Peace in the Workplace

James 1:22  

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

When you struggle against the negativity that surrounds us these days, you wonder how anyone can live in peace. After you’ve prayed for that complainer you work with and she doesn’t seem to change, you wonder how to deal with it.

There is a way to have peace in the work place. James 1:25 reminds us, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”  God blesses us when we take action on what he’s said. James 1:22 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

We pray to our “Dear Heavenly Father” because he’s our parent who has instructed us and expects us to listen and do what he says. That’s Parenting 101. He expects us to obey him just like we expect our kids to obey us.

God wants us to be students of his wisdom. We should be learning individually and in gatherings so we can apply and perform what we learn in the Bible. Our job is to love God and love people. We can do a much better job of that when we’re continually refiling our inner storehouse with God’s wisdom.  

When a new problem appears, we have to find a new tool or a rarely used one from our inner storehouse. If we practice using the tools of Courage, Resilience, Attentiveness, Patience, and Flexibility, we’ll be better at using them when they’re needed.

Do not limit yourself to just your local Bible study. Continue in your church’s Bible study, but add to that knowledge by reading helpful books. My book, Heroine: Rising to the Challenge, helps people develop these tools and feel stronger and more peaceful when problems arise. I created a free Mini-Guide that helps you record your journey so you can remember what worked, what didn’t, and what would be a better plan for next time.

It’s better to practice doing what you’ve read in the Bible and find a new approach to a recurring problem.

You can have peace in the workplace, even if you’ve already tried prayer. Don’t give up. God is still there.

Give to Widows and Orphans

James 1:27

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. 

I am blessed by God to have a good husband and loving children. I’ve enjoyed decades of marriage to a man who has been intentional with giving away a portion of his income. We’ve sponsored children living in poor areas and orphans living in Africa. We’ve supported the poor in our home town and in other countries by online giving or by giving face-to-face.  

The examples I describe in this blog are designed to encourage others to give from the heart. I do this because I want others to feel the same exhilaration from sharing a valuable gift with those who need it.

It always feels good to give to someone who obviously appreciates the gift. We’ve never given to be seen by man, but rather to obey the leading of God. It makes a difference.

Being obedient to God in giving opens up exciting opportunities for the giver. As God trains us in the obedience part, he can reward us with some surprises.

Do you know an elderly woman who needs a little support from neighbors? Your gift doesn’t have to be money. You can offer to make a grocery run for her or let her borrow a book she finds interesting. Your gift of comforting conversation will mean a lot to a widow.

Who knows? She might turn out to be the friend you’ve always wanted.

Humility is the Key to Honor

Proverbs 15:33 
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.

In my humility series, I explained that humility is the fear of the Lord. Showing respect for God and other people is how you exercise your humility. We found out that with humility comes wisdom. When you use your wisdom to make decisions that help people and honor the Lord, your wisdom increases.

In the first chapter of Second Chronicles, we read where Solomon used wisdom to ask for wisdom. That showed that he knew how to live in humility and wisdom.

But God gave him honor too. Why?

It’s all about the humility.

In James 3:13, we read, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." Good deeds done in humility are the red flags that make others aware of your wisdom. If you’re not wise, you won’t have any red flags.

First comes humility. Then with it, comes wisdom. And then comes honor.

Who would you respect more? The person who yells for others to respect him or the person who shows respect to others? Honor only comes to those who have earned it.

The conditions have to be right for honor to show up. We honor those who earned that honor by showing their humility and wisdom.

Solomon had enough wisdom to ask for more wisdom. That proved that he was humble. That’s why God let him know he’d be getting honor as well. The conditions were right for the honor to make an appearance.

Don’t look for honor. Look for humility first, and honor will find you.

Humility is the Key to Wisdom

Proverbs 11:2 
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

I’ve covered the importance of humility by debunking some myths. Before I move on, I’d like to summarize that series because it’s crucial information before learning about wisdom.

Humility is about high respect toward God. Humbling yourself is a voluntary act or a decision like picking out clothes and dressing yourself every day. It takes place as you step down from the throne of your heart and ask God to occupy the place of honor. Humility is shown in the wisdom of respectfully serving others.

Now that you have humility, let’s find out about wisdom because it comes with humility as an extra bonus.

First, you need to know that you already have a small amount of wisdom. You were born with it. We read in Psalm 51:6, “Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”

God taught us wisdom in the womb. You were born with wisdom just like you were born with arms and legs. If you decide not to use your arms and legs, you’re limited in what you can do. If you decide not to use your God-given wisdom, you will not strengthen the wisdom you have. If you don’t use wisdom, you’re a fool.

If you can’t lift your luggage, you don’t need more muscles, just stronger ones. You should start with small weights and use the arm strength you have. Then add more weight and keep using your muscles until they get bigger. Strengthening wisdom is like strengthening muscles. You have to use it. If you don’t have enough wisdom for your current life decisions, you should use your wisdom until it gets stronger.

If that’s still not enough, you need help getting better, stronger wisdom. So how do you get it?

If you lack wisdom, ask God who gives freely.

We read in James 1:5, “if any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

This describes God becoming your personal trainer. He helps you strengthen your wisdom so your decisions are easier to handle.

Solomon showed us that asking God for wisdom really works. In 2 Chronicles 1:11-12, God said to Solomon, “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, possessions or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, possessions and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have.”

Solomon’s humility helped him use his wisdom to ask for better wisdom. This helped him handle all of the decisions he knew would be coming his way.

Humility, part three

Philippians 2:3 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves. 

This humility series helped Bob understand what humility is all about and how to put it into action in his life. Now Bob has a question. He wants to know if anyone can see the fruit of his efforts. 

How do you see humility in people? 

Myth #3: Humility means letting others crush your self-worth. 

We can take a lesson from King Solomon who didn’t have a self-worth problem, but was the wisest person who has ever lived on this planet. When God told him to ask for anything, he could have asked for money to spend on earthly pleasures, but he didn’t. His humility helped him ask for the wisdom to serve God’s people well.

Once you’ve humbled yourself and asked God for wisdom, start acting like you’re wise by respecting others and valuing others above yourself. That is how Solomon treated those he was in charge of when he asked for wisdom from God. He knew the people he would govern were valuable to God. He felt responsible to God for their good treatment. 

You can be a great leader and serve in humility.

If you have any wisdom in you, you have enough humility to ask for more wisdom. Treating people with kindness is showing wisdom. And when you act in wisdom, people see your humility. 

Thanks for seeking God with me.

Humility, part two

1 Peter 5:5 

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Last week, we tried to help Bob learn what humility is all about. Now that he understands the concept, he wants to take action. 

How do you humble yourself? 

Myth #2: Humility means letting others smack you down.

No, you don’t have to get smacked down.

Humbling yourself takes place as a willing and voluntary act of leaving the place of honor in your own life. When you lift God to your heart’s high place of honor, you have to step down. 

There are those who have held tightly to their place of honor, making it their own throne, only to be smacked down by life’s humbling surprises. When they see the light of truth, they realize they had no business making themselves the king of their heart’s high place of honor.

Better to step down, than be smacked down. 

In Colossians 3:12, we read, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." We’re supposed to be surrounding ourselves with these positive character traits. We're supposed to be proactive and put them on. 

Humility is something you dress yourself in. You already pick out clothes to wear each day that make you look nice. You can also pick out which character traits you want others to see you wearing. You can choose humility over arrogance every time you speak, act, or are tempted to show a little attitude. 

Humility, part one

Proverbs 22:4

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

Bob has been accused of not listening and being a know-it-all. Bob might be a good candidate for a lesson in humility. Why is this a good idea for Bob? Because it’s better for Bob to humble himself, rather than being surprised when someone else teaches him a lesson in humility.

Bob needs humility. How can we help Bob humble himself? First, Bob needs to know what humility really is.

Myth #1: Humility is putting yourself down.

It’s not about self-criticism. It’s not about attention-getting, over-the-top, fake submissiveness.

Humility is the fear of the Lord.

I don’t believe the Bible teaches us to be afraid of God. To me, the fear of the Lord is about bowing from your heart in reverential respect. You experience the fear of the Lord when you’re so devoted to God that you want all of your thoughts and actions to honor him.

It’s about knowing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords and being aware that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Jesus. If Jesus is the ultimate authority and you don’t show him honor and respect, then you don’t have humility.

Next week: Humility, part two

Unexpected Blessings

Ruth 3:10

“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz wasn’t a handsome young Prince Charming. He was a kind man who noticed a foreigner working in his fields with his servants. He fed her and told his employees to be kind to her also. When she followed her mother-in-law’s instruction to visit him later at the threshing floor, he was happy to see her.

Boaz saw her beauty when he noticed her in the field. But he had to come to realization that she was his happiness. She made him aware that night when she came to see him that having her for a wife would be pleasant enough.

Sometimes it takes a man a while to see that honoring a woman and being respectful are just the first steps in a long-term relationship. Usually a man is focused on his business and has to adjust his perspective to see what God has given him.

It is so beautiful when a family comes together. Many times that blessing blooms from the seeds of honor and respect.