We expect to be successful when we start a new business. A married couple expects their new business to help bring them the things they dream about for themselves and their growing family. We expect financial freedom, the ability to go on vacation whenever we want, eat wherever and whenever we want, buy our dream house, and much more. We work hard to be successful in our businesses. After all, if you didn’t expect to be successful then why start a business. We do research, improve ourselves, and pray to God for direction, most likely I that order. In short, we operate in accordance with the world system and consider God as an afterthought or a peripheral. This also means that we typically put our trust in ourselves and others for success instead of God. We say we trust God, but all of our actions indicate that the confidence we do exhibit is somewhere else.
The thing is that many people become successful by depending on themselves. I could hardly say that every successful person has put their trust in God and subsequently achieved the success they expected. Trusting in self does seem to pay off. Operating in accordance with the normal worldly ways seem to be sufficient, i.e., it works! Time after time and situation after the situation we gradually learn to put trust more and more in self and others, i.e., the world system. What would happen if we trusted God first?
Where Does Trust Abide?
Jesus said to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of our needs will be met (Matthew 6:33). There is a plethora of scripture that encourages us and even admonishes us to trust God. For example, Solomon said, “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). The point here is to trust God first, which is something we hold as an ideal, but not as normal practice in our business.
I build websites for companies and solo entrepreneurs. I am constantly learning new technologies and techniques. I am always looking at the latest and greatest way to gain leads and the like. I pray to God for direction, but many times I find that my prayers are just formality. In other words, I am not submitting to God’s way or His direction, but instead, I am telling him to come along with me so to speak. I find myself sometimes putting my trust in the technique or system instead of God. If I do this or that then I will get more customers and become more prosperous. It sounds great, especially since you’ll find a plethora of YouTube videos and online courses on how to be successful….on your own. They typically don’t tell you the last part.
Face it. Our trust is in ourselves to grow our business, not God. Our trust is in our own abilities to prosper. Sounds great. Work hard and you’ll succeed. Then one day I heard a minister quote a passage of scripture that completely shook the foundations of my business success plan.
“Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength. Whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness. in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought. Now will cease from yielding fruit.’”
Yikes. That hit me like a ton of circuit boards. I and my business are cursed if I trust a mere man (people). I and my business are blessed if I trust God. Sounds really simple, yet we have learned so well to trust in self, that trusting God seems like taking a Calculus exam 30 years past college.
Small Steps Forward
So what should we do? Simple. Repent! If you have obtained success on your own strength, then imagine what would happen if you started to trust God. What would happen to your business if God was directing you (and you followed)? Trusting God is not an easy thing to do if you’re not used to doing it, like anything else. We have to learn to trust him and allow him to direct our steps.
There were some business decisions that I have made over the years that were stupid. I even could hear God’s Spirit screaming at me to not do it, but I did it anyway because the presentation was great, it seemed reasonable, I had support, so it was a no brainer, right? Have you ever had the experience when you said, “Something told me not to do that.” We need to start paying attention to that small voice and gradually get on the train of trust.
Your brains and abilities will be involved, but you will be directed by God instead of merely your own plans. Your own ways are ok as Psalms 1 tells us. However, we need to ultimately decide to start pursuing and trusting God. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be like a plant in the desert scorched by the heat.
The Paradigm Shift
You research your business and systems. You learn new things and improve yourself. There is one thing you may lack. Improving yourself spiritually. Jesus said that we live by every word of God (See Matthew 4:4). That is true for positive and negative. What do I mean by that? God’s word tells us how to succeed and it tells us how we can fail. If you do what God says to do then you will succeed, and if you do what he says will bring destruction, then you will fail. You are living by His words either way. So why not move towards success?
Start by reading the Bible, studying biblical methods. Spend time praying about yourself, your family, and your business. Pray for those your business serves. Meditate on the scriptures and spend time alone with God to nurture a wonderful relationship. The thing is that we have to get to the point where we trust God more than the worldly techniques and abilities. We need to swap our focus from ourselves to God. This doesn’t mean that we can neglect good business practices, but rather that we put it in its proper perspective and priority.
Let me give you an example to illustrate this major revelation that I received about business success. Consider the ancient Hebrews. There were many things that they were told to do by God in order to take possession of the Promised Land. In no instance were they commanded to just sit around while God did all the work. When they encountered Jericho, why didn’t God just knock the wall down while they watched from afar? They had their part to play so to speak. Time and time again you’ll see God working through the activities of people to accomplish His will, establish His covenant, and prosper His people. In short. It’s not about us and we should be careful to incorporate that paradigm in our business practices as well as life in general.
My challenge is to spend more time pursuing God and His ways so that I can obtain the success that He wants for me. The more successful I am, the more I can help others, which God wants, based on the Scriptures. The challenge is to give up some of the pursuits for the next great program or programming technique for a pursuit for God’s direction and wisdom. After all, we only have 24 hours in one day and what we do with that 24 hours signifies where our heart is and where our faith is.
Again, I’m not suggesting that we sit back and let God do all the work (You don’t work, you don’t eat – 2 Thessalonians 3:10). I am encouraging you to put God first. Seek God first. He wants you to prosper and he has given you the power to obtain wealth (See Deuteronomy 8:18). Do your work and due diligence, but spend some time to ensure you are working with wisdom and being directed by God.