Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. Ephesians 5:17
Research has demonstrated that there are common attributes evident in people who are effective and successful in the workplace. These “success factors” are demonstrated by believers and nonbelievers alike. And while these characteristics on their own may be of some value, as believers we need to take into account the very clear words of Jesus when he said, “without me, you can do nothing.” A success factor may be great characteristic to have but, like everything, if not used in line with God’s direction, it may work against us.
Take Action Orientation, for example. A quick tour through the book of Proverbs will make it very evident that laziness, a refusal to take action, is a pretty sure path to failure. Most of us have observed first-hand how people of action are the ”movers and shakers” who make things happen. This bias for action is very useful and valued in the world of work; this is how people get things done and done quickly. We see this attribute demonstrated clearly by the mighty men who surrounded David on the battlefield. One mention from David that he was thirsty for water from the well of Bethlehem and those warriors were off to get him a drink from that well, which just happened to be deep behind enemy lines! (2 Samuel 23:16)
Unfortunately, it is very easy to go into the ditch with the overuse or misuse of this success factor. In other words, too much of this action orientation can produce frenetic activity without results and create chaos for others. So it isn’t just a willingness to take action that matters-– is also critically important that the actions taken be the right ones! And here is where believers have a great advantage. When we invite the Lord to direct our actions we can be assured that our energy is being spent correctly and effectively—IF, and this is a big if, we take the time to listen for His voice! As you go through the Bible looking for this attribute, you will see that it is frequently paired with God’s instruction first—“hear from heaven and act” (1 Kings 8:32 and 2 Chronicles 6:23), “act in the fear of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:9), and “act according to God’s statutes” and in His character (Deuteronomy 4:5). These are the safeguards that will keep us from acting presumptuously and foolishly.
This doesn’t mean that we will never make mistakes, because we will. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others will always agree with our actions, because they won’t. It only means that we can have confidence that the Lord is ordering our steps and that our actions are in line with His will for our lives. Remember also that God makes no promise that the actions we take will keep us from experiencing problems, trials, and challenges. In this world and in today’s workplace, we are guaranteed to encounter difficulties wherever we go. After all, these are the very experiences that will grow and mature us in our faith. So give up every expectation of living a comfortable life and join the adventure of an action-packed life led by the Spirit of God! You can act confidently, however, knowing that God is in every circumstance with you and that He always “leads in triumph.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)
How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor? You will be someone who:
- Enjoys working hard.
- Has a bias for action and is full of energy for challenging tasks.
- Is not fearful of acting even when planning time has been insufficient.
- Seizes more opportunities and accomplishes more than others.
The Secret: Listen for God’s voice. Then, claim the promise “he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:25