We are talking about how the fruits of the Spirit can help you in business.

It’s based on Galatians 5:22-23 which reads:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Today is the last fruit: “self control.”

The word used here is ἐγκράτεια or enkrateia

It means self-mastery, self-restraint, or self-control.

The word used hear means a significant amount of self-mastery.  It is a mastery from within that is so strong it is automatic.

It is only used three other times.  Let’s look at these and see how we can grow in our self-control.

The first one we find Paul teaching Felix, the governor who listened to Paul when Paul was imprisoned.

“As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’” Acts 24:25

Paul was arrested and put in prison.  He had to defend himself.  In the midst of his defense, Paul talks about righteousness that can only come from an internal guidance.  He then, turns the conversation to the Judgement that is to come for all people.

It is funny how Paul was defending himself and used self-control as a defense.  Paul was intelligent and knew the court systems.  He knew how to use words and how to get the attention of Felix.

Yet, right in the middle of his case he presents how righteousness leads to self-control and without those things in our lives, we find ourselves in a time of judgement before God.

Now, let’s see what Peter has to add to that.

“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7

Peter knows the value of growth.  He went from being a simple fisherman to leading the church.  He was a business man first, but aligned his life with God and became an apostle and a direct disciple of Christ.

When we are growing in Christ, we will not always be perfect, but we should always be striving to move forward in our relationship with Christ.

We won’t go through the whole list, but let’s look at the general run down.  We always must start with faith.  Self-control comes in the middle only after we gain knowledge.  It is this self-control that leads to godliness and ends in love.

Without self-control there could be no godliness.  We cannot live a holy life unless we surrender who we are to who Christ is working in us.

Without self-control there can be no godliness. #Christianbusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

We may think that Peter quit fishing, but all through scripture, we see Peter following Jesus and fishing.  He was always a business man, but he moved his business to God’s business.  We see him catching a fish to pay taxes in Matthew 17 and even see him fishing awaiting Jesus to return after the resurrection in John 21.

It is amazing to see the influence one person can have on all of eternity when he turned his life and his business over to Christ.  All of history was changed by a carpenter, who taught a fisherman about the kingdom of God.

You are a business owner and you are called to be a Christian first.  Grow in your faith and do business the way God wants you to do business.  Ultimately, when you lay your business at the foot of Jesus and step up as a person of faith, you will always be on the right track.

If you have self-control, you can easily align your business with God and take the step of faith you need to will bring your business to the next level.

For our exercise this week, and the last in this series, I want us to read John chapter 21.  Put yourself in the shoes of Peter.  He had walked with Jesus for years and watched him die, then standing at the shore is a man who speaks to you.  What would you think?  How would you feel?

Take time to read the three stories in this chapter as a whole, then reach each one, one day at a time.  I have included a worksheet below this video as a guide for your reading. (click here for the worksheet)

  • Day 1: Read the whole chapter and put yourself in Peter’s shoes.  What did he learn?  What would you do in that situation?
  • Day 2: John 21:1-14  How would Jesus find you if he showed up at your place of business?  Would you listen to Him even if it did not make sense?
  • Day 3: John 21:15-19  When have you felt like you let Jesus down?  Have you forgiven yourself and allowed Jesus to restore you?
  • Day 4: John 21:19-25  When have you looked to what someone else is doing rather than paying attention to your own life?  Has your business ever suffered because you were comparing yourself with others?
  • Day 5: ReRead the whole chapter. Do you follow Jesus with all you have and all you are?  Have you aligned your life so much with Jesus that you act in self-control, full of the fruits of the spirit?

 

I hope this study has been a blessing to you.  I know it was a blessing for me to open God’s word up into your life and your business.  This is Rev. H. reminding you to be blessed and be a blessing.

Introduction video for our series on Using the Fruits of the Spirit in Your Business.

Business Bible study based on Galatians 5:22-23

 




God will grow businesses whose leaders are growing the Fruits of the Spirit. #Christianbusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults; whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse. Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you; rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning. Proverbs 9:7-9

Listen as you Read

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Have you ever known someone who overreacts when things don’t go their way?  Here in America, we are used to getting out way, but life does not always work that way.  There are times when we need to sit back, take some instruction to become a better person.

Quick story . . .

I have been creating videos for over fifteen years.  I have recorded plays, short biography sketches and lots of business videos.  Recently, I was doing some behind the scenes video for a fashion project.  I am not a ‘fashion’ kind of person and I am slightly out of my comfort zone working in that environment.

The lead photographer saw my first video and gave some pointers.  I corrected the video and she loved it.  Then, on another call she made some suggestions about the way I was shooting.  I immediately got defensive and did not want to listen. When I got off the phone call I had to remind myself “the wise listen to instruction.”

To make a long story short, I listened to what she had to say and my next fashion video was the best so far.  I set my pride aside and listened to what she had to say.  I became wiser because I was willing to listen.

God puts people in our lives to help us get to new levels.  We are either helping someone else grow, or we are growing from them.  It is a concept we see throughout the Bible: i.e. Moses and Joshua or Paul and Timothy.

As business owners, we are leaders.  That does not mean we can’t learn from anyone else.  I had a wise Christian man tell me, “You can learn something from everyone no matter how insignificant you think they are.”

Firstly, no one is insignificant. We are all Children of God.  We all stand at the same place before the cross whether rich or poor.  To put it in perspective think about this humbling thought: Everyone is better than you at something.

When we go into business with the idea that we know it all, our business flat lines and we become stagnant.  When we enter our business with the openness to learn, we have a business that thrives and grows.

Even though you are the leader of your business, don’t be afraid to listen to your employees, vendors and customers.  They all have a different perspective than you, and they may see a blind spot that you cannot see from your leadership role.

The question is simple, are you teachable?  If you are teachable, you will be wise and your business will grow.

“Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.” Proverbs 9:7-9

Amen

I hope you enjoyed this business Bible study from Christian Business Revolution.  We’ll see you next week.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Listen as you read along

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I am sure you have heard this verse if you have been in church for any amount of time.  I want you to look at it in context and hopefully you can see how powerful it is for you and your business.

Matthew 6:33 reminds me of a chorus in a current Christian song called “First” by Lauren Daigle that says, “Before I bring my needs, I will bring my heart.”  Those words really get to the depth of this verse.

Too often we make our business and personal plans, then try to fit God into them.  That is the exact opposite of what the Bible says.  I know we have to have a vision and we want to set goals about in our business, but look at the context of this Bible verse and see how everything lines up.

This chapter starts out talking about some of the common practices a good disciple: giving, prayer, and fasting.  The next section talks about where our treasures are: in our heart or in the bank.  Then, we come to the last part where the Bible talks about worry and ends with the fact that if we seek God first, our lives will work out the way HE wants them to.

If you look at the progression, it gives us some great insight.  Let me break it down.

First, in verses 1-18 the Bible says our actions must be in line with our faith.  Our habits and practice are physical actions that we take because of our faith. When we have good spiritual habits, it is easier to hear from God and stay in His will for our lives.  How’s your spiritual habits?

Second, verses 19-24 talks about how our heart must be lined up with spiritual things.  After our outer actions reflect what God wants, then our inner actions start to come into line with God’s direction.  It talks about how we think about money and what we put into our brains. The verse talks about how the eyes let things into our brains. So think about what you are letting into your brain on a regular basis.  Does it honor God?

Lastly, verses 25-34 talk about worry.  It gets into the depths of our emotions, feelings from our past and fears about our future.  I love the last verse “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow.  Each day has enough trouble of it’s own.”

Yes, we must plan, but we must not worry beyond the right now and what we can control.  We must release what we don’t have control over to God.  When we start with God and put Him first with our whole hearts, we will find the rest of life falling wonderfully into place.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

Go and be blessed and be a blessing!

Serving God in Business

how to serve God in business imageHave you ever thought about your business as a way to serve God?

Your business is where you put your time and where your treasures build.  It is the main place where the actions in your life and spirit of God impact your community.

The Bible says we are called to make disciples. (see Matthew 28:19) It is an ongoing action.  In other words, we are to make disciples as we go.

When we own a business all that we do becomes a way to serve God and spread His word.  We are making disciples by being in business.

Take time today to reflect on your impact for Christ.

  • Are you striving to honor God and serve Him with all that you do?
  • How are you honoring God each day with the way you run your life and business?
  • What actions are you taking to make disciples as you go?

 

Take 10-30 minutes to really reflect on each of these questions. You may even want to adjust some of the day to day routines to better align with what God wants from you in your business.

In business, we serve God with the impact we make in changing lives. #Christianbusiness #Christianentrepreneur Click To Tweet

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Listen as you read along

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You may realize this passage is two sentences below the passage that reads, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”  This whole chapter is about love.

As a teenager, I heard this verse.  I thought to myself, “If all the Christians are dying for other people, then there wouldn’t be any Christians around to tell others about Jesus.”

That is a good point until you read the next verse, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?”

We must read scripture in context and see the meaning as a whole, not in just one random verse separated from its context.  In this passage, we are not talking about dying necessarily, we are talking about laying down our hearts and caring for others with our actions.

Jesus laid down his life because of His love for us.  Jesus took love to the farthest degree by laying down His life for us.  While we were yet sinners He died for us.  He asks us to love one another because of that love.

Let’s put this in the real world in our business for a moment.  When the budget gets tight in our business do we ‘lay down our life for our brothers and sisters?”  The reality is that when we truly care about those whom we lead in our business: employees, contract laborers, etc., we should be thinking about their lives as much as our own.

I know we are getting deep, but when we dive into the God’s word it digs down to the core of who we are.  If every Christian business owner had to read the verse about laying down their lives before making budget cuts, our businesses would be a lot different.

Now, back to our core verse for today.  We love not in words or speech but in actions and truth.  It is not enough to use your words only, but your actions must follow what you say.  We must act in love and in truth.

We are not always perfect, but people who know we are Christians look to us to see the way we run our lives.  For instance, if you get cut off in traffic, do you do the one finger wave or do you pray for that person?

We must realize that we live in a fallen world with a lot of hurt people.  We must rise above the hurt in our own lives to help others and love them as Jesus loves them.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. I John 3:18

sharing your faith in businesAs Christians in business, we always have opportunities to share the gospel of Christ.  You may not use the word evangelism, but in essence that is what you are doing each time you care for someone in your business and represent Christ to them.

Today, I am proud to share a bit of writing from a friend.  Justin James is starting a new ministry of evangelism.  He wrote a thought provoking article about what it takes to share your faith.

Here is an article from his evangelism blog:

The number one thing people want to know most about evangelism is what the best way is to evangelize. With so many evangelism programs out there, it can get confusing when it comes to choosing which one is the right one. Evangelism requires movement from us in prayer, love, sharing, and allowing the Holy Spirit to move. If you are looking for an easy way to evangelize, you are not going to find one. Jesus said to go, to all nations, to all people, and yes, that means even to your neighbor across the street. One of my favorite definitions of evangelism is Dr. John Mark Terry’s definition that he states in his book Church Evangelism: “Evangelism is presenting Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit so that people will become His disciples.”

It starts with Prayer

As Christians, we should start everything with prayer. That is right! Evangelism begins with prayer. Make a list of people you know that do not know Christ as Lord and Savior, and start praying for them daily. Pray that the Holy Spirit will move on their hearts and point them to Jesus. Be very specific in your prayers. The Lord will use this to work on your heart as well.

Another element of evangelism is loving people. The cornerstone of the Gospel is love. Your attitude is very important. It should show love and kindness even if someone gets crazy with you. The Gospel will make people feel uncomfortable. If someone starts to get a little too close, and you feel threatened, just walk away in love and start praying for them. When you are talking with people, you should love them to where you feel compelled to tell them about Jesus. Think about how many times you share with your friends about a great new movie or restaurant. You should have that same passion when sharing the Gospel.

Take time to learn how to share

There are so many wonderful evangelism programs like Roman Road, Evangelism Explosion, Share Jesus without Fear, FAITH, The Story, and much more. Make sure the program points to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Other than that, it does not matter which one you choose. What matters is that you use that method to help explain what Christ has done for us. These programs are tools to help us spread the Gospel, but they are more than that. They will help you have a greater understanding of the Gospel. Learn it to the point where you can go over the outline in your sleep. Keep in mind there is not a perfect program, just a perfect Savior.

Since evangelism is about proclaiming the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ to someone, we must learn how to proclaim. While I was dating Sophia, before we were married, all my friends knew how much I loved her, because I could not stop talking about her. My friends knew the closeness I had with her. The same thing should go for your relationship with Christ. People should know that you love Jesus because you cannot stop talking about Him. They should know the closeness you have with Him.

Don’t worry about rejection

You may ask, “What about the rejection that comes with talking about Christ?” As one pastor has put it, “If you are not being rejected because of your faith in Christ, then something is wrong with your faith.” There is a balance. Do not find yourself in left field doing something crazy or ludicrous, but also remember we are members of His Kingdom and we should not be ashamed of Christ.

Once you present the Gospel to someone, you must invite him or her to Christ. Remember this phrase, “proclaim and then invite.”

Be very clear in your message and then invite them to Christ. You can ask, “Would you like to receive Christ Today?” or “Are ready to make Jesus Lord and Savior of your life?” You must invite if you are going to proclaim. The saddest thing that can happen is for someone to have heard the Gospel message, and to have been ready to receive Christ, but never did, because they were never invited. Jesus always invited people to follow Him. We should never forget the invitation as part of evangelism.

Allow the Holy Spirit to move. The job of the Holy Spirit is to bring people to Christ. Evangelism is not a numbers game. It is about God transforming lives and knowing we have a secure place in heaven. Two things are 100% guaranteed in our lives: to be born and to die. The Lord may have placed you in the path of someone’s life just to tell him or her how Christ overcame sin on our behalf.  Romans 4:25 says, “He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” I hope these things will help you share our beautiful Lord and Savior with the world.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Justin James.

Here are some evangelism scriptures for reference:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:1-11
  • Acts 13:47
  • Mark 16:15
  • Acts 20:24
  • Romans 1:16
  • Psalm 105:1
  • 1 Peter 3:15
  • Matthew 28:19-20
  • Romans 10:17
  • Acts 1:8

 

There is no perfect way to share your faith. Only a perfect Savior to share. #ChristianBusiness #Christianentrepreneur #evangelism #evangelist Click To Tweet

Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham.” Luke 19:9

Listen to the lesson as you read along:

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(Right click here and “save as’ to download MP3 audio – 1 minutes 59 seconds)

You may remember this passage from a song in church.  I have heard it quite a few times myself, but I want us to get past the song and into the meat of what really happened in this story.

To summarize, Jesus was coming through town and a tax collector named Zacchaeus wanted to see Him. Zacchaeus was short and could not see over the crowd, so he climbed up a tree to get a good view.

Jesus stopped and looked at him.  He called Zacchaeus by name and told him that He was coming to eat at his house.  Zacchaeus came down and welcomed Jesus.

Let’s break this down.  Zacchaeus was a tax collector.  Tax collectors were known to rip people off to line their own pockets.  They were shrewd businessmen who were considered sinners by profession.

Here we have a business man who was hated in his community.  He wanted to be close to Jesus, but he had some limitations.  He took action to overcome those limitations and got a great view of the Jesus.

Jesus blessed this man by asking to eat with him.  Rarely do teachers, or Rabbi’s, eat with sinners, lest they become unclean.  Everyone muttered.

We don’t know the conversation, but because of the presence of Jesus, Zacchaeus wanted to make his business right.  He wanted to be honorable and offered to pay back any money he had cheated. He paid back four times, which was a customary recompense.

Zacchaeus overcame his limitations and his reputation.  He took action to get as close to Jesus as he could and because of that encounter, he lined his up his business to be in line with Jesus’ teachings.

I don’t know if you have ever thought about Zacchaeus being a business owner.  If we look at it in that context we see a man reaching out to Jesus.  Jesus comes into his house and because of that one encounter his life and his business is changed forever.

How often do you reach out to Jesus and push past your limitations?  Have you allowed Jesus into your house and into your business so deeply that your actions are changed?  If not, call out to Jesus and let Him into your business partner and your house.  Make your business a kingdom business and hear Jesus’ words:

“Today salvation has come to this house.” Luke 19:9a

 

how to set goalsSet goals that work.

As Christian business owners, we must set goals in order to accomplish what God has in store for us.  God wants us to succeed and He will give us the vision if you ask for it.

Below is a simple 3 step process to create goals to actually work.  Though we don’t talk about business goals because each business is significantly different, these principles can apply to any business goal you may have.

 

Focus on one goal at a time

If you have ever set New Year’s resolutions, you that too many goals at once will not work. You must set one goal and stick to that goal until it becomes a habit.  It is that simple. Pick one goal and make it a habit.  Take time to pray about your goal and see what God has in store for you.

Let’s say you want to lose weight, make more money and take a vacation.  That is three goals.  Pick one and create habits to help you accomplish that one goal.  If it is losing weight, you may want to start exercising, eating better and drinking more water.  That is three habits for one goal: focus.

 

Break Your Goal Down

Though I do not suggest eating elephants, the ol’ saying goes, “How do you eat an elephant?”  The answer, “One bite at a time.”  Once you have one goal, break it down into ‘bitesized’ chunks.

Let’s say you want to go to the gym as part of losing weight. Set up the simple steps you need to get started:

  1. Find a gym close by.
  2. Apply to the gym.
  3. Set up a routine at the gym with a free session from the staff.

Or maybe you want to stay at home for a fitness routine:

  1. Set up a place to work out.
  2. Get an outline to basic exercises you plan on doing: Youtube, Online Print Out, App, etc.
  3. Buy any needed basic supplies: weights, mats, etc.

 

Those three simple steps just got you started.  If you get those accomplished in week one, you have some momentum to get you to the next week.  Write these down and check them off.  The sense of accomplishment will help you stick to that goal.

Then, as you start going to the gym, start every other day, or twice a week.  Then add a day each week until you are doing some exercise each and every day. You just need to schedule your day and make it a habit.

 

Take Action on Your Goals

Now that you have you goal broken down.  Start taking action.  Make it easy for yourself to take action.

If your goal is to eat healthy, take time once a week to prepare and plan healthy meals.  Get rid of all unhealthy foods so you are not tempted.  That is a step one.  Check it off, see what you have already accomplished!

Let me give one more example, let’s say you want to go to the gym more regularly.  Set a specific time each day.  Put an alarm on your phone for a reminder. Set out your workout clothes each night for the next day.  Get a partner to hold you accountable or hire a fitness coach.  All of these become routine and routines become habit.

Conclusion

The more you can make your action steps a simple routine, the more they become a habit.  When a goal goes from ‘I have to do this’ to “Oh, this is what I do” you have won the game of setting goals.

Goals are simple if you make them part of who you are.  Praying and setting goals that would honor Him is always a good start.  God wants us to be healthy, we just have to believe we can be healthy.  God wants us to be successful, we just have to believe we can do what God called us to do.

God called you into business.  Set your goals, focus, break them down and take action.  The rest will fall in line.

 

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And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

Listen to the lesson as you read along:

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(Right click here and “save as’ to download MP3 audio – 1 minutes 59 seconds)

 

Today let’s look at a snapshot of Jesus when He was young.  Starting in verse 41 we see a Jesus as a 12 year old.  Let’s see what we can learn about growth from Him for our lives.

The setting of this story is a yearly festival called Passover.  Jesus went through the festival just like everyone else.  Yet after the festival young Jesus stays behind.  He is found in the temple courts listening and asking questions.

His parents come back to find Him there and they are concerned because they missed Him and were worried.  Jesus’ answer was profound, “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Jesus may have only been 12 at the time, but we can learn a lot from this small passage of scripture.  Even as a child He knew His purpose was to do God’s will.

First, Jesus followed the customs of His people.  He readily joined in the celebrations and worshiped God along with His family.  But, this tradition was not enough for Jesus.  He wanted more.

He stayed behind to learn more.  He sat among the experts who knew more than He did.  He listened to how they taught.  He even asked questions of those people and expected an answer.

As Christian business owners, we are usually the top-dog in our businesses.  Everyone looks up to us.  If we want to grow, we must get out of our comfort zone and get around those from whom we can learn.  We must find the experts and those who are in line with God.  We must commit to learn always.

Jesus asked questions.  Even as an adult in the midst of His ministry here on earth we see Him always asking questions.  There is power in questions.  We seek to understand, learn and grow.  We help others see the truths around them and we are found to be open to what God is doing.

We must not get caught up in doing what we have always done.  We must open our lives up to God and what He wants for us.  Jesus went directly to God’s house.  He asked questions and listened for answers.

If you want to grow, ask questions, listen for answers and always be about your Father’s business.  Find time to really seek out what God wants for your life and your business.  Follow these steps and you will grow like Jesus did here on earth.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52