Toyota became a top car manufacturer in this world after just a few decades of existence. They ascribe it, at least to a large part, to the culture of kaizen which they have. What is that? It means ‘continuous improvement.’ This is the key to their success.
It is interesting that this is something that the Lord wants from the children of God. They are to constantly improve in the expression of godliness and holiness in their lives. Peter expresses it so well.
Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge… godliness…, brotherly kindness, and… love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 NASB
We are to constantly improve in our spiritual lives, no matter how well we think we are already doing. Anyone who thinks he is doing OK and so does not need improvement is actually in bad shape. It is called pride, and it is usually followed by a downfall (1 Cor 10:12, Prov 16:18).
My personal testimony at this time is as follows.
The Lord has worked on me and my wife too so greatly in the last year so as to remove from us every trust that we may have in ourselves, in structures and in others. The Lord seems to have been working in recent months on us to ensure we trust in nobody apart from Him. It is not that we ever wanted to trust in any of these or deliberately did so; it is just that the Lord goes after any vestiges of what may be trust in them. There are different types of worship/trust in things. There is the overt one, which we all easily understand, but there is the subtle one that only the Lord sees, and which even the person may not believe is there.
If I have looked at the sun when it shone, Or the moon going in splendor,
And my heart became secretly enticed, And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,
That too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, For I would have denied God above. Job 31:26-28 NASB
Notice in these verses above that Job was saying everyone knew he never openly worshipped the great lights, but he also explained that there was a chance that someone could do a subtle worship by looking in admiration to these things and blowing a kiss when no one is looking. It appears to me that it is such trust in any other thing apart fom Him that the Lord was going after. Such things are so subtle, the Lord has to show us they are there when they are. No wonder David had to request of the Lord to search him; "see if there be any hurtful way in me," he prayed (Ps 139:23,24). He didn't feel there was anything hurtful or anxious in him, but he couldn't depend on his own assessment but had to go to the Lord to do the checking.
What do I mean?
I am someone who tries to trust in the Lord, but sometimes the heart recollects some of those advantages one has and which could be useful. But the Lord said it has be in Him alone that we hope, and in no one and in nothing else.
Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. Ps 73:25 KJV
I have seen the Lord carefully removing any secret hope I had in things, in my skills and abilities, connections, personal wisdom, etc. When I would make some plans thinking, "that should work this way", I have been quick to notice that those things refused to work, even though every natural reasoning dictated otherwise. My wife and I experienced these things so much in just a few months that I realized that the Lord was pointing out and curing every little trust in man and other things apart from Him. And for this we have been grateful.
The word of the Lord has been made clearer yet again. He said, "cursed is the one who trusts in man;" this means that the degree of the curse we experience is connected to the depth of trust we have in people.
We are to trust in the Lord alone.
When you are making plans, do not have any assurance based on anything apart from on the goodness and mercy of God? You must not think your good academic degree will get you a job, or the fact that you are connected to a big man who promised. I have learnt not to hope in the promises of man, but only in the word of God. When you need help, do not think of any persons but think of the promises of God. "My help comes from the Lord who made the heavens and the earth.”
The Lord has taught me again not to even remotely hope in any other thing. That is why we must pray all the time. As the Lord Jesus, and also Paul, commanded, we are to be praying at all times (Lk 18:1, Rom 12:12). I have noticed that this is a sign that our faith is not in any other person but in God. If we follow what Solomon said in this verse below, then we are walking by faith.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. Prov 3:5-8 GNT
Every little vestige of relying on my knowledge and ability, on people I know, I reject totally. I do not thing I am wise, but at all times I commit my matters to the Lord, and He will direct me and bring his results out in my life. That is my decision. I have come to understand what Paul meant when he said,
Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 2 Cor 1:9 NKJV
This has been my most recent improvement: it is Him and no one else. Nothing is predictable on the basis of what I know, what I can do, or the people that are with me. I trust in His mercy and grace alone and at all times; I know He will bring forth my righteousness like the noon day sun.
Let me further explain.
Many times I have heard certain kinds of counsel or considered certain ways of doing things; thank God I have largely refused to heed them or act on them. Now, even though I didn’t act on these things, I guess I still believed them to certain extents. My refusal to act on them was for other reasons. My most important reason usually would be that I believed they were not the specific plan of God for my life.
Let me give an example.
I run a teaching ministry, and we hold meetings twice weekly at our office, which has a small sized studio-hall. The meetings have grown over the years. Hundreds have passed through, and hundreds do come at least twice monthly to come study and pray with us. The counsel I have received many times is to start a church, with Sunday services and all, something I have perceived again and again as not being the plan of God. The reasoning a lot of times has been that if we can draw this number of people when it is not a church and without Sunday services, imagine what it would be like if it were a full church. People have told me or sent my wife to me that I would be able to reach more people like that, as most Christians are not willing to come out except on Sundays. See, I have always rejected that counsel because I was helped by the Lord to understand the difference between a church and a ministry. They are not that easily inter-convertible, and of course, God has a plan for each person. A ministry is basically what you are personally sent to do while a church is an aggregation of believers working together for a common purpose, not specifically on one person's assignment. Kingdom-Word Ministries is a ministry and converting it to a church was not the will of God. That was my reason for not going that way. All other personal advantages that may be looked at, I considered sin. But I suspect that deep inside I still felt that if it were a church we would have more people even though it didn't matter in the least bit to me, and I was not going to do it. Bear in mind that I consciously didn’t really accept that calculation because I understood that it was the Lord that moved people. He’s the one that would compel people to come if He so desires. If you use gimmicks to get people, the Lord would let them come, but would not stop the troubles that are attached to such gimmicking,as it is written, "He gave them their request but sent leanness into their soul."
Now, every little vestige of believing such calculations in me was removed when the Lord decided to confirm what I always knew to be the truth. How? Simple; I was told the story of a man who ran a ministry like mine years ago in the same city, but who heeded such counsel to convert it to a church. When he did, the crowd dispersed and the church did not prosper, and there was no ministry any more.
The Lord also used other occurrences to let me know that my name is not a crowd puller. It is God that moves people. When the crowd left John the Baptist and went to Jesus, many people were jealous for John and they began to stir up friction. John cautioned them with a word of truth.
A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven John 3:27 NASB
I pray that many pastors who fight over member will realize this.
Anyway, I became firm in what I always knew. I realized with more conviction that only the Lord can give progress in ministry. Promos, connections, PR, branding, money, etc, do not give progress; these things cannot make a ministry grow. Whatever you want, here is the word concerning how to get it.
Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance. Ps 2
It is trusting in the Lord totally that is the way forward.
I could tell many stories, both of myself and of other people. But in all I have learnt that ONLY in the Lord are righteousness and strength (Is 45:24).
Your most trusted financial partner can be caused by God to disappoint you if you subtly start relying on him or her. A pastor was testifying the other day of a new branch of their church they began to work on. To his amazement, the two most anointed people who agreed to start the work with them just neglected to contribute anything. He did not get angry, but just like me, he learnt to rely on God more. He said, next time he would go, so to speak, without purse or scrip, and definitely not greeting any man on the way, just like the Lord told the apostles (Lk 10:4). He realized that even though he was trusting God, there was still a bit of the darkness of trusting in ‘reliable’ Man in him. He had learnt not to trust Man generally, but unconsciously he was trusting in people who in previous times had proved reliable. But God will always separate light from darkness. The darkness of trusting in flesh had to go.
There are no hard cast iron principles when it comes to business success; it is depends on the Lord granting success. Each breakthrough is a separate gift of God. There are no principles that work. Location doesn’t guarantee great sales. Promo does not grant great sales. We are often defeated when we rely on the methods which the Lord used to bless us before or to bless other people. It is called taking the name of the Lord and placing it on a vain thing, which is breaking of the spirit of the 3rd commandment.
We often look at the success or victory of someone in business or ministry, and we immediately start looking at the methods. We are building idols and putting the name of the Lord on them. Each victory is a gift of God. By faith we understand that the victories were framed by a spirit carried by the word of God, and not by the outward methods used. Faith teaches us to understand what is true. All flesh is always grass, the methods of people are nothing but grass. Even it seemed to work, it was because that was what the Lord was doing at the particular point in time. Next time the Lord may be using a different method. Sticking with the same method as before is what is called idolatry and violating the spirit of the 3rd comandmemnt. With Moses, the rod produced water once, but next time the Lord said I want to respond to the spoken word. Moses did not do as was told, and he died for it. It is idolatry.
Please watch out that you are totally trusting in Him and not subtly blowing kisses to the sun and the moon in their brightness.
Are you blowing kisses to worldly business principles?
Are you blowing kisses to political connections? You visit too many people who can help.
Are you blowing kisses at your parents' wealth and the inheritance they could or would leave for you? No wonder you have been afraid to offend them, and have not been obeying the will of God fully.
Are you blowing kisses at your own anointing to get the ministry done? Ah, man of God, being anointed is different from success in ministry. Every desired thing must be received from God. Do not turn your stones to bread. Do not use misuse your anointing because you trust so much in it. Do not use it to raise money! Being anointed does not mean you must have political influence.
I remember learning that as a minister of the word, if you are spiritually resourceful, people will give to you. But I have learnt that even though there is the correct principle that Christians should give to the person who blessed them, the one minister is not allowed to put his hope in that principle. He must state his desires to the Lord and to him alone, otherwise his eyes will be in the wrong place. David sang of the right thing to do:
To Thee I lift up my eyes,
O Thou who art enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress;
So our eyes look to the Lord our God,
Until He shall be gracious to us. Ps 123:1-2 NASB
The minister must go on offering ministry without charge and without disappointment when he is denied. He is to receive things when given to him but must never place his hope in them. A big church does not translate to a rich pastor; that would be corruption. A pastor of a small church who knows how to trust the Lord for money will have much more than the pastor of a large and rich church who doesn’t.
One thing that the Lord has done for me is to bring help from the most unlikely places, and to do things that I was not expecting at that time. I have learnt again to trust in Him and in Him alone. I lift is His word every day in my heart and on my lips. That is the way He wants it.
By Moneme Richard on 05 Dec, 2016
I've been blessed by the massage, but I want to ask: If one applies for a job, will it be wrong to talk to someone who can facilitate it or jst leave it in God's hands or still believe God and talk to the person. Regards
If you indeed have prayed and are trusting the Lord, it is better to not bother anyone about it. The Lord always rewards faith, even if not in that job you are applying for. He will always bless those who trust in Him.
By Joe on 05 Dec, 2016
Thanks for the instruction. God bless you sir.
By shekinah on 22 Dec, 2016
My boss doesn't operate godly business principles and this is running down the business despite giving her godly counsels, she refused to change.
It is difficult to counsel about whether this is a good time to leave the business. If you think you can contribute something to help the business survive, then it is good to stay despite the difficulty. But if you feel you are not able to make any positive impact, then it may be better to move on.
By OSAR' on 26 Dec, 2016
It's like you taught, when you need something, "put pressure" on the word. I did exactly this yesterday and I have a testimony to show for it, waaay beyond my expectation.