How can humility lead to success

I have been studying the role of humility in success and would like to share the lessons with you. To understand humility better, I decided to contrast the attitude with pride. I could not think about a better story than David and Goliath to see both these attitudes in action.

“David and Goliath” is a timeless story, and it is used in many ways to draw lessons for different contexts. David, the ‘underdog’ overcomes the ‘giant’ Goliath dramatically. It impacts the reader because you put yourself in David’s shoes and see yourself win against a challenge that is too big for you. You are left with the hope that you need to face life.

Photo by Astrid Schaffner on Unsplash

Let’s look at how David and Goliath demonstrate confidence, reveal their purpose, recognize the opportunity, and Approach Problem solving through the attitude of humility and pride and see how humility led David to success.

Demonstrating Confidence

Confidence is one of the keys to success. It gives you the push that you need to step out and take a chance. Try something new, out of your comfort zone, believing that you can do it. You are self-assured in your preparation, skills, and experience that you be certain of puts you in a unique position to overcome the challenge in front of you.

Goliath shows tremendous confidence. He stands up and lays a challenge in front of the armies of Israel. Goliath displays great poise in his abilities and his training that he is willing to stake his freedom. Did he have anyone specific person in mind that he wanted to challenge? Did he know anyone in Israel whose fame in battle had reached the Philistines? We don’t know, but Goliath says, “pick anyone.”

Goliath’s confidence is so high that he is willing to let the enemy choose his opponent. Should we trust in our ability to deliver a specific result? Absolutely. Should we demonstrate confidence by drawing only from our previous experience? When our focus is only on ourselves and our past we could follow the footsteps of Goliath’s by turning our self-confidence into arrogance.

Arrogance is the demonstration of an offensive attitude of superiority, says the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Goliath’s focus on himself has changed his confidence to arrogance so much so that in 1 Samuel 17: 10, Goliath says, “This day I defy the armies of Israel!”

David clearly makes the distinction in verse 45, “David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.”

David knew he is ready to face this challenge and recognized the skills that he had learned from previous experiences that will be used here. David understands that this is a new challenge, one happening in different circumstances, one carrying the nation’s fate, but he is confident because he knows where his strength comes from.

In Psalm 121:2, we read the source of David’s help “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!”

When our source of help is our Lord, our confidence does not turn into arrogance. The arrogance led to the downfall of Goliath and a victory for David, the servant of the Lord.

Reveals the Purpose

We can understand the purpose of David from the words he speaks.

v.45 “I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.”

v.46 “This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands.”

v.47 “All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s.

David’s purpose was to serve God. When he heard the philistine ridicule his children, David refused to listen to the arrogance of the Philistine. While the army of Israel, including the king, was shocked, terrified, and fled from him in great fear, David does not demonstrate similar feelings. When one tries to look inward for strength to face the challenges we face, our response will be like that of the army Israel that day.

Goliath’s purpose that day was to serve himself. For his glory, he put himself forward as the challenger, and for a while, he looked and behaved as an impossible adversary, that is until someone with a higher purpose came to the battlefield. A selfish ambition may serve one for a while, approach the challenge with God, and victory is yours no matter how big the giant in your life is.

When our purpose is to serve God, we can place our trust in His strength. The Lord saves, and the battle is His. What is the challenge facing you today? Are you afraid to face your enemy? Do you feel overwhelmed by the circumstances in your life? Face the giant like David. Choose today to serve God. Remember, the battle belongs to Him, and He is waiting for you to step out in faith and see what the Lord will do with you on His side.

Recognize opportunity

David and Goliath demonstrate the ability to recognize the opportunity when they saw one. Goliath knew his appearance brought a sense of fear in the eyes of his enemies, which he used to his advantage. Over time Goliath had added props to aid his appearance. The latest military equipment that he possessed is evidence of the brand that he was advertising.

It worked for Goliath. He added some colorful language to go with the appearance. On seeing and hearing Goliath, the army of Israel believed the story that Goliath was selling.

David was also keen on recognizing the opportunity. He was not afraid of the Philistine because he believed in God more than he believed in himself. David is eager to find out as much information as he can. In v.26, “David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel?” David hears some information in verse 25 and confirms if that information is accurate and finds in verse 27 that it is true.

Eliab, the brother of David, is angry and he is quick to judge David. Eliab thinks that David wants to hear stories and is interested in just watching the battle. David completely ignores the accusation and turns to others, and confirms if the rewards attached to the opportunity are not inflated in any way.

David’s confidence and his interest in the opportunity reach King Saul, and he calls for David.

While in front of the king, David talks about his experience to make sure he will be allowed to go and face Goliath. David ensures that his confidence is not arrogance, nor is it some form of naïve posturing. He demonstrates his faith in God, and the king believes in David.

What opportunities do you see around you today? Are you ready to take on the prospects? Have you made sure that the rewards match the risk involved? Have you ensured that you have the required skills needed to face the challenge? Have you put your trust in God to ensure your success in this endeavor?

Approach to problem-solving

Goliath steps up to solve the problem. In verse 8, he says, “Goliath stood and shouted to the ranks of Israel, “Why do you come out and line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and are you not the servants of Saul? Choose a man and have him come down to me.”  He is more than willing to put himself on the line instead of his countrymen.

David does the same. In verse 32, we see David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” David wants to step up and use his skills to face the challenge set before the army of Israel. In my previous blog, I wrote about the 3 ways we usually respond to a problem, and I concluded that the “I will do the best I can” mindset is necessary to achieve success. You can read more about it here.

David is volunteering his skills to take on Goliath. He is not discounting himself, neither is he finding any excuse to stay away from the challenge. King Saul says that David is very young, and he lacks the experience required while his brother accuses him of being a spectator interested in the stories. David does not accept the conclusions that others have about him; he is determined to face this challenge.

The people around you may be quick to dismiss you and your dreams/plans. Are you believing their assessment and have started to limit your true potential? David’s action reveals what your next steps should be.

Goliath approached this problem with an arrogant attitude. In verse 43, He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” The arrogant attitude always looks to self. The narrative that Goliath is propagating refuses to take the opponent seriously, which leads to his downfall.

David, on the other hand, shows patience. He is not offended by his brother’s words. He chooses to ignore them and move forward with the plan. David listens to Saul’s advice and tries the armor to see if wearing them will be a good fit for him. David’s humility allowed him to seek the information that he needed, convince Saul to place the fate of Israel in his hands, and confidently step forward to face the challenge.

Pride allowed Goliath to dwell in his past accomplishments, exaggerate them and use them to predict the future. He was planning on taking full credit for the results. While David’s humility used his past experience to prepare for future situations, David has intended to serve all the while depending on God for his strength.

Humility played a significant role in what David did to face victory. Are you willing to put on this attitude in your life today? What challenges do you face today? What is your purpose in life? Where does your confidence come from? Step up and take advantage of the opportunity you see. God will do the rest.

The Role of Leadership in Success

The amount of success that we can achieve on an individual level is limited compared to the one we can achieve with others. To achieve this greater level of success, one needs to learn how to get others to cooperate with you. Having the ability to bring together a group of people to work on a vision requires leadership.

Good leadership comprises several must-have ingredients that come together to form a fantastic buffet that everyone involved enjoys. A team that is under this kind of leadership evidence it through the way they perform. When you study a military unit or a high functioning department in an organization, you will see that the regular practice of the ingredients in leadership drives the team to perform using high standards and reach the higher levels of success that we talked about earlier.

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

One needs to demonstrate excellent leadership to propel yourself to higher levels of success. In this blog, I will write about what I think is the first ingredient in such leadership.

The first and foremost ingredient in outstanding leadership is this: to put yourself in other’s shoes. It is the application of the golden rule.

Let’s look at a couple of examples to see the absence of this principle.

Example 1

Remember when you watched an advertisement about a type of medication for some form of discomfort that did not matter to you. How did you react to that advertisement? Did it move you in any way? Did you take part in the call to action that the ad called for? Do you remember walking away from the screen to use the washroom or getting something to eat or drink?

Consider another occasion where a product, say a car or any other household item, was advertised, but it did not appeal to you in any way. Why do you think that is? Why is it that some products that are advertised gain our attention while others do not?

Example 2

Imagine that you are walking into a clothing store and realize that you don’t like the selection they have. You soon realize that the shop has very little foot traffic and even the people who walk into the store leave in a short period. Why do you think is the reason for this situation in this store?

You may have walked by a store advertising a sale, but no one seems to bother. How do we explain such a situation?

In the above two examples, you can see a failure on the part of the advertisement and the store to make a connection with the client (yourself), and you rightly respond with indifference. Why did you react in that way? Now, remember the time the exact opposite happened. What was different?

The reason you react positively to the advertisement is that the advertiser or the business had something that you liked or wanted. It was as if they thought about what you will enjoy and how you will expect it and presented it to you just the way you like it. The effort they made you moved you and helped you see yourself using the product they were offering and that made you purchase the product.

Now, let’s bring that to your leadership. When you are looking to achieve a greater level of success, you need others to pull you there. Let’s say you have a vision that you want to implement with others’ help; how do you get others to join you on this journey? How could you convince others that together you could make a difference in your community?

The Master Leader

Let’s look at what Jesus did to get others to follow Him. Jesus told his disciple to follow Him, and they immediately did; Peter and his brother left their business and followed Him immediately. How was Jesus able to get the disciples and many others to follow Him?

Jesus showed initiative

Jesus, on many occasions, started the conversation. Take, for instance, the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus could have ignored her as most men during that time would have done but not Jesus. He strikes up a conversation using the current situation, asking her for a drink of water.

Jesus does this on other occasions as well. Take, for instance, Zacchaeus; others would have ignored a man on a tree. There were so many people; who would blame Him? Jesus walks right up to Zacchaeus and starts a conversation.

As you think about leadership, consider the example that Jesus has set. On occasions, you may have people come to you, but you need to go and meet others. Meet all kinds of people, ones with influence and ones without as you don’t know how things will turn out. The Samaritan woman introduced Jesus to the whole village, but when Jesus started the conversation, she is introduced as a social outcast whose influence is next to zero.

Jesus responded to others initiative

When other people approached Jesus, He took the time to listen to them and understand them. He did not dismiss their needs, nor did he push his ideas onto them. Jesus spent his time caring for others’ needs, and in that process, the people who came to Him got to know Him and became His followers.

Jesus had a flexible plan

Putting yourself in others’ shoes does not always come neatly packaged. It is bound to get messy and to be filled with delays. Each appointment is not going to be well-timed and executed in a perfect office condition. Instead, the meetings may happen in unexpected places and possibly in less than ideal conditions. More importantly, your appointment may be hijacked by a more pressing issue, and you are there just as a witness to the whole thing.

A woman accused of adultery was brought to Jesus by the scribes. The introduction was by a third party and not a typical type of meeting that you and I will plan. Jesus was flexible no matter how the situation presented itself. Jesus took His time to deal with the situation. He did not excuse Himself, saying, “I don’t have time for this,” nor was He quick to judge and move on to more pressing concerns. Instead, Jesus waited until all the accusers have left and spoke without condemnation and condescension to that woman. Jesus rejected the sinful action but not the human being involved in the act. He put Himself in her shoes and recognized the shame and guilt that the woman experienced.

Likewise, you need to expect the unexpected and be patient when things don’t look the way they should or the way you had planned. Be in the moment and respond to the need of the person before you.

Jesus met them where they are

Returning to Zacchaeus’s meeting with Jesus, we see that He went to his house and took part in a meal with him. Jesus was willing to meet people where they no matter their social standing or their economic background. It did not matter to Jesus who they were or what they did or had done; Jesus was in the moment looking to meet people in their current condition and cared for their needs.

Jesus did not say anything to Zacchaeus other than His intention to go to his house. The kindness and the acceptance that Jesus showed brought about the change in Zacchaeus that no amount of words would have accomplished.

You will have more success when you meet people where they are and lead them to where they need to go than requiring people to come to where you are.

Jesus established common ground

Questions are the method that Jesus preferred while communicating with others. Questions help you learn more information and listen instead of arriving at a conclusion based on the appearance of a situation.

Jesus asked the woman caught in adultery two questions and made one statement. Read John 8:10,11. It is a guide to how our conversations should be two-thirds questions and one-thirds our assessments or opinions. After the questions, Jesus says, “neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” Jesus sympathizes with the state of the woman but not her sin.

You can find common ground even if you disagree with the actions of an individual. There is no need to condemn an individual because our values don’t match or do not measure up with the other person. Finding common ground is about looking at the person and their potential and not defining them by their actions.

Jesus demonstrates the perfect example of how to put yourself in others’ shoes to lead. Jesus took the initiative to meet people and responded to the initiative that others had taken. He allowed room for a plan to take shape as one cannot predict the nature of events when we move to meet people where they are and work to establish common ground.

These five things will help you put yourself in others’ shoes and understand them before expecting them to follow you to accomplish your vision for change.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

12 Things That God Does For Humble People

Humility is a trait that God adores and recognizes. Jesus demonstrated that while he was on earth. There are a number of verses in the Bible that talk about what God will do for the ones who are humble. Let’s take a look at 12 of them here today.

The humble receive riches, honor, and life.

The humble have wisdom.

The humble are exalted.

The humble are honored.

The humble receive favor.

The humble are taught by God.

The humble are revived.

The humble are adorned with salvation.

The humble are lifted up.

The humble are saved.

Heaven belongs to the humble.

The humble are heard.

God has everything in store for those who humble themselves. How many of these are true in your life?

How Do You Respond To Challenges?

You have heard and read about Jesus feeding 5000 people many times. If not, allow me to quickly set up the miracle here. Jesus wanted to get away to a quiet place with his disciples, but when He gets there by boat, he is greeted by a crowd that had reached that place knowing Jesus will be there, and he starts teaching them. The miracle, feeding the 5000, is recorded in all four gospels. I would like to focus on how the disciples dealt with the problem by piecing together the information from the verses taken from Luke and John.

Photo by Neil Mark Thomas on Unsplash

What is your problem-solving mindset? It’s fascinating to me how when a story or, as in this case, a blessing is approached with a particular lens, there are lessons everywhere in the Bible that one can learn from well-known passages in the Bible.

3 problem response mindsets

When we read these verses as problem-solver, we can see three common ways people react when faced with a problem. Read below to see which is your default approach.

Not my problem mindset

Luke 9:12

Late in the afternoon, the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging because we are in a remote place here.”

We need to give the disciples credit for being proactive, but they are proactive in avoiding the problem. They are fully aware of the situation that they are in and can sense the need that existed by the hillside that day.

The disciples have given the problem some thought, as you can see; they pick a time before it is too late for the people to go back to the nearby villages and find food and lodging.

All their proactiveness and thoughtfulness are aimed at passing the bucket. The disciples are trying their best to avoid the responsibility of taking on the problem at hand.

Are we going through life actively avoiding problems? A skill that we have developed is a keen sense to catch the problem a mile away and change course to avoid it altogether if possible or minimize the risk when there is no other way.

The disciples are with Jesus, the everlasting king, which did not influence their mindset even a little. They go to Him and say that we see a problem and have a solution to avoid it altogether. Do we offer similar solutions to Jesus in prayer when we see problems?

I would if I could mindset

John 6:5,7

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

The gospel of John gives a lot more detail to the parable. John is dropping the disciple’s names here to add more description to the incident. To understand this mindset, we look to Philip.

It begins with Jesus asking Philip a question. “Where can we buy bread for these people to eat?” John records this miracle with Jesus posing the question. Jesus is looking at a situation and asking Philip a question. What is Jesus asking of us today? What problem in our neighborhood or community has Jesus brought to your attention?

Philip reasons with Jesus. He has given the question some thought. Philip is approaching the problem from the resources that will be needed to solve the crisis. He is estimating the price of the solution. How much this will cost me? is a common question we all have. We look towards ourselves to see do we have the resources to meet this challenge.

Philip exaggerates his answer; he says that even a half-year worth of wages will not be enough for one bite. He, too, wants to avoid the problem by focusing on the enormity of the resources needed to solve the crisis. What enormous crisis are you facing today? You, too, have taken stock of your help and estimated the critical needs to solve the problem. Are you telling Jesus your estimation? Are you excusing yourself by saying I would if I could?

It is a huge undertaking; I wish I could do something about this. It pains me to say this, but things are tight right now; I will not be able to free up enough resources to support this project. How many times have we heard this said or a version of it? How many times have we said it ourselves? I wish I could do more. Philip uses a logical explanation to state why it would be impossible to feed the people gathered there.

I will do what I can mindset

John 6:8, 9

“Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up; here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

Andrew demonstrates this mindset by bringing the five loaves and two fishes to Jesus. He is saying, I will do what I can. Andrew recognizes that the resources are too few for the people they are trying to feed, but he says this is all I can do.

Andrew understands the enormity of the situation, but that does not stop him from responding. He identifies the boy with a meal and brings it to Jesus.

With this mindset, one understands that the solution to the problem is not immediately attainable, but doing the best you can with all you have will make a difference when the effort is brought to Jesus. What would happen if we brought Jesus our feeble resources and said, I am willing to do what I can?

Even though this is not the picture-perfect response for faith, Andrew demonstrates by far the best of the three responses in this situation. Jesus is willing to work with a less than perfect reply. Praise God for that. He meets us where we are and takes us from there. The disciples are in a place, Philip is in another place, and Andrew has come further along but is still away from perfect, but Jesus is patient and comes to us where we are.

Jesus takes the piecemeal faith demonstrated by Andrew and uses it for God’s glory. I am glad Jesus was there and showed patience with all three mindsets. All of us demonstrate these three mindsets in different situations. Aren’t you pleased that we are in the presence of Jesus and He is patiently waiting to work with us? Take the crisis that you see in your life to Him and say, here I am, and I am here to give my best and see what God does with your effort.

How Does A Christian Show Persistence

As a Christian success student, I am always pursuing biblical characters who demonstrate qualities that helped them stand out among their peers. These qualities represented their character and the principles by which they choose to live their lives.

In this blog, I will share with you what I have learned about persistence. Persistence is defined as a firm or obstinate continuance in the course of action despite difficulty or opposition. Often, this word is used alongside or as a replacement for the word perseverance, so let’s see the word’s definition. Perseverance is defined as persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

Photo by Lucas Myers on Unsplash

If we study the root words and what they represent, we see that they have Latin roots. In Latin, persistence comes from the word persistent, which means to ‘continue steadfastly,’ and perseverance comes from the word perseverantia, which means ‘abiding by strictly.’

I would like to distinguish perseverance as a character in one’s life and persistence as an attitude evidenced in a specific action.

Furthermore, I define persistence as a patient pursuit of a determined outcome with an undeterred focus.

First, let’s see persistence in action, then walk through its characteristics and conclude with the role that belief plays in building persistence.

Persistence in seeking evidence

Gideon uses persistence to seek evidence for the promise given to him. When we read Judges 6: 36 – 40, we see what Gideon is doing. In verse 16, an assurance is given to Gideon. The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” Now Gideon is hesitant to accept the promise to be true in his life. The hesitancy is born out of the narrative that he has led himself to believe. I have written about it here.

How often have we been in a similar situation, hesitating to believe in the promise of God?

Gideon goes out in faith, destroys the altar for Baal, and gets into a little bit of trouble with the local community. Now, he is thinking about taking a more significant step in line with the promise, but he is hesitant. Gideon is not sure if everything will work out as promised. As it is always with God, the result is grand, but it seems too good to be true in Gideon’s mind.

How often do we start analyzing God’s promises and find reasons why they will not work for us? And how is our situation very different from the situation in Bible times? What would it take for us to step out in faith? Would God still entertain our requests to verify his promise of success?

The Angel of the Lord patiently waits till Gideon brings the offering that he has prepared. Thank you, Lord, for your patience. God does what Gideon requests, not once but twice. God patiently waits for us to believe his word, step out of our comfort zone, and move forward in pursuit of our goals that will glorify His name.

What God did for Gideon encouraged him to trust that God can deliver the people of Israel with just 300 men. God is waiting for you to join Him in a quest to do marvelous things. Would you join him today?

Persistence in seeking the desired outcome

In this sinful world, sickness is one of those things that no one can escape from. Sometimes we face it bravely, while other times, the disease is more than we can handle. From time to time, we hear about how people come back after starring at the face of death, and we rejoice at their victory. It motivates us to face our own challenges.

Now imagine if you can go to someone who can change your situation in an instant. He says, and you become completely whole, and even better, you are restored of your full vitality. Would you pursue such a healer? Would you persist in receiving such a relief?

Let’s look at 3 such instances and see how they demonstrate persistence in their own way.

The Canaanite woman: Matthew 15: 22 – 29

The disciples come and urge Jesus to send this woman away, for she has annoyed them to such an extent. It does not look like the disciples are entreating on her behalf but rather want Jesus to get rid of her.

She has a single request – healing for her demon-possessed daughter. The way that Jesus deals with her brings out the belief that she has to see the desired outcome come true in her daughter’s life.

Jesus says some mean things only to reveal her faith to the disciples who were ready to dismiss her so easily. We do not know her name, but her persistence to seek the desired outcome is recorded in the Bible. Amen!

In verse 28, Jesus says, “Then Jesus said to her, woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.”

Her desire became true because she put her desired result above her ego. She did not care what others said about her. It did not matter to her. Her focus was on the health of her daughter.

The woman with the issue of Blood: Luke 8: 43 – 48

Luke records this woman whose name we don’t know with a health problem for 12 years. She has been looking for a solution to her situation and had not given up. No matter how long it took, she was determined to attain her desired result.

Her focus was so strong she did not care about the social expectations that existed that day. The woman pressed through the crowd and had decided exactly how she would receive the healing. She did not intend to say anything, nor did she want to call attention to herself or her situation. She did not care that the law of Moses stated her situation as unclean and expected her to isolate.

She desired to be made whole, and that is what mattered to her.

In verses 47, 48, we see, “Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 48 Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

She received her desired outcome precisely the same way she thought she would, by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment.

The Blindman at Jericho

We can follow this miracle in Mark 10:46 – 52. Jesus is leaving the city, and a huge crowd is following Him. Bartimaeus hears that Jesus is passing along the way. What an opportunity for Bartimaeus? It is as if the chance of a lifetime came looking for him. In fact, it was passing by the way he was seated.  How often in life have we been in that exact same position? A golden opportunity is walking along our way.

Bartimaeus does not want to keep quiet, nor does he want to leave anything to chance. He begins to cry out. Are there any opportunities that are in your vicinity that you need to notice and seek out? Do you recognize it? Bartimaeus did. He says, “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” He knew who Jesus was. He knew about his lineage.

Bartimaeus not only knew what he wanted but also knew the person who would deliver it to him. He had the knowledge about the opportunity so he could recognize his chance. How many opportunities have we missed because we could not recognize them?

The people around him told him to remain silent. The Lexham English Bible translates it as “others warned Him” other versions say, “others scolded him” What are they saying, the people around you? The people around you may not understand your desire. It may not be necessary to them as it is to you. They may come from a place of concern or even from a place of indifference, but I say to you, do what Bartimaeus did.

He calls out even louder. Are you thinking of giving up? Are others asking you to give up? Are you discouraged that the opportunity that you seek is not interested in you? Bartimaeus decided that he will go all-in; he will shout even louder to get the attention of Jesus.

I don’t think He did not notice nor try to avoid Bartimaeus, but I believe Jesus behaves differently to show that life is different for each of us. Like the Canaanite woman, one may come to your opportunity and be told mean things that could turn one away if they had a giant ego. Or, like the woman with the issue of blood, one may want to seek the opportunity discretely, but it turns out the other way. Or, like Bartimaeus, one may have to shout aloud to be noticed. Whatever the situation, focus on your outcome, and persisting will lead to your miracle.

All three of them probably had planned how things will go and turn out, but they would have been thoroughly surprised by how things went. The result was better than what they had imagined. It was all for the glory of God.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

Persistence in seeking a new Identity

In Genesis 32: 22 – 3, we read about Jacob wrestling with another man. Jacob is returning home after being an exile for 20 years. Jacob had stolen his brother’s birthright and had to flee from his brother’s wrath. He had lived up to what his name meant ‘a supplanter’ and ‘to overreach’. Jacob now returns to his birthplace. He is married now and is a man of substance. There is an internal struggle going on in Jacob’s mind. He sends all his family across the river, and he stays behind alone. Jacob wanted to figure some things out.

Jacob is seeking a new identity from the man he is wrestling with. V.26, But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”Even though Jacob’s hip was injured, he does not want to allow the man to leave. Jacob pleads for a blessing. He is seeking a new identity. What is your identity? Are you looking to change your current identity?

V28, Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

God gives Jacob a new name. His new name represents Jacob’s new identity – one who has struggled with God and has overcome. What is the new identity that you seek?

God has given each of us a new identity. In 1 Peter 2:9, we read But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

We are God’s own special people. Are you ready to accept that identity? If you believe that God has given you a new identity, you will do what Jacob did. V.31, The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel. Israel (Jacob) crossed over the stream believing in the promise that he had just received.

Are you ready to step forward, accepting the new identity that God has given to you?

Persistence in seeking understanding

We come across the experience that Daniel had in Daniel chapter 10. He wants to understand the vision that he had. Daniel had been fasting for 3 weeks to receive an interpretation for it, but Daniel does not give up his pursuit to understand.

It’s been 21 days, and Daniel is still in pursuit of an answer. In V.12, we read, “Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. 

What knowledge and wisdom are you after? Have you faced some roadblocks in gaining understanding? God has sent you the answer already. All you need to do is stay in pursuit of the wisdom that you seek.

Daniel persisted in prayer to understand things that were to happen in the future to the people who were slaves in Babylon. To expand your skillset, you need new knowledge: sometimes that is easy to understand, while others may take time to comprehend. Persist in prayer and wait on God to reveal to you all that you need for His glory.

Let us revisit how I defined persistence; it is defined as a patient’s pursuit of a determined outcome with an undeterred focus.

All the examples that we have seen from the Bible demonstrate patience, determination, and focus while they persisted in seeking the outcome they desired. It is also crucial to note that these heroes’ actions ignored reason or logic, and their efforts were not time-bound. They were prepared to wait as long as it took to realize their dreams.

You can also see the close relationship between belief and persistence. These heroes’ actions demonstrated their belief or their actions helped them move from a place of unbelief to belief.

You can exercise your persistence today. Go after your desired outcome by seeking evidence, seeking understanding, seeking a new identity, or doing what it takes to see your dream come true in your life.

What Should A Christian Focus On

I came across this principle, “What you focus on grows” this got me thinking about a Christian’s focus. In the attention economy, what are we paying attention to? Everything around is trying to get our attention. Social media and technology today have made it possible for everyone to connect with almost anyone.

As of 2019, 500 hours of video content was uploaded every minute onto YouTube. This single piece of statistic gives you an idea of the amount of content that is being created and shared with the world every day. In the content-rich world that we live in, where our focus is and on what should be our focus.

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I will share with you 5 areas of focus from examples in the Bible.

All these examples did face challenges like all of us. They were not immune from them, nor were they immune to the reality that existed due to the problem. It is interesting to see what they chose to focus on, determined in the way they acted and reacted to the situation, and this made them stand out from everyone else and hence became lighthouses in history.

In each of the examples, you will see that the characters around these lighthouses focused on things you and I would typically focus on. Logical things that one should think about and find answers too or so the world does teach us. Let us dive in and meet these lighthouses in their situation.

Focus on the presence of God

To see this kind of focus in action, let us join Elisha in 2 Kings 6:8 – 17. The King of Aram has sent an army to capture Elisha, and they had the city surrounded. In verse 15 we read, “When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my Lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

What shall we do? is a fair question by Elisha’s servant, an expected question in the face of a problem. Any sensible person would think the same way. The instinct is to find a solution to a problem that threatens to change our regular life, the bubbles that we have carefully created for ourselves.

Elisha chooses not to focus on the soldiers sent by the Kind of Aram but on the presence of the Living God who watches over each one of us. In verse 17, “And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

Elisha focuses on our Lord, who is our refuge and our fortress and our strength in the time of our need. In verse 16, he says, “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Elisha chose to focus on the God whose presence is beside us all the time.

Since Elisha focused on God’s mighty presence, he was able to shine for God at this point in history. Elisha asks God to strike the army with blindness, and God does what Elisha asks. See verse 18; As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So, he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

God does what Elisha asks; think about that for a moment. It blows my mind that our Omnipotent God does what a man just like you and me asks Him to do. The servant focused on his ability and what he could do to overcome the challenge, but Elisha concentrates on God’s glorious presence.

Focus on the deliverance of God

We need to catch up with Abraham and Isaac as they hike up the mountain to offer a sacrifice to see this in action.

Abraham asks his servants to hang back while he and Isaac will hike further up to worship. As they start this portion of the journey, Isaac speaks up. We see this in Genesis 22:7; Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

Isaac notices the problem. It is a problem of provision. The instinct for survival plays a significant role in each of our lives. We need a guarantee for how we will meet our food and safety needs every day. When one is not sure of the source from which those needs will be met, they cannot think about anything else but that. Survival instinct kicks in, and they focus their attention only on those things.

In verse 8, Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. Abraham’s focus was not on his ability to provide but instead on the deliverance of God. Abraham’s focus is on the Provider who has been faithful to him in the past. Abraham can keep his emotions in check because he chooses not to focus his attention on them.

Abraham had longed to see the promise of a child to be filled in his life for 25 years. Isaac was the fulfillment of that promise, but now the command is to sacrifice him for God. Sacrificing their children was something that people at that time and place did to please their gods, so this requirement would not have been outrageous in Abraham’s eyes. Even then, emotions would have been high. Anguish, heartbreak, sorrow, to name a few, would have flooded his heart, but we see that Abraham looks to God to provide.

In verse 13, we see that Abraham was right in choosing to focus on God. Abraham looked up, and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. God provides, Amen! Do you have a need today? Will you choose to focus on the deliverance of God? He has shown himself to be true in the past; why not determine to focus your attention on Him this time as well?

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Focus on the Power of God

We now travel to join Job in his conversation with God to learn about what God says about focus.

Job has been conversing with his friends, defending his righteousness. Job has completed a soul searching of his life to find a reason for his current situation. Job acknowledges that things that happen in the world are not in his control. Job’s focus throughout the conversation with his friends has been on his actions, if any, that could have caused this ill upon him and his family.

In chapter 38, God speaks to Job. We read that God spoke to Job out of a storm. Storms demonstrate from time to time the sheer power they carry with them. A storm has no regard for what lies in its path. Now, God chooses to speak to Job from a storm, and God asks Job some questions.

Questions that Job cannot answer, no one can. God is directing Job’s attention to His power and majesty. In Job 40:3,4, Job says, Then Job answered the Lord: “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. Job is overwhelmed by the majesty of God. God continues to speak of His creation and the mysteries that exist in the world.

In chapter 42, we get to hear Job speak again; Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely, I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. Again, Job confesses his ignorance and acknowledges the exclusive opportunity he has to see God.

“The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.” The conclusion of the matter is much better than in the beginning. God calls for Job to focus on His majesty rather than Job’s righteousness. Are you facing a problem like Job? Will you be willing to focus on the magnificence of God instead of your current overwhelming situation?

God is ready to bless your latter part of your life more than your former part. Just as Job says in 42:6, “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Focus on God to deliver you from your situation and give Him the glory he deserves. Allow God to speak to your life and listen to Him.

Focus on Praising God

To see how one could find deliverance by praising God, we travel to meet King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.

The king is informed of an army approaching to attack the people of Israel. The army comprises not one but 3 kingdoms: the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites. We are not told the exact number of the enemy’s army except that it is vast. One can imagine if three kingdoms came together to attack another kingdom, the number of men in that army would be more than the people of Judah can handle.

Verse 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

As soon as the king heard about the problem, we need to note that he goes to the presence of God. Jehoshaphat does not call on the king of Israel or any of his other allies. Nor did the king think about a way to broker peace. He goes straight to God. What are your first instincts when you face a problem? Who do you turn to in your time of need?

How wonderful it is to see the Bible records human emotions. Jehoshaphat was alarmed. Who wouldn’t be? When one faces an immense challenge, it is natural to show worry but what is crucial is to whom do we go to for providing you with the relief that you need. Who you go to first shows who you trust? Do you trust yourself? Your connections? Or Your God?

Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast and calls on God, and He answers. The answer is cryptic.

Verse 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

The people of Judah are given a location to get to the next day and see for themselves the deliverance of God. Early in the morning, the people and the king start their journey to the place God had instructed to see His redemption. To help the people stay focused, Jehoshaphat does something unique.

After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.”22 As they began to sing and praise.

The people focus on praising God rather than thinking about the enemy who is approaching to destroy them. Would you choose to focus on praising God? Would you think about the omnipresence and the omnipotence of God?

While they are on the way to the place that God had given them, God was already taking care of the deliverance that He had promised. The people who focused on praising God did not have to do a thing to deliver themselves. All they had to do was to collect the reward that God had in store for them. The rewards were overflowing. It took 3 days to collect the loot.

When God provides, He gives more than what you thought or imagined. He enjoys pouring out abundant blessings on His children, who choose to focus on Him. What are you waiting for?

 Focus on the promise

To learn about focusing on the promise, we travel to join the nation of Israel on the border of the promised land. Moses has sent out spies to go and view the land. Let’s join them as they return to the camp to report their assessment of the land that God had promised to the Israelites.

Moses chooses 12 men to survey the land at the Lord’s command and gives them clear instructions on what to look for when they go to the land.

Numbers 13: 18 – 20

18 See what the land is like and whether the people living there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 Is the land they live in good or bad? Do their cities have walls around them or not? 20 Is the soil rich or poor? Does the land have trees or not? Do your best to bring back some fruit from the land.”

The men took time to access the land that God had promised them. They spent 40 days exploring the land passing through the way that Moses had instructed them to go. They also bring fruits from that land; grapes, pomegranate, and Figs. I am amazed at the fact that 2 people had to carry one bunch of grapes.

All the spies reported the facts that they had seen with their own eyes. Still, there is a distinct difference on how they interpret the facts. 10 spies focused on the problems that lie ahead. At the same time, Caleb and Joshua demonstrate belief as they see the situation through the promise that God had given them, and therefore could reach a different conclusion.

In verse 30, Caleb told the people to be quiet and listen to Moses. Caleb said, “Let’s go now and take possession of the land. We should be more than able to conquer it.”  

In Number chapter 14, Caleb and Joshua share their reasons to go and conquer the promised land.

7 They said to the whole community of Israel, “The land we explored is very good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us. This is a land flowing with milk and honey! 9 Don’t rebel against the Lord and don’t be afraid of the people of the land. We will devour them like bread. They have no protection, and the Lord is with us. So, don’t be afraid of them.”

When you look at the obstacle that lies ahead of you on your way to your goal, choose to look at the promise that God has given you. In Jeremiah 33:3, God says, “Call to me, and I will answer you” In Isaiah 40:31, the prophet says, “but those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles;”

Trust in the promise of God, and He will give you all that you need to cross the Red sea that is in front of you. All you need to do is take the first step, place it on the water, and see what our God is waiting to do for you.

In Num 14:24, you can see what God had to say about Caleb.

“But because my servant Caleb has a different attitude and has wholeheartedly followed me, I’ll bring him to the land he already explored. His descendants will possess it. 30 But none of you will enter it except Caleb (son of Jephunneh) and Joshua (son of Nun)”

The reward for believing the promise of God is the fulfillment of the promise of God. Which of God’s promises do you want to see fulfilled in your life? What is your attitude towards the words of God? Would you like to focus on the promise like Caleb and Joshua?

Natural Instinct

In each of the five examples, I can see myself thinking and reacting the way like Isaac, the servant of Elisha, the 10 spies did. We have been trained to analyze and come to similar conclusions regarding the situations in our lives. Still, Elisha, Abraham, Caleb, and Joshua demonstrate child-like faith in the way they thought and acted. They actively chose to focus on the presence, deliverance, power, praise, and promise of God.

When we choose to focus our faith on God rather than faith in ourselves, we are destined to witness and experience remarkable things in our lives. Joyce Meyer rightly asserts, “No matter what has happened to you in the past or what is going on in your life right now, it has no power to keep you from having an amazingly good future if you will walk by faith in God. God loves you! He wants you to live with victory over sin so you can possess His promises for your life today!”

You want to know what God has in store for you? Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God’s plans for you are for you to prosper, i.e., to be wealthy and successful. Plans to give you a future – one that you have not imagined for yourself yet. So, what do you want to focus on? The plan that God has for you? Your faith in His word? Join me in experiencing what God will do in our lives when we choose to focus on Him.

A Successful Person Avoids These 3 common mindset traps

I am curious to learn about the mindset of successful individuals and how it is different from others. On this journey I’ve come to realize the 3 common clever mindset traps that exists within each of us.

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Mindsets are formed based off the stories that we continue to tell ourselves. The longer we narrate them, we then internalize them and believe them to be true for ourselves. After which everything that we do is viewed through the lens of those stories. Our goals and aspirations are also filtered through these stories.

When opportunities come our way, we look at those through these stories and decide whether we pursue them or not. Whether we can see the opportunity for ourselves depends on the stories we tell. Do I believe that the opportunity is for me? Do I think that I will be successful if I take on the opportunity? Answers to these questions will depend on what stories that I have come to believe for myself.

So, what are the 3 clever stories?  Victim stories, Villain stories and Helpless stories.

Let’s look at the story of Gideon from the Bible and see these 3 stories play out.

Judges 6:11 – 15

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. 

12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.”

13 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our ancestors told us about when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.”

14 The Lord turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

Some background here.

The people of Israel are ruled over by the Midianites. The verses earlier in the chapter says that the reason for this is because the people of Israel were worshipping other gods.

Gideon

Let me introduce Gideon. It is easy to judge the character of Gideon poorly by considering the name list of the mindset stories mentioned above. We all have a version(s) of these stories in one area or the other in our lives and that does not mean a lack of character but my intention here is to acknowledge the reality of human nature and how by recognizing how these stories influence our lives we can overcome the effect they have on our future.

In verse 11, you can see that Gideon is threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it from the Midianites. Now that tells me the following things.

Gideon is hard working – He is doing what he can to provide for his family. He has planted crops, watered them, now harvested the grains and separating the wheat and the stalk so that his family can have some food. This action shows a willingness to work hard.

Gideon is intelligent – He is threshing wheat in a winepress to keep it away from the Midianites. Gideon is not naïve to think that he will be spared from the Midianites. He is not willing to try his luck. He is cautious, meticulous in his approach. He is careful not to loose the progress he has made in his life.

Gideon is Brave – his reaction to the greetings from the angel in verse 13 is clear indication that Gideon is brave. We have other examples in the bible where people fall on their face and angels starting the conversation with the famous “fear not” greeting but not for Gideon.

Gideon’s actions demonstrate excellent qualities of character but when he starts speaking you can see the mindset traps that are cleverly hidden in his mind.

The Victim Mindset

Gideon conversation beings with “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?

When he says, “why has all these happened to us?” Gideon reveals the victim mindset. Taking nations captive was a common occurrence during that time. The nation of Israel had done it themselves numerous times. They established their nation by driving out the people who had lived in those land before them.

Judges 6:1 clearly states why Israel is in such a state. V.1 “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” 

The Victim mindset says that other people are bad and do wrong things and we are good and do only right things. We therefore suffer as a result of other peoples wrongdoing. With this mindset, we fail to take inventory of our lives to identify areas that we can change to realize a better outcome.

There are events that could happen in our lives which happen out of nowhere and out of no cause of our own. In such situations we are victims and we are not discussing such situations here.

Gideon judiciously avoids the facts about whatever he has done, or his countrymen have done or neglected to do that has contributed to the Midianites ruling over them. He carefully states a one-sided account of his current situation which transfers the blame on to another party. This story brings us to the next cleaver story.

The Villain mindset

Gideon continues he says, “But now the Lord has abandoned us and given us into the hand of Midian.” Gideon is exaggerating his and his people’s innocence. When he exaggerates his innocence, he is saying that the current problem is because of another aggressor.

The aggressor in this case becomes “the Lord” because He has abandoned them. When we claim innocence, we then tend to turn other individuals into villains.  It is a very narrow definition of the other person. They may be normal and decent which does not matter but what matters is that they are a villain to you.

Gideon overemphasizes Lord’s guilt. He says, Lord has delivered us in the past and why doesn’t he do it again. There is no space for self-reflection when we place the guilt squarely on others. All the responsibility is transferred onto the other person and the underlying message is ‘there is nothing to see here’, I am a victim. Look over there and there you will see the person responsible for this outcome.

Once we’ve set someone up as villains, we can then do what we want with them. We can choose to insult or abuse them as we see fit because they are responsible for our situation. We then get stuck in this ineffective behavior because we think that the other person brings out the worst in us.  

The Helpless Mindset

When the first two stories exist, the third one is present inevitably. Look at what Gideon says, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

Gideon is saying, I am helpless because I am the least in my family. He is failing to recognize all his strengths that Gideon had demonstrated. Those qualities where in action and not just listed somewhere on a resume. The helpless mindset allows Gideon to undercut himself.

The opportunity presented to Gideon is once in a lifetime opportunity. To be a leader, to go down in history as the liberator of his people. An opportunity to guide the people back into the right path but who is blocking the opportunity? Gideon himself.

 You can see how one story leads to another and the catastrophic results that those stories can cause in one’s life if left alone to run our life.

The helpless mindset displays others conduct as unchangeable traits and you are not able to do anything about it. Your circumstance cannot change because they are out of your control and are in the hands of someone else who is a villain. Can you see how these clever stories limit your true potential.

You may have seen these types of stories play out at work, in relationships and in human interactions. It is easier to spot these stories in others’ lives than in our own lives. When I recognized these mindsets, I was immediately thinking about others where these stories fit but it was a lot more difficult to identify them in my own life.

I was immediately tempted to justify my situation as special situation and looked for reasons to say why I can keep my story. The longer I looked at my stories specially in the light of their effects on my future, I allowed myself to look at these stories again and understand how they have affected me.

When we want to build wealth and move to the next level of income, we need a mindset change that will allow us to believe that the goal is possible for us. There is no limit stronger than the one that we set for ourselves. What stories are you telling yourself that is allowing you to excuse yourself from achieving success? What opportunities have you missed out on by believing these stories? Rewrite your stories today and march on towards your goals.

Does Hard Work pay off?

I am looking at the life of Joseph as a case study to learn about success. In my journey to learn and be more successful, I am revisiting Bible stories using this new lens (success) and am enjoying the lessons that I am learning from each one of them.

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When we hear the word hard work, generally, the reaction is one of discomfort. Almost all the time, the word carries a negative meaning because it is made up of two words that do not necessarily bring any good memories. Hard work can be replaced with diligence, perseverance, or determined work, and these words encourage us to think about the values that drive the action.

Yes, hard work does pay off. When time and effort are invested in something that adds value to both the creator and others who have the same need, the diligent effort put forth by the person who created pays off.

In this blog post, I would like to share with you Joseph’s life and see how he used hard work for success.

Joseph demonstrates 4 fundamental principles that formed the foundation of his diligence. Joseph is introduced in the Bible as a farm boy, a father’s favorite, a son who lost his mother at a young age. He does odd chores at home, and one such job is to take food for his brothers, who are out in the desert taking care of the sheep.

Joseph has a clear vision about his future which he shares with his family. The vision’s content is interpreted as arrogance and adds to the causes of his brother’s jealousy. We begin to see who Joseph is after he starts his life as a slave in Egypt. His values become evident while he lives a life in undesirable circumstances.

Joseph was patient and focused

At least 13 years had to pass by before Joseph’s dream came true, but Joseph was patient and went about doing the job at hand. Even after requesting the cupbearer to remember his help, Joseph had to wait two more years for his request to be fulfilled.

Waiting was a regular part of Joseph’s life, and the same is true in our lives as well but see how Joseph stands out as he does not sit idly by waiting for an opportunity that will make his dream a reality; instead, he demonstrates focus in work at hand.

Joseph took his time to reveal his identity to his brothers because he wanted to know if they had changed in any way. Joseph does not demonstrate a hurried approach to life but instead is willing to wait for God to work his way, all the while doing the best that he can by looking for opportunities even small ones.

The most challenging thing to do when things are going our way and plenty resources are available to you is to be patient and wait for something. Here, Joseph demonstrates the need for us to stick to the plan and not become distracted. Indeed, the seven years of plenty were followed by the seven years of famine, and the work that Joseph had done in the plentiful years helped him, the country, and his family during those tough times.

Joseph’s Values

Joseph’s life was built by values, and those values formed the foundation on which his actions were executed. Joseph was given a dream, but it came to pass because he lived his life making that as his identity. What is your dream today? On what have you built your foundation?

Genesis 39:2,3

The Lord was with Joseph so that he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord gave him success in everything he did,

Joseph was sold as a slave at the age of 17. Soon after he joins Potiphar’s household, Joseph is promoted as one in charge of everything in Potiphar’s house except for his wife. Soon after he lands in prison, he is given in-charge of all the king’s prisoners within the prison; this tells us that Joseph behaved the same way wherever he was. He did not let his circumstances decide his behavior but rather his values.

Joseph demonstrated honesty and integrity in his work, which helped him gain his superiors’ trust. He behaved that way because that was who he was. His outward actions were based on his inward values.

Joseph was conscientious in all his activities, which made him predictable in a good way, which then propelled him to his success.

Joseph was a leader

Joseph showed initiative in whatever situation that he found himself in, whether it be in Potiphar’s house, the prison, or in the palace. Joseph identified a way in which he could serve. He looked for ways he could add meaning to the life of the people around him.

Joseph did not consider any job below himself; instead, he took that as an opportunity to do it with all his might for the glory of God. While at home, he comes across as an arrogant individual telling everyone that they will serve him, but now he has made a 180 in his thinking. Success follows those that seek to serve and not the ones who lord it over others. They may have a moment, but true success stays with people who serve others.

Genesis 39:22, 23

So, the warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in prison, and he was made responsible for all that was done there. 23 The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.

This desire to serve helped Joseph exercise restraint and evaluate his choices when he sees his brothers again. Joseph had all the power, but he did not choose to lord it over them but rather show compassion even though the brothers did not deserve it.

Joseph chose servant leadership, the best kind, and this choice was made long before he was a leader in any capacity. In Egypt, he served as a slave, then he served others while being a prisoner, and then when he had real power as the Prime minister, Joseph was prepared to give his utmost service to the one who gave Him that opportunity.

Joseph was anchored

All through his life in Egypt, we find that Joseph was anchored in the word of God.

Joseph says to Potiphar’s wife, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” This shows us that Joseph evaluated his every thought and action against God’s word and his priority was to obey God than man.

We again see Joseph with the king’s officials in prison when they are troubled with their dreams. Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.” He is saying to the officials this problem may be too big for you but not for God. It also reveals how Joseph approached any challenge he faced; this is easy for God.

When Joseph is brought into the king’s presence to interpret his dream, he is honest about his abilities. Joseph says, “I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.” The first thing that Joseph does is to give credit to the one who deserves it. It is not by our might or our ability but by the one who is our author of our lives.

Again, we see Joseph in Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. Joseph realized everything happens for good to those who have put their faith in the God.

In any situation, Joseph placed God’s word before his action so that his life will reveal the glory of Him. Where are you anchored today? Examine your actions, and what does it show? Your own desires or the glory of God.

Did Joseph have to work hard? But of course. He entered Egypt as a slave, and he worked in less than ideal conditions. Repeatedly the Bible says that the Lord was with Joseph. Are you in a situation in your life where your circumstances are similar to Joseph’s? What can you learn from Joseph today?

I’ve learned that Joseph was built by his values, guided by patience, driven by service, and was anchored in the word. Living life this way helped him not to despair in his present circumstance but live out his life in service, doing his best work every day for the benefit of the people around him.

If we asked Joseph today the secret to his success, I believe he will say belief in the vision that God has given you and know that He will bring you to it no matter how impossible that vision may seem, in light of your current situation.

Success is a lifelong process and this journey is more about getting to know yourself and changing the way you think and live for others. When you serve with pure intentions you will be as the Psalmist says, like a tree that is planted by the waters yielding its fruits in due season.

17 Verses About Hard Work From New Testament

John 5:17

But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.”

Acts 20:35

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Galatians 6:9

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Ephesians 4:28

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Ephesians 5:15 – 16 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 6:7

Rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man.

Philippians 2:14, 15 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Colossians 3:17

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Colossians 3:23

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.

Colossians 3:24

Knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

1 Corinthians 4:12 And we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;

1 Corinthians 15:18

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Thessalonians 4:11, 12 And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

2 Thessalonians 3:10 – 12 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

1 Timothy 5:8

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

2Timothy 2:6

It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

I hope these verses have inspired you as they have me. God Bless You All.

15 Verses about Hard Work from Old Testament

These days Hard work gets a bad rap and smart work is praised. Smart work does not necessarily mean easy work. Work that adds value to you and others is hard. Here are 15 verses that you can find in the Old testament. I have another blog post where you can find all the verses from Proverbs.

Genesis 2:5

When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground.

Genesis 2:15

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Deuteronomy 15:10

You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him, because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake.

Deuteronomy 28:8

The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and in all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

2 Chronicles 15:7

But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

Job 1:10

Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.

Psalm 37:5

Commit your way(work) to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.

Psalm 90:17

Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Psalm 128:2

You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Ecclesiastes 9:10

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Ecclesiastes 2:24

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God.

Ecclesiastes 15:18 – 20 Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God. For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.

Jeremiah 31:16,17

Thus says the Lord: “Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, declares the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future, declares the Lord, and your children shall come back to their own country.

Jeremiah 29:5

Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.

Nehemiah 4:6

So we built the wall. And all the wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

All of these verses are taken from the ESV. If you have any other verses that talk about Hard work, share them with me. God be with you and help you be the best that you can be.