Temptation is everywhere and we all know it! Sometimes it shows itself at Costco when we see a “deal that we can’t pass up” or it shows up at work when we don’t need to “tell the whole story” or we agree to get “creative with the accounting” because our boss told us to. I’d like to talk about the type of temptations that shape us as people, not those that tempt our waistlines or will power like a donut or one more glass of wine. The people in our lives, the experiences that we’ve had and what we’ve been taught all shape our morals and values. Values are the inner judgments that determine how we will behave and morals are about how we execute those judgments. While some people interchange those definitions, it is clear that they both influence how we behave.
When we don’t experience negative consequences from “deceiving or cheating” our brain stamps it, “okay for use again”. We will continue to deceive ourselves until there are consequences and we are forced to “re-learn” to do it right. The best way to continue to train our brains is to keep doing the right thing, even when no one is looking; be should be people of integrity. If we give in, we are only deceiving ourselves and that will have life-long implications.
Romans 13:12 – “…let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”
An armor of light sounds awesome, doesn’t it? I envision a brilliant white, shining armor chest plate and a matching shield. What can’t you defend off with such protection? We know, of course, that the white armor is the protection given to us from our savior, Jesus Christ. He has clothed us in white as we go through our lives “not guilty” of sin because of His sacrifice for us. We must guard that our light does not dim and remain true to our Father, God in Heaven and to His Son, our savior.
Our light dims every time we submit to darkness. When we do not live, as God wants us to, we dim our light. The good news however is that our confession of those sins and our faith in Jesus Christ allows our light to shine brightly once more. We all know people who have fallen in to darkness. We have a responsibility to shine our light on their lives and show them the way. Reassure them that they too, can put on an armor of light by turning their lives back toward God and then “get fitted for their suit” through Jesus Christ. We do not ever have to live in darkness; Jesus is our light.
Unfortunately, there are times in our work lives that we will be supervised by someone who doesn’t do a good job of showing how much they care about us or worse, they literally just don’t care. The first type of person is far easier to work for than the later and honestly, the ones who don’t know how to show it are most prevalent in the workplace these days. As the Baby Boomers are leaving the workplace and Gen Xer’s are now supervising people, today’s workplace can become a little frustrating. This type of working environment puts the responsibility on us if we want to make “work” a little more enjoyable. We’ll need to create a little window of opportunity to tell our boss what we want to accomplish, how they can help or what we think we will need to be successful.
The higher up the “ladder” a supervisor goes, the less they pay attention to the things that their people need and we need to remind them that we’re here. Author John Maxwell describes 360º leadership in his book with the same title; we can use this as a tool to help us achieve goals that we have set for ourselves. Being forward with our own supervisor is not something that feels natural but when we are dealing with our own future and needs, sometimes we need to push a little. If you are a leader, don’t forget to take care of your own needs, just as the cobbler’s kids have no shoes. God put you in this place and at this time for a reason, ask questions and seek opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Luke 11:9 – “So I say to you: ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
We are taught here to ask the Lord for what we need. We need to learn to put our trust in God so that He can deliver us what we need. The real truth of the matter is that what God delivers is not always what we want or plan for but what we need. Sometimes God gives us pain or suffering for our growth, other times he gives us joy and peace. Despite our belief in our own greatness, God knows what we need.
Another thing that frustrates us is that God will not do it on our timeline but on His. Today, with the microwave we cook faster, with the DVR we get television on our schedule and the Internet gives us information in an instant. This verse reminds us to ask, seek and knock on the doors that God provides. Behind some doors are scary opportunities in which we feel alone in our thoughts and in our decision. God promised not to leave you. He gave us His only Son in order to keep you close and we should never forget that. Pray and have patience, He will open the door for you.