Earlier on in the year I had the pleasure of attending a Christian women’s event hosted by CWIBUK, the focus of the event was to look at key lessons that had helped our business/ministry to change and grow in the previous year and what steps we would take in the new year to achieve our goals. There were 3 speakers who all shared there lessons from 2011: Jessica Mead, Sherlyn Ramsey and Jacqueline Peart, even though they were three very different women, sharing different lessons I couldn’t help but see the underlying current in each of the lessons shared. Today, I want to focus on one of the lessons that spoke to me the most, that given by Jessica Mead and explain it in my own words based on my experience of aiming to do things God’s way.
I have noticed that people mostly operate under the principle of self-interest and self-service, this is true even within Christian circles. I don’t believe it’s so much that people want to act in that way, most of the time we know our actions are wrong but we feel compelled to do so because we feel that we have no other choice. Although most Christians talk the good talk, it is rare to find people whose words and actions marry well together.
Why does this type of behaviour raise a problem?
Simply because it brings up the issue of character ( an individual’s attributes, traits, or abilities) which in turn brings up the issue of trust. We trust God because He has shown us His character not just through His words, but His actions, likewise our own character is not demonstrated by what we say but what we do. It is more important for us to act in good character than it is for us to speak like a saint.
Getting to the root of the problem (one of Jessica’s activities adapted from 7 Habits of Highly Successful People)
- Grab a pen and paper and ask yourself this question: What would you want people to say about you when you have passed away? Make a list of the 5 things that come to your mind.
- Now write a second list, this time focus on what you would want God to say about you or see in you.
- Done? Now compare them both, do they match up?
The chances are that your first list was more self-centered (I know mine was) whilst the second list was other and God-centered.
God has high expectations of us, He wants to lift our soul to a higher level of functioning and experience but we are too afraid to let go, it’s safer to remain earth bound. But all of those qualities that God wants to build in us are not going to manifest by choosing to live and function as the world does.
There is an Igbo parable which goes something like this:
There once was a lizard who fell from a very high tree and landed safely, he looked to the left no one said anything so he looked to the left and no one said anything so he nodded to himself and said “anyway, I know I am good!.
What does it mean? Basically, if no one wants to congratulate me I’ll congratulate myself!
This is a funny parable showing how we often boost ourselves up when no one else wants to do it for us, but I also think that it highlights an attitude of only caring and believing that it’s what we think that matters. This type of self-centered attitude is growing within so-called Kingdom Businesses and Ministries, we focus on making something work at all costs and have gotten into a mind-frame that this dog must eat all the other dogs in order to survive. This is the world’s principle, not God’s. God doesn’t do fear, and trampling over others or using others to get ahead shows a person who is still too afraid to trust that doing things God’s way is the best way. When we live for our instant gratification without thought of the consequences we will inevitably hurt others along the way, but what we forget is that these people could be the ones to bless us tomorrow. Before each action we take we must learn to ask ourselves these two questions:
- How would God feel about me doing this?
- How would I feel if this was done to me?
By asking these questions we will begin to find that we are no longer putting ourselves first but the other person, and on top of this God will use these actions to change our character and mind-set. People trust those with good character, because over a period of time they have measured you up and decided that you have integrity. No amount of money or words can buy trust, only how we behave and act towards others. It is better for us to give rather than to receive, it is better for us act in love rather than to act in self gain.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5: 20
Jessica read this verse and it really to ministered to me, why did she use it and what does it mean? In a nutshell she explained what it really meant to be an ambassador, she said that an ambassador is the representative of the host nation, all their actions and behaviours not only reflects on them but the host nation and more importantly the one who sent them too. This being the case the nation will only select those who they fill will represent them, the best of the best so that they are not brought into shame or disrepute.
Tough question coming up: what type of ambassador are you making for Christ in your life and business/ministry? Are you causing His name to be blasphemed, you may not think you are, you may think that you’re doing OK but look at your second list again and try be honest with yourself, are you the best ambassador for Christ that you could be?
The part of our character that this boils down to is integrity, there is a Hebrew word ‘Emet’ which loosely means ‘truth’ this word is used as an attribute of God ‘Dayan Ha’Emet’ Righteous Judge because it signifies how utterly just, honest and holy He is. It is a word which signifies divine balance and a just scale, do we allow God’s divine balance and righteousness to proceed from Him and permeate us? This is the only way we can ever develop true integrity. When we allow ourselves to be as God in the world (His ambassadors) then we will start to find that we won’t need to congratulate ourselves or tap ourselves on the back because others will be drawn to us because of our character and do it for us.
So what would you want people to say about you after you have passed away? They were a person of character? Or do you only care about what you think of yourself?
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- Kindness (achristianmeditation.wordpress.com)
- Organizing the Inside – Day 219 Integrity Makes Life Simpler (lizmason.wordpress.com)
- Integrity is a Leadership Necessity (gadberry.wordpress.com)