For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10
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. So, let’s consider what it might be like to work from the heart of God…
Take Self-Knowledge, for example. Have you ever heard someone say “I’m my own worst enemy?” Well, I have. I have had things go wrong. I’ve made dumb decisions that cost me a lot and hurt others too, unfortunately. Who hasn’t, at one time or another, felt like the decisions he or she made brought negative consequences into their life?
Well, I was wrong to believe that I am my own enemy. No matter how many dumb things I’ve done, no matter what the consequences may have been, I am not the enemy. Believers only have one enemy. He’s called Satan, “the accuser of the brethren.” The Bible also calls him “The Father of Lies.” So, let’s be clear—the one who accuses you of being your own enemy is lying. You have done nothing that the blood of Jesus has not covered and washed away.
Many Christians are still laboring under the false impression that, “God is angry with me and is punishing me for the things I’ve done.” Or “God is using this time of trouble to test me, and to test my faith.” A preacher that I listen to said recently, “If you’re wondering what God is really like, look at Jesus.” Jesus himself said “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” And there was no time when Jesus tempted anyone as a test, or put anyone to a “faith trial,” or punished someone for their bad actions.
Clearly Jesus was saddened by the actions of some, provoked to straighten things out (like He did when he “encouraged” the moneylenders to take their business outside the temple) and even cried over Jerusalem. But Jesus never acted out of spite, or tried to provoke fear in anyone. All Jesus ever said to those who sincerely came to Him for help and answers were words of encouragement, peace and reconciliation.
The enemy, on the other hand, is a coward, like most bullies. Rather than come out into the open so you can see who he is and what he’s doing, he’ll hide and take shots at you. He’ll try to make you think that person you work with, or work for, is your enemy… that they’re out to get you, and you have to defend yourself before they bring you down. The devil is such a coward that he’ll even try to make you think YOU’RE YOUR OWN ENEMY. He wants you to think that in the battle of life, you don’t have any hope and you might as well give up.
Let’s say you’re living with the consequences of something you once did. Do you know that God has already forgiven you for that sin or hurtful action? He has not only forgiven you, but He has chosen not to remember it? With Jesus Christ as your savior, you’re forgiven and clean, as far as God is concerned. It’s gone. Never happened, as far as God is concerned. That was the point of Jesus going to the cross… your records have been expunged.
Are you still hanging onto the past sins and failures of your life? Or, are you staking your life on God’s love, favor and grace, and Jesus’ payment for the sins of the world? The enemy’s voice is loud and shrill and hard to ignore. The “still small voice” of our Lord speaks always in love, and never in condemnation or accusation. It’s up to you to choose which voice you will attend to.
There’s a great saying that goes “The enemy knows your name and calls you by your sin. God knows your sin no more, and calls you by your name.” Let that sit on your heart awhile.
How will you know if you are demonstrating this success factor?
You will be someone who:
- Knows your identity in Christ-understanding your personal strengths and limits
- Seeks feedback from God and is open to correction
- Gains insights from mistakes and view everything as a learning process
- Isn’t defensive and is receptive to talking about shortcomings
- Seeks to use gifts and talents to bring a blessing to others.
The Secret: Remember this truth… Only God knows your real name and your true identity. He wants you to see yourself as He sees you and to move towards your destiny in Christ. There is important Kingdom work with your name on it too. You alone are equipped to do what God has planned for you. Don’t get sidetracked or derailed by the Father of Lies. Find out who you really are and make a difference, for Jesus’ sake! Claim this promise: “But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9