Lead Well: Work on Our Character

A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing. There are six things that the LORD hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. [Proverbs 6:12-19]

Nobody wants to be known as someone with bad character, yet this is the state many of us find ourselves in, if only for the lack of a little focus and intentionality. Such a state  brings calamity, demotion and in reality means people don’t want to hang around us.

Good character is not our default position.
Good character comes through purposeful design.

Think about it. We are inherently selfish. We give most of our attention to ourselves. We want to make sure we have what we want, not just what we need. We will bump people out of the way to make a way. We expect as much as possible for as little as possible. We praise and curse with the same mouth. The list of our character flaws is probably endless.

I have learned this lesson by getting it right and getting it wrong. Through awkward conversations and times of confrontation by people who care for me. I have discovered that to lead well in life is to be watchful and protective of the right kind of character. And such watchfulness takes concentration and effort. Start by avoiding the list of those things which don’t look good from Gods point of view…

Pride.
Lying.
Killing people.
Scheming.
Quick to do wrong things.
False witness towards others.
Bringing discord.

Then remember how Jesus took the standard higher on many of these in His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, 6 & 7. Let’s be honest, we all have our weaknesses, those unredeemed aspects of our personality which we can use to quickly blame our words and actions on.

Instead let’s be those who are different. Living by design. Who lead well. Are above reproach. Live a life worthy of the calling to which you are called. Honour God in all things. Watch. Be alert. Sin and temptation are always at the door. Stay focused on Jesus. Keep your eyes on Him. Don’t allow yourself to drift. Hold fast your confession of faith. Do not be afraid. Repent quickly.

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Lead Well: 5 Ways to Best Face the Challenge of Life

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”– my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths [Proverbs 1:10-15]

Life is a challenge. I would go as far to say that life is one long test. Things go well, things don’t go so well. Good days and other days.

I have made big mistakes which have had little or no impact on me, while other smaller, daft ones, have had the potential to cause major consequences. You just don’t know sometimes.

The challenge then becomes about protect yourself. To protect your future. To protect the God-given future. It doesn’t mean doing nothing and taking no risks. Verses like these in Proverbs have helped me to create some non-negotiables for how I travel, make decisions and walk with God through life.

Do not consent. Stay strong. Learn to say NO. There are some things which I should just not agree to.

Be alert to ambush. Keep an eye out for what’s going on around you. Call them boundaries, guardrails, whatever. Put them in place, they will keep you from getting caught out.

Stay away from the place of danger. Don’t go to those places where temptation may be too strong. It’s too easy to justify our behaviour sometimes but ultimately it only hurts us.

The crowd is not always right. This may be the message of the world but we are not meant to just go with the way of the world. It doesn’t matter everyone else is doing it or even that society says it’s ok. Do what is right because it is the right thing to do.

Hold back when appropriate. Take a moment. Look. Really look. Fools do rush in. It can be difficult but learn to wait for Gods lead.

All with the power of the Holy Spirit helping you too. This is the adventure of leading well in life. Go for it!

Would you add anything else to the list of non-negotiables?

Walk With God: Seek Wisdom

Reading through Proverbs at the moment and being reminded that the greatest of wisdom is often found in the simplest of truths.

When it comes to walking well with God, wisdom definitely plays its part. An essential part at that. After all, right at the start of this particular book is a very clear instruction

Let the wise hear and increase in learning and obtain guidance

The power of simple wisdom should not be underestimated. We just need to be careful from where and from whom the so-called wisdom is coming.

10 truths about the power of good wisdom I am rediscovering through the book of Proverbs…

Wisdom should be sought after like silver and gold.

Wisdom of the greatest value comes from the Lord.

Wisdom increases knowledge and learning.

Wisdom helps us to understand.

Wisdom creates opportunity.

Wisdom protects.

Wisdom in God helps us trust Him more completely.

Wisdom works hard and brings reward.

Wisdom dwells with prudence.

Wisdom discovers.

And this kind of wisdom influences every aspect of who I am and could possible become, along with every sphere of influence I may enjoy. Wisdom centred around people, communication, money, life, humility, integrity, honour, healing, discretion, work, laziness, relationships and God.

What has Godly wisdom brought to your life? And what wisdom would you share with others?

The Real Me

To discover the real me I need look at what I spend time thinking about when no one is looking and when nothing is forcing me to think about anything in particular.

Where do my thoughts go to?

I have to train my thoughts to lean toward God, to move toward Him.

It’s about more than reading my Bible 24/7 or mumbling under my breath in tongues whenever I can. It’s about taking captive thoughts that otherwise may wander. It’s easy done. Negativity. Selfish. Lustful. Angry. Empty. Resentful. And the rest.

In the secret place where no one else watches is where I truly determine the power of my relationship with God. Let’s not be religious about this but lets not fill our heads with so much of the wrong stuff that we don’t make enough room for thoughts that are truly God-centred.

Thankful thoughts.

Thoughts that praise and honour God.

Go first for thoughts that dwell on the goodness of God.

Prayerful thoughts.

I watch what goes in as it feeds my imagination. As a man thinks in his heart, so is he [Proverbs 23:7]. Just because I can [read that book, watch that film, behave that way, say those things, do that thing] doesn’t mean I should.

If I can’t be humble, joyful, faithful, disciplined, honouring, truthful, full of integrity in private before God then what I want to appear on the outside will not match who I truly am.

Maybe that’s sounds boring to you but if God and knowing Him better is the most important thing in your life, then what’s the problem.

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life…[Day 59]

I always talk about this idea in the context of leadership. It’s not a new thought.

John Maxwell talks about how changing your beliefs change your behaviour which in turn can change your life. I knew this to be true but after 2 months of getting up earlier to pray and read the word I see it more clearly than ever. New disciplines create new horizons, a different way of seeing things and spending time with God can only be a good thing, right?

I reckon everyone is searching for some kind of breakthrough. Here’s what I’m learning…don’t just expect God to ‘do it’ for you. Sometimes change only comes through prayer and fasting. Sacrifice isn’t everything but ‘laying down your life’ for a moment and getting with God can often be the difference maker. Don’t squeeze Him in somewhere, rather set aside time, quality time for God. I think I’m of the opinion that if it was necessary for Jesus, then how much more is it necessary for me.

The Psalmist had it right, speaking often of ‘seeking God’, ‘staying blameless’, trusting in His ways’, rather than being too carefree. To seek, to stay blameless, to trust…this are active, we have to be determined at times to keep them.

Proverbs 21:21 ‘He who pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honour’

Keep your standing with God right! Don’t let the ‘stuff’ of life distract you too much from God. It’s easier to drift through each day and then wonder where they have gone, than live life with purpose and keep God at the centre of all you do. The default setting for humans never looks great – it usually involves laziness, being casual about stuff and reasonably selfish.

Maybe the time for change has arrived.
Maybe this time the change should be in spiritual things to bring about the change you want in other areas.

So…what changes are you making that demonstrates to God that you put Him first?
What breakthrough are you believing for? What victories have you seen so far?