Workplace Devotionals

March 22, 2010

7 Habits, Part I

Filed under: Uncategorized — ejwcpa @ 5:24 pm
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I thought it would be interesting to see if I could take a popular business/self-help book and see if the principles taught in the book are supported by the Bible, as most truths in the world are in the Bible, since the Bible is God’s word and God created the world.  I looked at the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” and though I haven’t read it, I skimmed through a summary online.  It’s funny, because the main premise of the book is that “change starts from within” which couldn’t be more Biblical principal.  Jesus teaches us to love God with our heart soul and mind, Paul writes that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind.

The first habit described in the book is “Be Proactive.”  This is a Biblical principal in a number of different ways.  For one, simply stay informed and study your word to be prepared for temptation.  Learn the word of God before the trials start.  Imagine Jesus going into the desert without knowing his word: “You’re right devil, those rocks do look tasty, I wonder if there’s a verse for that?”  Jesus tells a great parable in Matthew 25 of being prepared.

The wise virgins, who were proactive, in bringing oil with them, were invited in, whereas the virgins who were reactive – waiting until they were out of oil to buy more – missed out on the banquet.  In our workplace, being proactive allows us to catch small issues before they become large problems and allow us to properly train and set up systems before busy times arrive.

The second habit is “To begin with the end in mind.”  Goals must not just be on a day to day basis but goals must be long term.  You may practice this at work through annual goal setting or development plans.  You may practice this at home with setting a budget and saving for education and retirement.  In Matthew 4, we see the first time that Jesus begins preaching, after a quotation from scripture, verse 17 states:  “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.’”  At least according to Matthew, Jesus’ preaching began with the end in mind, the coming of the kingdom of heaven.  Many of Jesus’ parables also teach about what the “kingdom of heaven” is like.  Jesus’ ministry was focused on the end.  Conversely, there are times in the Bible with people trying to start out who have no long term goal.  John 21 tells the story of the disciples following Jesus’ death.  Though they had seen Jesus resurrected, they still did not get what to do, they didn’t yet understand the calling that God had for them to be the leaders, so they just went back to fishing.  What I assume to be later, at the ascension, Jesus gives them the great commission, laying out the goal to them, bringing the gospel to all nations.  Obviously the end goal was a goal bigger than they could accomplish in their lifetimes, but through their work, the gospel was brought to all nations.  Which brings me to another point, which is that sometimes the goals God gives us may be beyond our lifetimes.  Take the end goal given to Abraham, a great nation, the Promised Land, and descendants that outnumbered the stars.  As Hebrews 11:13 points out Abraham and others “were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.

The third habit is to “Put first things first” or “to prioritize.”  Our priority as Christians is obvious.  “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” in Matthew 6:33.  When Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is, the command is quite simple, Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  And for a second priority, Jesus gives us Leviticus 19:18, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Jesus asks us to put these two things — love God, love your neighbor – first because he knows that with your priorities rightly focused, all other things will fall into place.  You won’t murder or steal if you love your neighbor.  You won’t worship false idols if you love God.

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