beach body).

“And at the end of ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than all the young men who were eating the king’s food.” the Bible says.

His decision to honor God, and then make a decision from that position, allowed him to work from a place of wisdom. That little feat of his was just the beginning of the incredible work he did in Babylon.

Neat. So how does this apply to you and me?

Consider this verse from Isaiah:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8

God’s thoughts and ways are naturally (or…supernaturally) wiser, smarter, and more informed than ours ever could be.

So, when you and I don’t know what to do, we’re in a good position.

We simply need to ask God for wisdom. You could offer a simple prayer like this:

“God, I need your perspective. What do you think about this problem and how would you go about solving it? What are your thoughts and ways of approaching this task?”

He already has an answer.

Next, it’s good to remember that, with God, everything is relational. We’re made to be in a relationship. This includes our work-life. To that end, part of how you can remain worshipful on the job is by honoring that relationship through the act of bringing matters directly to him; similar to our scriptural-colleague Daniel. This is how you partner with the Lord during the workday.

Better still, God made a promise to help you and I in our jobs whenever we have need:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5

This promise should give us peace. In Christ, there are no bad questions. Neither are there questions without wise answers.

In Christ, there are no bad questions. Neither are there questions without wise answers.

Asking for wisdom, in this way, has been my go-to for years now. And God has never failed me in my petitions. If anything, it’s fun and I look forward to asking him for help. I’d rather involve him anyhow— he has some pretty slick ways of getting things done, I’ve learned.

So, to recap, here are the three principles to help you solve problems on the job:

Work From a Place of Honor

Allow your relationship with God to come into your decision-making process. Simply acknowledging he gave you the job and doing your best to love him through the work is a good start.

Remember: God’s Ways are Not Your Ways

Remind yourself that God likely has a higher perspective than yours when it comes to your tasks at work. Give glory to God in his wisdom and thank him for his sovereignty.

Ask for Wisdom Regularly

Ask God for wisdom. He’s really, truly, happy to give you fresh insight. And not only that, he’s promised to give you as much wisdom as you want. He’s generous and there’s no takesy-backsies with him.

When you do apply these “Daniel Principles,” there is not a single problem on the job you cannot solve alongside Christ’s confidence and peace. I encourage you to try them the very next time you get the chance. You’ll be pleasantly surprised out how your outcomes differ when you work this way.

Blessings!

How to Find The Fruit of The Spirit at Work

Read Time: 6 minutes

Do you speak Christianese? It’s a unique language; with a platitude for everything under the liturgical sun. In fact, there are so many of these triune-turns-of-phrase you might consider removing the hedge of protection around them, if the Lord led. But I digress. Regardless of whether you like to hedge your bets, or prefer to bet on the Lord, there is one Christian word, in particular, that I don’t like to gamble on. Fruit.

Guard your heart, brother. We’re about to go full cornucopia on Christianese.

Christians have fruit for nearly every occasion. Good fruit. Bad fruit. Spoiled fruit, if you’re slipping spiritually (Bad Apostolic Apples). But these labels don’t get us far when it comes to understanding or articulating whether or not we can see the reality of the Holy Spirit transforming us and producing Kingdom Come.

I.e. fruit.

And stumbling blocks aside, we need to get practical about how to apply scripture where it speaks to the notion of producing fruit within our lives. Consider this juicy verse in Galatians:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,”
Galatians 5:22 NIV

I love the verse. It’s clear.

How do I know whether something looks like God was involved or not? Easy. There should be evidence of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness somewhere in the mix.

But this verse is only clear on the surface. Bare with me, as I explain.

Devotion to Christ must have an output and an outcome. Scripture calls this “fruit” but it means function. After all, if you say you’ve been loving, but can’t point to the action of that love, or the effect that love had on a person, you can’t call it fruit in good conscience, can you?

Fruit is the output of anointing and the outcome of grace.

Fruit is the output of anointing and the outcome of grace. It is a combination of the Spirit allowing you to exhibit his life, while holding to the reality that no action of goodness can grow without God’s abundant will, willing it so.

So then, if your devotion to Jesus is nothing more than zeal, of passion panting after prayer, then what benefit is your relationship with Christ to the world? It’s an important question.

Think of it this way: if we say that we have the Fruit of The Spirit (and we should), there should be more than simply the spirit of our actions. There should be influence too.

How then, do we know we’re working with God, and that he is present within the labor we do during the day? This is a blog about work, after all.

Here are a few work-worthy examples:

If you say you have the fruit of love, then your capitalism will create more opportunity.

If you say you have the fruit of joy, then you’ll do your work in such a way that it provokes others to excellence and encouragement.

If you say you have the fruit of peace, you won’t panic when markets crash or customers get upset.

If you say you have the fruit of patience, then your business dealings will be long-suffering.

If you say you have the fruit of goodness, then your strategy will multiply merit.

If you say you have the fruit of self-control, then your budgets will be in the black.

If you say you have the fruit of kindness, then your customer service will be world class.

If you say you have the fruit of faithfulness, you’ll stay the course with your KPIs.

Fruit is functional. It’s produced for consumption. It brings life. It brings provision too. Ultimately, it is evidence that intimacy with God exists in a particular part of your life.

Too often, work is a part of life which gets overlooked, spiritually speaking. This vineyard bares little fruit. But ironically, the reason is often because work is so binary to begin with. Or at least we’re told it’s supposed to be that way. Get in. Get Out. Work in. Paycheck out.

But the world revolves around work. For most of us, it takes up at least a third of the day. Sometimes more.

So sadly, most of us take a task-oriented approach to work instead of a fruit-oriented one. We might work hard, but it hardly has any effect on the Kingdom. Which is a shame. But it’s not something you need to be ashamed of. The reality is most Christians don’t know how to balance their faith within the function of what they do. But the good news is, it’s actually a lot simpler then we make it.

Sound too good to be true? Here’s a simple exercise and example to help you efforts be…more…fruitful. 🥁

Start by listing out a couple of tasks or situations that need the fruit of the Spirit. Perhaps it’s a team project, a presentation which is due, or a deadline you need to meet soon. Task-wise, you likely already know what needs to be done.

So set the “measurables” aside for now.

Instead, take a moment and pray through your list and ask God for wisdom for how he would do the work. Write down what comes to your mind or what God speaks to your spirit. He will show you how to approach the work in such a way that it bares good fruit while still getting the actual work done.

I got this tactic straight from James 1:5, if you’re interested.

To wrap up, here’s a fun story of how I applied the tactic while working on a national project for a Fortune 500:

To set the scene, I was on a new team and my Managing Director was under a lot of pressure from the executive suite. Not only did they need to get a high-pressure job done, but they would also need to prove they could lead the team well too.

As a team, we’d brainstormed and planned this project well, but none of that mattered to upper management. They wanted evidence, in short order, that the team was excelling – particularly because it was such a high-profile client. To make matters worse, they didn’t want a presentation or sit-down-discussion of the details – just an instant access update of how we were performing.

“They’re flying in. They want to see something first thing in the morning.” we learned.

The news made the whole team nervous. How in the world were we supposed to prepare a presentation – especially when they didn’t want to have a normal meeting? To make matters worse, it was the afternoon when we found out about the surprise visit.

But I knew what the Bible says. God is happy to generously give wisdom to whomever will ask, and he’ll give it without any reproach at all. He loves to help out.

So I mediated on what to do.

Instantly, I was given an idea for a strategic surprise.

That evening I decided to make up a presentation that would cover an entire wall of the office. It would be overwhelming in its effect.

So after everyone left for the day, I got started on my divinely assigned project.

I spent hours, without telling anyone, creating a paper-narrative that showed the work we’d done, the ideas we had, and even a draft of deliverables for the project. The effect was unprecedented. Unable to deny.

The next day, I woke up early and got to the office a few hours before I knew anyone would be there. Armed with only stacked chairs for a ladder and large pot of coffee, I worked as quickly as possible to put everything up before my boss came in with the executive team. I almost didn’t finish in time.

But the outcome was priceless.

My boss came into the office with the executives, completely unaware of the night’s work. So when their boss saw the huge presentation for the client, they were extremely impressed, and of course, my manager was able to take credit for leading such a forward-thinking project.

The look on my boss’s face was priceless too. Later on, they told me that they could’ve cried due to the relief and joy they felt at the work that had been done. This was re-emphasized many times by happy exclamations of “I love my team!” throughout the day.

Better yet, was the long-term effect this action had on the company, my boss, the team, and my career.

We ended up getting the client for years which benefited the company. My boss was publicly esteemed by their peers, which built bilateral trust, the team’s morale went up, and I believe this action was one of the many things which led to the various promotions I received while working at that company. The fruit of love, joy, and peace was everywhere. You could point to the places where it occurred.

This is just one example of when the Lord met me in my work and fruit was produced as an outcome. Perhaps what I like most about this story the most, however, is that it yielded the kind of fruit anyone can speak to, not just the Christianese.

How to get revelation for your business and career

Read Time: 5 minutes

Who doesn’t want to do great things? Perhaps you want to build a business, have a successful career, or make a new idea come into fruition. Any one of those desires can be noble and God-honoring. 

But if you want to do great things, or bring anything worthwhile into the world, then there is a principle you will need to apply first in order to make it so. 

This principle is part spiritual, and part systematic. Part application. Part appeal.

Let’s look at reality first, though.

Most men dream, though they may never call it as such, of doing something meaningful, and even, dare I say it – intrinsically personal with their lives. 

But not for long. 

Most will pick up their dream or big idea for awhile, then get busy and lay it down. Or if they don’t abandon their pursuit completely, then they look at the lives of men who are not, perhaps, particularly spiritual, and wonder at how they can do so well in whatever it is they do. 

This observation creates a problem.

When the gap between execution and exasperation gets big enough, which is to say, the potential to succeed is less than the will to work, then good ideas or innovative businesses never become a reality. 

But make no mistake, this has nothing to do with motivation. Hard work won’t get this train to its destination.

There is a spiritual component at play.

Consider this steak and shake:

I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready,
1 Corinthians 3:2

With slight frustration, we find Paul, coming back to a people he’s already taught, about things which have previously been discussed, and ideas which should already have been implemented.

These adults need baby food. A Gerber God.

Now, on some level, one might expect a little more patience from the Apostle. Who doesn’t needs to be told truth more than once. After all, even Peter is known to have said “So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have…” (1 Peter 1:12)

But Paul’s pain has to do with the latter part of his post; the meat of the matter. These Christians he’s addressing wanted “meat,” a heftier spiritual protein; yet they were unwilling to care for – or nurture their basic spiritual awareness and understanding when he wasn’t around. We know this because of the way in which he (Paul) responds. They wanted revelation without responsibility.

So what does this have to do with business and career? Often in life, God will happily give us a dream, albeit in the form of an innovative idea, job pursuit, or business venture. In our excitement, we take that idea and make it bigger, grander, or more pronounced. We’ll expand it to a place only day-dreams dare go; and there we are content to stay with our cloud of career. Happy, blissful, unaccomplished.

We’ll stay put in this blissful ignorance until something from outside “pops” our business-minded bubble. This often looks like a competing company doing better than ours, poor personal performance, or a previous idea you had having been executed by someone else. 

At this point, most of us wonder what we did wrong. Or worse, why we can’t get more spiritual revelation in how to succeed.

To understand how we can overcome this ambition killer, let’s look first at a common business practice, and then compare it to its spiritual beatitude.

Whenever you pursue a business venture or new job role of some kind, there are two things to always consider:

  1. Market Expectation
  2. Vertical-driven Opportunity 

It doesn’t matter if you have an entry level job, a humble small business, or hold the reins of a Fortune 500, one thing remains constant: 

There is already an outside expectation set about whatever value you think you bring. And you don’t get to define this expectation. Ever. 

It’s not because you aren’t capable of better thinking than the consumer or bossman either; it’s simply reality. The reality is there are already market drivers, or at a minimum, mental models (cognitive assumptions and biases) about how your business should perform and your job should be conducted. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s the truth.

The implications, for that matter, can’t be overstated. A business will fail if it tries to move too quickly into a novel idea or innovation – without thoughtful consideration of what the market already expects from a similar product or service. Similarly, a well-meaning employee will fail at his job if he ignores the minimum responsibilities of his role in favor of his own ideas or conclusions (even if they’re good ones!). 

After all, you can’t rewrite the playbook until you know how the game is played.

You can’t rewrite the playbook until you know how the game is played.

Next, we can consider opportunity. When we think about opportunity, whether in the form of personal promotion at work, or new revenues from a niche, there has to be a prerequisite understanding of who is being served (boss, colleague, consumer) and what your opportunity might provide for them. 

Perhaps that’s not a revelation. 

But revelation is typically where we get it wrong as Christians. So let’s look at the spiritual side of this discussion.

Revelation is worthless, absolutely worthless, if personal stewardship is not first sovereign in the mind of the man who wants to do something great with his life. 

You could cook up the biggest business idea ever conceived, or worship and fast till your blue in the face, but if you’re not first stewarding the minimum expectations of your faith, and listening to the thresholds of your consumers or constituents, then your plans will never succeed – at least not in the way you dreamed it might. 

Why might you ask? Because there is nothing to graduate to. 

Revelation, whether it be in the form of business acumen or job expertise, is given to those who first steward the baseline expectations. The simple things. The minimum requirements, responsibilities, and revenues of which they’ve already been untrusted. There is nothing else to expect or graduate to without this first principle being applied.

Stewardship leads to revelation.

Consumer expectation leads to industry innovation.

This is the power of Jesus’ Parable of The Steward.

As I’m sure you’re aware, in the scriptural story, a manager gave his employees (stewards) varying amounts of income to invest while he was away. He didn’t give the amounts based on competency or character, simply his own sense of delight and delegation. 

But pay attention to the attitude of the poor steward. 

He takes the money (think opportunity), and actually considers a future with it, but when he finds himself unable to grapple with all the unknowns, he buries the potential he’s been given. 

His master is furious. 

“You could’ve at least put it in the bank!”’ He says upon his return.

In other words, “Why not do the minimum if you can’t see a path to momentum?”

Here’s the practical bit for us as men: 

You’re right. If you try and predict future outcomes, or bet on the best of your ideas, without first focusing on what the market and the manager already expects, then you will fail. You will be putting the cart before the horse. And you can’t win that way. The men that win, in life, in business, or in any other personal pursuit, are not so focused on seeking revelation that they are unwilling to steward the expectations already in place.

Maybe this sounds boring, but consider it a business-beatitude. 

If you want divine insight in business or career, then you must first ask yourself what you are willing to steward in order to receive revelation.

How to be a responsible Christian man

How to “hack” responsibility you don’t enjoy as a Christian man

Read Time: 4 minutes

“Be responsible.” is a slap-on-the-wrist-statement for most men.

It’s normally used as a rebuke for not getting the job done like someone thinks we should.

…not that you aren’t responsible.

You probably are…

But the act of responsibility, which is the obligation to do something or care for someone, is not just part of your job or work-role in life. For the Christian man, responsibly is much heavier, heavenly, and high above the simple work we do.

But let’s start with a reality check.

Most of us aren’t averse to more responsibility. We’re averse to responsibility pulling us away from the work we are passionate about.

Most of us aren’t averse to more responsibility. We’re averse to responsibility pulling us away from the work we’re passionate about.

We’re perfectly fine with a responsibility that we’re interested in.

Because it doesn’t feel “responsible.” It feels like ownership or creativity.

But we’ve all been faced with work we rather not do. And the truth is there will never be a point in life where we won’t have at least a few tasks that we don’t feel up to…well…doing.

There‘s good news, though, for anyone who’s up to the task of godly work. You can “hack” your knee-jerk reaction to new or more responsibility.

Start by meditating on this colossal, Church-of-Colossae scripture:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

Whatever you do, however you do it, and whomever you do it for, doesn’t matter. It’s all rolled up into a greater sense of reverence for the Almighty himself.

After all, so is your inheritance and reward.

So start by doing all your work as “unto the Lord,”

Not men.
Not managers.
Not any other moil of the day.

After all, God is not a taskmaster; though he is a Master of Tasks. In other words, He knows the best way for you to work alongside him.

Think of it this way: if God is your greatest passion then the responsibilities you would normally shy away from will just look like another opportunity to spend time with Abba.

In light of this, it’s best to eagerly pursue those responsibilities which you may dislike. They’re all an opportunity to have a working relationship with the Lord. Which by the way, is how your calling is discovered and purpose is fulfilled.

But granted, this mindset is easier discussed than executed; at least at first. Bolts rarely break without a wrench turn or two.

Our enemy knows this as well. And he will try and steal away this righteous thinking pattern (The Mind of Christ) from you.

He does this by attempting to make you anxious or stressed about a task, or by trying to make you forget that God already indwells you.

If he wins, responsibility will make you feel anxious.

Because you feel you’re doing it alone.

But you aren’t actually alone.

You’re in hot pursuit.

You passionately pursue the Almighty.
You passionately pursue the Kingdom.
You passionately pursue the work.

Responsibility just happens to be part of the fun.

God gave King Saul a similiar perspective when it came to his daily duty:

“Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will prophesy with them and be turned into another man. Now when these signs meet you, do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”
1 Samuel 10:6-7

Most of us have experienced a “Lord rushed” moment – a time when we were turned into another man. “Born again” as the scriptures say.

But after that, most of us are left to fend for ourselves.

We know we’re saved – no issues there, but the question lingers: what does a new man do with his new life or the responsibilities that come with it?

He could try and “be” a good Christian.

He could wear Christian things or watch Christian media.

He could even get a fish-symbol bumper sticker to make sure the world really knew he’d changed his tune.

Somehow, though, those changes don’t stick, or worse, they bring the stress mentioned earlier.

So we try harder.
Or work harder.
Or if we’re really desperate, worship harder.

We do all of this to try and stem the tide of how we feel over how we function during the day.

But the solution is not to try harder; to buck up and eat our broccoli, or try and swallow responsibility like a pill the Divine Physician might fill for us. We’ll just get sick of (or stressed in) our work.

No. The Lord is much kinder than that.

He knows that responsibility and the recognition of “Kingdom Come” are always linked together.

Which is why he gives you the same freedom in your work as he did Saul. It’s an open offer: “…do what your hand finds to do, for God is with you.

Take it or leave it as you wish.

Whether by wrench, or worksheet, or endless paperwork you cannot see the end of, the best course of action you can take is to put your hands towards something worthwhile; regardless of how you feel about the work itself.

The Lord, if you let Him, will turn you into a man who continues to look and work more like Christ. This is the benefit of sonship.

A Christian Father and Son

The Myth of Work Life Balance

Read Time: 3 minutes

Twice in the last week, I’ve been asked about work-life balance. Most recently, with a close friend over pancakes; early in the morning before either of our work days began.

“How do you balance work with the rest of your life?” he said.

The question always comes with a bit of background.

Perhaps it’s a worry that work is taking up too much time, or that it’s somehow taking place of some other more important priority. The reasons are endless. And for most well-meaning men it’s something that comes up a lot – at least eight hours a day.

But the premise is the problem. Not the question.

So we need to start with the misconception.

There is no work and then life. No distinction of duty. No segregation of cause.

Now before you call the Twitter police, let me explain.

To do that, we’ll need to zoom out. Way, way out.

Heaven’s perspective, in fact.

All of us are called, in Christ, to seek first the Kingdom.

Consider the words of Jesus:

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33

Which may seem a bit vague, but it’s a big deal.

All of “these things,” such as time management, get in line behind our pursuit of Kingdom come; which is to say, the practical things God wants to do during the day. This includes the things we give priority (Full Chapter Here).

But this can get confusing.

After all, haven’t we been taught the priority should be:

God,
then Family,
then Work?

That sure sounds good. But there’s nothing particularly biblical about this priority-pyramid. That’s not to say it’s not well meaning. No doubt, it’s meant to be. Just not scriptural.

In fact, it creates some mental roadblocks for us. For starters, it creates a mentality that if you simply do your devotions, before coffee, kids or career, then you’ve covered the priority of God in your life for the day.

But the Divine is not a devotional. Nor do we set that relationship aside once we’ve done our due-diligence of prayer.

We “prayer without ceasing” as Paul, the Thessalonian-theologian said; involving the Almighty in all aspects of the day.

So let’s take off the top of the pyramid. Weave it through the day instead.

Next, we have the family. Who can argue with family?

Here again, we have a priority that, on the surface, looks good but shows that we have a more fundamental issue that needs to be solved.

In isolation, it communicates to our kids and spouse that there is a divide between community and career. But there shouldn’t be…

Growing up, I was always happy that my Dad didn’t wait for “Take Your Kid to School Day” to involve me in his life. He had me working on the car when I was barely twice as tall as the wrench he handed me. He also insisted on me helping out around the shop occasionally too. This didn’t just teach me work ethic, it showed me there wasn’t “work time” and “son time.” Simply life, and the time within it.

Now it may not be practical to bring family members to work, but you do well by everyone when you go beyond “Sorry, this is my job. The way life is.” No need to apologize. Pull family into your function, and function into your faith.

This is true of life’s emergencies too.

I had a mentor, many years ago, who was the owner of a successful surgical practice. He was a man of faith, well known in his community and he had a wonderful family too. He told me something very insightful about being successful in all camps.

“Pierce,” he said.

“Whatever deserves your time is your priority.” speaking of at-risk situations.

“If I have an emergency at work, and I don’t take care of it, it does affect my family. If I simply said family over everything, and then didn’t take care of what kept a roof over their heads, then I am not caring for my family.”

Of course, this mindset requires discernment. You can’t use a job to isolate or escape. But the principle is true.

Life is a matter of stewardship. Not segregation.

Life is a matter of stewardship. Not segregation.

In all things, we should strive to conform our priorities into something that models Christlikeness and Kingdom come. When we move away from segregation and into stewardship, we start to see that the Lord is in all and through all. This, in turn, allows us to think and pray about things holistically, and not simply as tiers of responsibility.

The result is less guilt, and more God, during the day.

Anointed Man

How to get practical, nine-to-five anointing

Read Time: 4 minutes

Anointing is a big word. A black hole even. It’s elusive, powerful, and hard to put your finger on. But it exists. And everyone else seems to know what it looks like.

Most of the time those people are on stages. They sound good. They look sharp. They’re separated from the common man too. Which makes “it” seem even harder to nail down. But the truth is, anointing is useful, practical and needed to do your daily work effectively.

So what is anointing? And what effect, if any, does it have on a Christian man during the day?

Let’s start with the origin.

Anointing was first and foremost, used by shepherds to protect their sheep. Similar to Jesus with you.

Historically, the shepherd would pour olive oil over a sheep’s head and around their ears. This protected the animal from bugs and outside elements that could harm – or even kill it. So it was protection and provision; provided by the sheep’s master. An outcome of association.

Fast forward, and many ancient cultures would use anointing as a way of saying that a leader was set apart for a particular type of work. A king would be anointed with oil on his head. A priest might be as well. It was a sign that God was with a person for doing a holy task.

So anointing is both a sign and a signature. A mark of acceptance as well as a unique event. It is designed to support a leader and the things he needs to do.

Enter Christ.

“The Anointed One.” in literal translation.

He is a person – not a magic potion.

Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

You are already anointed, as it stands, but it is an outcome, or a foundation rather, of the presence of Jesus in your life.

This presence has a unique effect on your life – if you abide in it.

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit–just as it has taught you, remain in him.
1 John 2:27

Anointing signifies calling. It’s a pretty simple litmus test. Ask yourself: Would you believe someone is “called” if nothing set them apart? Doubtful.

Which is why you’ve been given a deposit.

First Christ sets you apart. Then capability.

They’re linked; joined at the triune hip.

So your growth then, within the work you do during the day, is a matter of priorities.

Not putting the cart making before the horse maker, so to speak.

This priority is for a good reason.

“…as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real…” scripture says.

His anointing will give you what you need to both remain in him and deliver the work you do during the day.

Take Bezalel, for example. This guy had talent for days.

The Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft. And behold, I have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. And I have given to all able men ability, that they may make all that I have commanded you…”
Exodus 31:1-6

Ol’ Bezzy was filled with the spirit. For what? Not songs on Sunday morning. Not Bible Study on Wednesday. Not even a mission trip to Beliz.

He was given intelligence, and knowledge for craftsmanship (widdling included? Some questions only Jesus knows…).

These practical and creative assets were a gift. Given to him for the purpose of giving glory to God through every kind of hands-on work you can imagine. How cool?

So to recap…

You, yes you, are already anointed because you abide in Christ, and because he has his “seal of ownership” on you. That’s good news. From here, you only have to worry about your own conformity getting in the way.

Conformity kills anointing.

Simply because docility exalts another God. When you react to the day, instead of resurrecting it, work ends up worshiping the wrong God. So conform to Christ. He holds the task at hand.

The best way to get out of the habit of doing reactive work is by asking the Lord for wisdom. His anointing will teach you about all things.

Check.

Although to be fair, the context of 1 John 2:27’s verse could be understood as only what it means to live out a transformed life. No problem, that’s also true.

There is an additional promise which you can take ahold of since you are, in fact, “sealed.” as the Bible says.

If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them.
James 1:5

If you need to be equipped to do more, see more, or be more (insert thing) God will generously give you what you need to accomplish the work. He is for you, after all.

So the difference then, between you and the guy on the TV, is likely very simple. He is in the habit of asking.​

A Leadership Principle From King Jehoshaphat

Read Time: 4 minutes

Kings and careers and leaders and jobs are all appointed. Every role at work is a gift from God as well. Which means, when a situation at work arises that feels foreign, stressful, or threatening, we do not have to worry. There is a good outcome waiting for us. There is an invitation to experience the Almighty too. This was certainly true in the life of King Jehoshaphat.

Jehoshaphat (Yehoshafat in Hebrew. Pronounced yo-so-fat….awkward), was one of Israel’s greatest leaders, reigning from 873 – 848 BC. He was king under a divided monarchy and constantly had to balance his leadership role with the pressures of outside influence. His work began at the ripe old age of 35.

His legacy of leadership, is perhaps most notable, when he, and the rest of Judah, are about to be put under siege. Long story short, an entire alliance of foreign nations had plotted against him. The plan was to conquer Judah in all-out war. If we haven’t all been there before…

There are a few things a smart-and-savvy king might do with this information.

He might increase military spending.

He might try and out-strategize the opponent.

He might draft a larger army, to have more people on his side.

Jehoshaphat did none of these things.

Instead, he worships.

Directly in conflict, in the valley of the battle – where anyone else would be mentally preparing to fight. He worships. The cojones on this guy…

…you know the rest of the story.

These rogue nations, on the way to take him out, disagree and destroy each other instead. They didn’t even “run it by the board members.” They march to their own demise instead, killing each other along the way.

In the aftermath, Jehoshaphat is left with only one job.

He has to pick up the plunder.

A far cry from what the nation had expected earlier that day.

After this “battle,” the valley is also given a new name. The Valley of Beracah. Which translates to: the valley of blessing.

Incredible.

The battlefield had become a blessing. The hindrance was now holy.

In Christ, there is a blessing in the valley. A means in a meaningless situation.

In Christ, there is a blessing in the valley. A means in a meaningless situation. In this account, the benefit nearly overwhelmed the soldiers. After the battle, It took three days for Judah’s army to pick up the “equipment, clothing, and items of value” that were left over. Which is important. The ground of war was covered in the gratitude of worship.

Now, remember, this whole thing started with leadership. Humility in the heat of battle. Jehoshaphat’s original prayer was “…we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” How familiar that prayer sounds. Many of us do not know what to do either when we’re backed into a corner.

There is good news though.

God does not need your equipment, clothes, or valuable talent – the things that you might think would accomplish a good outcome. When He steps into a situation, be it an office argument, a delayed project, or some stressful work environment, He will provide the practical means to move forward. He’ll fill your valley. You may not even want to leave.

So then, there is a principle for all of us. Leaders know their marching orders. They understand that their position, whether high or low, is a matter of inheritance. There are no kings which the Lord does not appoint, after all.

This is true for your job and the role within it as well. Whether you think that you are well equipped, or have no idea what to do, the posture, for you, remains the same.

Worship is the tip of the spear. It’s what you lead with. It’s how you face the work and obstacles ahead of you. Jehoshaphat knew this too. Consider his sergeant-level-strategy, right before battle:

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
2 Chronicles 20:21

Why did he praise the Lord for love? Why not strength, authority, or power?

One reason.

The Lord’s love is practical.

It has a goal in mind.

Love is the best weapon of war there is. Every battle can be won by it. Every situation will conform to it. It’s your best bet when you do not know what to do. But you’ll have a hard time recognizing it if you aren’t already worshiping him.

Consider this truth in the context of Psalms:

“He gives his king great victories; he shows unfailing love to his anointed, to David and to his descendants forever.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭18:50‬ 

“He gives his king.” Note the “his king” part. Why is this important? Roles, especially leadership roles, belong to God. Your role, in Christ, is anointed. It belongs to him. Which means, the Lord will look after you. He will give you great victories during the day. You’ll be left with nothing to do – except pick up the plunder of his provision. A very good place to be.

By the by, that phrase translates the same whether you read this translation, this translation, or…even…this translation.

So next time, when you do not know what to do, or you feel the world (or even just the nine-to-five) is against you, use worship as your primary tool to overcome conflict. It sets your sights on the right authority and reminds you that your position is inherited. You might be surprised by how situations change as they react to the Lord’s love.

The Theology of Thought Leadership

Read Time: 2 minutes

There are many types of thought leaders in the world.

…Oprah

…Deepak Chopra

…the guy at the gym who just discovered plant-based protein.

Just to name a few.

And no matter your knowledge niche, there is always someone ready to give you their two cents, regardless of whether it pays to heed it.

Which leaves us with a question: In all of the noise, how do you sift out the good advice from the bad?

For leaders, this is an especially important question. Namely because whatever we consume, we clone in others.

Hebrews, the Bible’s big book on faith, gets us started. The crux of the principle we’ll look at is in verse twenty-four:

and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
Hebrews 12:24

It’s a bit of an odd verse. But here’s the meat (without the Matt Redman):

Two men died.

And both in a similiar way.

Violently. Unjustly.

The difference, however, between these two men, was in their nature.

Abel’s death, as tragic as it was, could only speak to humanity’s fallen nature. There was nothing redeemable about him dying. It was evidence of eternity without God. But that’s about it.

Christ’s death, on the other hand, proclaimed the power of God. His blood (Jesus’), had better things to say about life (spoiler alert).

His blood backed him up. It gave His words weight.

Once, before his crucifixion, Jesus had this to say about it:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
John 10:10

Up until His resurrection, people had to take this kind of statement on faith. It was an extension of experiencing Him in the streets and synagogues. After the grave, however, His blood spoke a better word.

In other words, His resurrection had rhetoric. Because He spoke to what He knew.

This is important. People speak to what they know.

A person may be a bright speaker, and educated on many things, but if they don’t have or know the nature of Christ, they can only speak from a human hope. Nothing else.

You cannot speak to that which you do not know. You cannot guide where you have not gone.

In life, there will be many thought leaders, videos, and podcasts…a plethora of all kinds of content available for you to consume. Many of which are worldy, wise and well-meaning. But if their nature is that of a dead man, be prudent. They may be an expert on every kind of “dead work” under the sun…their advice will not benefit a man in the land of the living.

There is a better word. But you can work on yours here.

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Four Steps - Christian Integrity for Men

Nonnegotiable ~ The 4 Daily Principles Every Man Needs To Be Successful

Read Time: 4 minutes

Integrity is a target. Our principles, the arrows.

Integrity tends to be one of those things we think about after we’ve done something wrong. The absence of air. We know we need it. And we know great leaders have it. But for most of us, integrity is in the ether.

In Church, we’ve limited it to lying, timeliness and being responsible.

As an example, If a guy returns a library book before it’s past due while going the speed limit on the highway and also listens to Bethel Worship (radio version), we’d say he has integrity. If he goes 75 in a 65, well…we have issues.

Which isn’t wrong, per say, but there is a better question to ask. Our beliefs shape our behaviors, after all.

In order to shape our behavior, we can ask ourselves:

What principles govern my behavior?

It’s an important question because it’s different for every guy.

When you know which behaviors behoove your success, you’re more likely to stick to them where you’re at a crossroads. It also means your name will carry value. Because it’s backed by something concrete.

Proverbs says it like this:

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
Proverbs 29:18

When you have a set of standards, you are, in reality, creating a vision for your future. You are also, by definition, saying no to any alternate realities that present themselves for your approval.

So, are you living in reality? If so, which one?

Every man needs non-negotiables; A set of standards that he will not move on.

I call these standards “Tenants”. They change with my season in life and they keep me centered throughout the day.

Here are the ones I have now:

Here’s how it works. There are four parts:

1. My Daily Question
2. My Tenants
3. My Truth
4. My Verses

Decisions of character, should always be made in advance.

Together, they keep my decisions centered throughout the day. And in effect, my name has value because of the things I value.

First, I have a daily question. Right now, I want to know whether I’m practicing righteousness.

Righteousness is a weird word.

You either think of the 80s or the Old Testament. So I did a study and saw that it’s both a position of my relationship in Christ, and an aspect of Christlikeness that I should practice. So, I’m working on it. The question was different a few months back, when I was aiming for maturity in a different topic.

If I have an opportunity to go against the standard I’ve set for myself, the question comes up quickly in my mind and reinforces my behavior. I ask myself the question nearly every day.

Next are My Tenants. Right now I have three. I could have more – if I have a specific goal, for instance. But I like to keep it lean.

I’ll speak to the last one, “I want to be a faithful husband.”

My wife and I recently bought a new car. I’d been in need of a new one for awhile and it was a long-anticipated purchase. So I was starry-eyed about the different options I had available to me.

At the dealership, we picked a car and sat down for financing.

When they presented the monthly payment, it was fair, but $75 dollars higher than we’d decided on earlier. In reality, we could’ve afforded a car payment that was twice as expensive. But as a team, we decide where our money is best spent. So I said “No” to their terms and explained to the dealer what our priorities were.

He pushed. I stayed non-negotiable.

He asked if I could meet in the middle. I said no.

And they met my terms. Which was great. What made me the happiest though, was that I stuck to my tenant “I want to be a faithful husband.”

In a different reality, I could’ve left her out of the decision – or justified the purchase because “I earned it” or any other selfish ideal. But she and I are one now. We make decisions together and I’m better for it. Having that tenant in my head meant that I felt no pressure from the sales guy in that moment.

My word to myself, is my bond.

Last, I have “My Truth.” And no, I don’t mean some absence of the absolute.
My Truth is a point of personal integrity. A fact that is true of me.

In this case, it’s:

“I am a man, who if on a stage, has no hidden sin habit.”

This is something I’m personally sensitive to. I enjoy public speaking and I want to do more of it. I’ve also known a few men that have fallen hard because they had a public platform and private pain-point. Eventually, the two collided. To support me, I have a friend that calls me regularly to ask how things are. I think of it as an oil change. Regularly maintenance (accountability) keep the engine running well and issue free.

I also have a verse or two that support my tenants. They glue my goals and God together. You don’t necessarily need one of these, but I think scripture is wonderfully practical.

Tenants are a powerful way of deciding what kind of man you want to be. They help you lead yourself. They also make decisions easy when you’re presented with a reality that is an alternative to what you’ve already said is most important to you. Consider making a list today of your own tenants. You’ll be happy you did.

what is christian masculinity?

Christian Masculinity and David’s Mighty Men

Read Time: 4 minutes

Masculinity is the possession of qualities traditionally associated with men. Which begs the question, what qualities should a Christian man consider?

I remember the first time I read about David’s mighty men. One killed a lion with his bare hands; in a pit, in the snow. Another killed a giant. Another killed 800 men with one spear. Another fought so hard, his sword became glued to his hand.

Regular guys. Typical nine-to-five stuff.

Out of the 30-plus mighty men that King David did employ, the Bible never mentioned an accountant or architect. Not even a middle-manager. Although Abishai, his commander, may have come close.
Some answers…..only Jesus knows.

As fun as these stories are, scripture makes the actions of these men seem kind of commonplace. Sure, it mentions the men are “mighty” but when everyone is slaying giants and lions and bears, Oh my! (JK… no bears), it can set the bar pretty high for anyone who is trying to understand what biblical, and dare I say “Christian” masculinity should look like.

It also doesn’t help that every other definition tends to come from advertising. So, we have our options to look up to: Advertising, advent calendars or “Other.” Check.

For my part, I’d like to propose one trait that makes a man genuinely masculine. It starts in Solomon’s book of Proverbs. Chapter 22.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.
Proverbs 22:1

A good name.

If you could afford it, it couldn’t be bought.

Your reputation cannot be purchased. It is earned with every “next” action. This is good news. You don’t have to have an excellent name to start working towards one. Each step you take towards integrity is a step in the right direction.

Jesus expands on this idea, by telling us where to start:

“Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Matthew 5:33-37

 

James, Jesus’ earthly brother, seconded his sovereign bro:

 

Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple “Yes” or “No.” Otherwise you will be condemned.

James 5:12

 

“Anything more than this comes from evil.” Wow.

That’s heavy stuff.

Let’s start with the “Yes.”

More specifically, what you say “Yes” to. Your reputation and the integrity it’s known for is a string of yes’s on which you’ve followed through. The opposite is also true. Every time you refrain your “yes,” you make a statement about what you’ve said yes to as well. Confused yet?

The best way to keep your word is to know what it stands for. Ahead of time.

So, here’s a question:

Do you know where you stand on hard issues? Do you know what you’d do if you were alone in the room?

Do you even know if you’ll go to that party next Thursday?

Yes or no.

Life is full of follow-through.

The decisions we make, make us; so we owe it to ourselves to be self-aware of our choices. Fun fact: putting off a decision is still a decision by omission.

So here’s a good principal you can follow. You can call it a barometer of masculinity (or don’t).

Your knee-jerk responses should be pre-meditated. Made on your knees.

Put another way:

If prayer makes the person, meditation makes the man.
(No, not yoga. ……but no judgment. Nameste, bro.)

Prayer and meditation on the Word are how we understand our position to Christ, and in direct correlation, our position(s) towards other people. It’s how our go-to-responses are made. So we study to “show ourselves approved” as Timothy says. If you know someone that has a reputation for good decisions you can guarantee they’ve spent time pre-mediating those choices. More than likely, they’ve studied scripture too.

Other than knowing where you stand on issues, there are other benefits as well.

When a name has a reputation, it also has influence. In my opinion, it’s the only way to gain influence in the long run. But many men would try other ways…the world is full of guys that lift weights till the cows come home, who try and manipulate women or earn more at any cost. Men who lie to get what they want. Men that…you get the picture.

Guys who are true to themselves, but not true to their word.

So let’s be clear, getting what you want in life does not earn you a Man Card. And if you’re religious, there is no credit score for Christendom either. “For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” a wise Rabbi once said.

You could have everything, and have nothing to lean on. Which, by the way, is what happens when we don’t have a reputation for keeping our word.

You could be the poorest man on the planet, but if people count on you, you'd have more influence than most. Click to Tweet

So let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No,” be “No.”
And know what your “No” stands for.

It’s how mighty men are made.

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