It’s Just Business

Some variation of “It’s just business” (like, “It’s not personal; it’s only business”) is a common refrain in the business world. For many believers, thoughts like this are a crutch to separate one’s “spiritual” life from professional life. The problem with this approach is that it’s not biblical. As far as God is concerned, there’s no wall of separation between the religious and secular realms. Indeed, God declares that He’s the God of all (Jeremiah 32:27). When you attempt to isolate any part of your life from the reach of God, then you deprive Him of the power to transform it (Romans 12:2). Tear down that wall.

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

A Clean Slate

By Linda Tancs

When you’re open to new learning or experiences, you might refer to your mind as a blank, or clean, slate. The concept goes back to ancient Rome, where a slate was used for writing, and rewriting was accomplished by warming the wax atop the slate until the words could be erased. Then you’d end up with a “clean slate.”

Scripture encourages a clean slate for your mind. One of the most popular expressions of this is Paul’s exhortation to renew your mind (Romans 12:2). This renewal is the adoption of God’s Word above man’s word, which leads to peace, understanding and discernment (Hebrews 4:12). It’s the means by which we grow in our relationship with God and meet the needs of others.

Are you ready for a clean slate?

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

 

Excuses, Excuses

By Linda Tancs

He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else—Benjamin Franklin.

When you feel called to something, how do you react? Are you reluctant, like Moses (Exodus 3:11)? Are you willing, like Abraham (Genesis 12:1-4)? Or do you feel unworthy, like Isaiah (Isaiah 6)? When you’re called according to God’s will for your life, an opportunity is a wonderful thing to pursue (Ephesians 5:15-17). So why is it so hard sometimes?

Among other things, a fear of failure often leads to procrastination or choosing the path of least resistance (or so it seems). Don’t be afraid to take risks (Proverbs 22:13). Set reasonable goals (Proverbs 20:4) and have an attitude of expectancy, a return on investment (Proverbs 23:7). In other words, cast down your wrong thinking for the kind of thinking that Scripture advocates and you’ll overcome mindsets that undermine your efforts (Romans 12:2).

A Voice of One

By Linda Tancs

John the Baptist identified himself as the voice of one crying aloud in the wilderness (John 1:23). Do you sometimes feel like a voice of one? Are you a non-conformist? John certainly was; he lived alone in the desert, adorned in camel’s hair, eating locusts and wild honey (Matthew 3:3-4).

John had the privilege—and grace—of not being seduced by majority rule or peer pressure. In our modern day it may sometimes seem easier to conform. We’re afraid to stand alone, worried about being set aside. Paul’s first-century dictate not to be conformed to this world may seem impossible, even dangerous, in today’s society (Romans 12:2). But the more we conform, the less able we are to discern and follow the righteous path, to be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2). We run the risk of following the masses in doing evil (Exodus 23:2).

As a teenage motto reminded me years ago, stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.

Are You Afraid to be Happy?

By Linda Tancs

Does happiness seem elusive to you? Do you go about daily life “waiting for the other shoe to drop”? Like Job, do you fear that something will come upon you (Job 3:25)? You’re not alone. According to a study published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, people across 14 different cultures identified with statements like “having lots of joy and fun causes bad things to happen.” Clearly, there’s a universal need to control bad thoughts. Such thoughts lead to bad words and bad, unhealthy actions. Jesus came so that we might have and enjoy life, not fear it (John 10:10).

So what are some steps you can take to control your thoughts? Second Corinthians lends imagery of taking thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5). Imagine taking bad thoughts and banishing them to a prison cell. Envision locking the cell door. Now replace each bad or negative thought with a biblical thought. Jeremiah 29:11 reminds us that God’s plans, or thoughts, are for our welfare. That doesn’t mean we never have a reason to be unhappy; rather, we should look to God to turn our trials into triumphs in due season. What can you focus on that’s pure, lovely, praiseworthy, commendable, honorable or excellent (Philippians 4:8)? Accentuate the positive, as the old song goes. Maintaining a positive focus will renew your mind (Romans 12:2) and bring God’s peace (Romans 8:6). You can’t be both peaceful and unhappy.

The Road to Transformation

By Linda Tancs

In the movie Eat Pray Love Julia Roberts’ character remarks that ruin is the road to transformation. The remark was sparked by a tour of an ancient Roman ruin, but its deeper meaning is related to failures in life as the film’s story line indicates. It’s a compelling statement, and oftentimes we do think of transformation in the context of some failure that preceded it. But why focus on failure? I prefer Thomas Edison’s famous positioning statement: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Those “10,000 ways” are success stories, don’t you think? Every time we discover a way that doesn’t work, we’re that much closer to finding a way that does work—and learning a whole lot about ourselves in the process. The point is that transformation isn’t an event, it’s a process.

That process occurs by the grace of God, one baby step at a time. By testing the waters, we discern His will (Romans 12:2). Regardless of how long the road is, He that began a work in you will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). The Bible is packed with examples of people who were utterly transformed, Jesus’s death of course being the ultimate illustration of transformative, redemptive meaning. Think, too, of the apostles, ordinary men who became great leaders and kingdom builders. And Paul, the persecutor-turned-evangelist. David evolved from shepherd boy to a king. Remember Moses, Gideon, Ruth, Habakkuk. Their minds and hearts were all renewed in God’s Word in countless ways, bringing peace, joy and strength in times of triumph and adversity.

Think about what God has taught you from your “10,000 ways.” Would you have learned as much without Him?