Love what you do

Colossians 3:23 NASB

You will know that your job is your “calling” when you do what you love, and love what you do.

Philanthropist and industrialist Andrew Carnegie said: “The average person puts only 25 percent of their energy and ability into their work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50 percent, and stands on its head for those few and far-between souls who devote 100 percent.”

Thomas Edison loved work. In his latter years he established Menlo Park, the world’s first factory for making nothing but inventions. It was a forerunner to the private research laboratories now maintained by so many large companies. At Menlo Park Edison promised to turn out “a minor invention every ten days, and a big thing every six months or so.” At one point he was working on forty-seven things at once. Other inventors may have been richer, but no inventor has ever been more enthusiastic or successful.

When you believe that what you do makes a difference, you have a different feeling about what you do. When you believe your job has worth in God’s eyes, you’re no longer vulnerable to the critics or dependent upon the cheerleaders.

Paul said, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me” (Acts 20:24 NIV). One of the last prayers Jesus prayed was “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4 NIV). If you are serious about pleasing God, make that your prayer too.

Soul food: 2 Sam 20:1-22:30; John 5:1-15; Ps 15; Prov 24:7

Sharing God’s grace (1)

John 4:10 MSG

When the Samaritan woman met Jesus at the well, and He asked her for a drink of water, He also said: ‘If you knew the generosity of God and who I am, you would be asking me for a drink, and I would give you…living water.’

Jesus constantly showed mercy to the people who least deserved it. The woman didn’t have a spotless life. She had already had five husbands, and she wasn’t married to the man she was living with. In her society’s eyes, she was an outcast. But Jesus offered her grace anyway.

We should ask ourselves how we would react in that situation. Are we generous in sharing God’s grace with others, or are we sparing with it, only sharing it with those we think are ‘worthy’? What if God only offered His grace to those who He thought were ‘worthy’? Most of us would probably fall short. But God’s grace says, ‘I know everything about you, good and bad, I know all your shortcomings and sins, and I still love you.’

We can often live our lives as if we’re scared of God, and fearful that He’s going to punish us. We forget about His grace, love, and acceptance. That doesn’t mean we’ll escape His discipline, but His correction comes from a place of love and of wanting us to be the best we can be.

After Jesus had spoken to the woman at the well, she ran back to her village, saying, ‘Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did’ (John 4:29 NCV). Even though Jesus knew everything about her, He still made her feel loved and accepted. She wanted others to feel what she felt, and we should be just as enthusiastic to share God’s grace too.

Eph 4:17-6:24; John 2:12-25; Ps 89:1-14; Prov 23:10-14

How to fight – and win

1 Timothy 6:12 NKJV

Here are six proven Bible strategies for defeating the Enemy when he comes against you. (1) Think aggressively. “Fight the good fight of faith…to which you were…called.” Plan and calculate like a general preparing for battle; study how to engage and defeat your enemy the Devil. (2) Pray aggressively. We are told to approach God’s throne “boldly” (See Hebrews 4:16). Which means aggressively! Don’t be bashful with God. He’s your “Abba,” which means “Daddy.” And you’re His redeemed child, so approach Him with confidence and ask for what you need. (3) Speak fearlessly. The apostle Peter writes, “Speak as though God himself were speaking through you” (1 Peter 4:11 NLT). In other words, use a commanding, authoritative tone when you resist the forces of evil. “Be strong in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:10). (4) Give generously. The level at which you give is the level at which you receive. “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24-25 NLT). No offering is too small, and none too great. (5) Work intently. The Bible says whatever you put your hand to, do it with all your heart (See Ecclesiastes 9:10). Don’t approach your tasks with dread and a desire to escape. Stir yourself up in the Holy Spirit and get the job done (See 2 Timothy 1:6). (6) Love unconditionally. As a follower of Christ, you must endeavor to love others as He loves them – unconditionally and sacrificially.

Soul food: Song of Solomon 5-8; Luke 23:39-49; Ps 91; Prov 21:28-31

Fight to win

1 Timothy 6:12 NIV

As Christians, the devil will target us and try to steal our faith. But here are some Bible strategies for defeating him when he comes against you. 1) Think aggressively. ‘Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called.’ Be prepared for a battle with the enemy, and immerse yourself in God’s Word so you’re equipped to defeat him. 2) Pray boldly. We’re told to approach God’s throne ‘boldly’ (see Hebrews 4:16). We don’t need to be shy with God. He’s our Father and we’re His redeemed children, so we can approach Him with confidence and ask for what we need. 3) Speak fearlessly. Peter wrote, ‘Speak as though God himself were speaking through you’ (1 Peter 4:11 NLT). When we’re speaking God’s Word, we’re empowered to speak with authority, which helps us stand up to evil forces and resist them. ‘Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power’ (Ephesians 6:10 NIV). 4) Give generously. ‘Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed’ (Proverbs 11:25 NLT). Whether we give our money, our time, or share our knowledge, nothing we offer is too big or too small. 5) Work intently. We shouldn’t approach our God-given work with dread and a desire to escape. The Bible says: ‘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 form the Lord as a reward’ Colossians 3:23-24 NIV). 6) Love unconditionally. As followers of Christ, we must try to love others as He loves them – unconditionally and sacrificially.

Song of Solomon 5-8; Luke 23:39-49; Ps 91; Prov 21:28-31

Try to have realistic expectations

James 3:2 NKJV

Striving to do better is a good thing, but try to have realistic expectations. Everything in life isn’t black or white; there are gray areas and some “in-betweens.” Everything can’t be perfect all the time, and everything isn’t horrible all the time. Deciding to skip a meeting or social event because you’re running five minutes late or have a blemish on your face, or cancelling an entire trip because a flight is delayed, or feeling like a terrible human being over one innocent mistake, is sometimes referred to as “polarizing.” This leads to frustration and negativity. To maintain your joy in life, you must accept that you won’t be perfect all the time, and neither will the people or things around you. When you expect perfection from life, you tend to expect the same from other people. And that kind of unrealistic thinking not only meets with a great deal of disappointment when your expectations aren’t met, it puts unbearable pressure on the people you care about and can eventually destroy those relationships. Why not give people a break and stop demanding something from them that they have no ability to give you? The apostle James said we all stumble, fall, and offend in many things. So if we all make mistakes – and we do – learn to accept that it’s just part of the human experience, and relax! Question: In what specific ways do you need to be more accepting of the “imperfect areas” in your own life, or in the way someone else’s imperfect areas affect you? And before you answer, think about this: “Love is patient, love is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV).

Soul food: Eze 40:10-42:20; Luke 22:24-38; Ps 24; Prov 21:1-2