1 Samuel 12:21 NKJV
In order to succeed in what God has called you to do in life, you must recognize your gift and know your goal. When you’re clear about and committed to these two things, you need to demonstrate two qualities: discipline and determination. Fritz Kreisler, one of the greatest violinists of all time, had them. Crowds packed Carnegie Hall in New York to hear him. But the road to success was a bumpy ride. As a boy he wanted to do nothing more than play the violin, so his parents paid for him to have music lessons. But he didn’t make as much progress as they hoped, and after a few years he quit the lessons. Over the next several years, through college and early adulthood, he studied medicine but failed to complete medical school. He joined the army and failed to be promoted. He tried and quit many other pursuits. Realizing that the one piece of success he had enjoyed in life related to the violin, he went back to his instructor and said, “I want to play.” She said, “Fine, I’ll take you back as a student, but only if you acquire the irreplaceable quality that is necessary for you to become a great violinist. You must exhibit undefeatable determination.” So once again, here are your steps to success: (1) Recognize your gift. (2) Know your goal. (3) Dedicate yourself to the process no matter how long it takes. (4) Trust God to bless your efforts.
Soul food: 1 Kings 10-11; Mark 8:27-38; Ps 45; Prov 12:7-9
Romans 12:19 NKJV
Vengeance is God’s job, not yours. He will repay – whether on the Day of Judgment or in this life. He can discipline your abusive boss, soften your angry parent, bring your ex to his knees or her senses. Forgiveness doesn’t diminish justice; it entrusts it to God. He guarantees the right amount of retribution. We give too much or too little, but He has the precise prescription. And unlike us, He never gives up on a person. (And you should be glad about that). Long after we have moved on, God is still there probing the conscience, stirring conviction, orchestrating redemption. Fix your enemies? That’s God’s job. Forgive your enemies? Ah, that’s where you come in. “Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to…God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord. Instead…’If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.’ Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good” (vv. 17-21 NLT). Author Max Lucado says: “Revenge builds a lonely, narrow house. Space enough for one person. The lives of its tenants are reduced to one goal: Make someone miserable. They do – themselves. No wonder God insists we ‘Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent’ (Hebrews 12:15 TM).”
Soul food: Job 40-42; Luke 19:37-44; Ps 69:1-18; Prov 8:27-29
Romans 12:19 NIV
When someone hurts us, we often naturally want revenge. We want them to feel the pain that they have caused us. But revenge is not God’s way. God’s way is forgiveness. That doesn’t mean that justice doesn’t happen. God is the ultimate judge. It is up to Him to bring justice. He says: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’. That might be on Judgment Day or in this life. But He calls us to forgive others. We’re told to ‘Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honourable. Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to…God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. Instead…”If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good’ (vv.17-21 NLT). Forgiving someone doesn’t mean they avoid justice; it means we’re trusting God to deal out justice. And He never gives up on a person. Even after we’ve moved on, God’s still there pricking the person’s conscience, stirring conviction in their heart, and orchestrating redemption and change in their life. The Bible says: ‘Do not be bitter or angry or mad. Never shout angrily or say things to hurt others. Never do anything evil. Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ’ (Ephesians 4:31-32 NCV). So let’s try and be people who forgive those who have hurt us, and leave the justice to God.
Job 40-42; Luke 19:37-44; Ps 69:1-18; Prov 8:27-29
Matthew 16:24 NIV
Surrender doesn’t mean being passive and just letting things happen to us. God’s will for our lives involves being creative, making choices, and taking initiative. It doesn’t mean that we stop using our mind, stop asking questions, or stop thinking critically. Surrender means that we acknowledge that God’s purposes and reasons are wiser and better than our desires. Jesus doesn’t come to rearrange the outside of our lives the way we want; He comes to rearrange the inside of our lives the way God wants. In surrender, we let go of our life. We recognise that we’re no longer the centre of everything, and instead we believe that God is. In surrender we become obedient to Him, we do what He says. Jesus was very clear about this when He said: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’ Following Jesus means we have to put Him first. We have to stop thinking about ourselves, and think about Him. This may sound extreme, but it’s not detrimental to us. We’re not surrendering to a harsh, demanding God. We’re surrendering to a loving Father Who wants the best for us. The Bible says: ‘Depend on the LORD; trust him, and he will take care of you. Then your goodness will shine like the sun, and your fairness like the noonday sun’ (Psalm 37:5-6 NCV). He promises to take care of us. We can surrender to Him, depend on Him, and trust Him. Surrendering to God is the best thing that we can do.
Job 15-17; Luke 17:20-37; Ps 19; Prov 8:6-7
1 Corinthians 3:9 NIV
The biggest plus factor you can have on your job is the God factor. Paul writes, “We are labourers together with God.” Consider these three powerful words: “together with God.” A surgeon in a large city hospital had a habit of insisting on a few minutes alone before he performed an operation. He had an outstanding reputation, and one of the young doctors who worked with him wondered if there might be a correlation between this habit of spending time alone and the man’s success. He asked the surgeon about it and he answered, “Yes. Before each operation I ask the Great Physician to guide my hands in their work. There have been times when I didn’t know what to do next in a surgery, and then came the power to go on – power I knew came from God. I would not think of performing an operation without asking His help.” The surgeon’s words quickly spread through the hospital, then across the country. One day a father brought his daughter to the hospital, insisting that the only doctor he would allow to touch her was “the one who worked with God.” The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV). Note, it doesn’t say don’t “use” your understanding – it says don’t “lean” on it. Instead, lean on God. “Acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your steps.” If you want success on the job, this is a proven formula for achieving it.
Soul food: Exo 28-29; Luke 14:1-14; Ps 106:1-23; Prov 7:1-2