Believers in business have an unfair competitive advantage that few recognize and even fewer leverage.
I see it every day. Faithful Christian business leaders work incredibly long, hard hours yet fail to unleash their unfair advantage with its unlimited potential to create, design, build, innovate, sell, engage, redefine and dominate their market space for God's glory.
Sadly, this unfair advantage is readily available. What are we missing? What are we not recognizing?
Our Misguided Thinking
To unleash our advantage, we must first recognize two glaring truths. First, Satan leads the world of business. As soon as you leave the anointed, safe confines of your church, you enter enemy territory (John 12:31; Eph. 2:1-5, 6:12). The enemy bombards everyone in business, saved and unsaved, with the same thoughts, ideas, best practices, trends and misguided wisdom. In his vicious, winner-take-all corporate environment, he seeks to steal, kill and destroy anyone or any business he can (John 10:10)—especially those led by Christians (1 Pet. 5:8).
Second, within this enemy environment, it is incredibly easy for us to be misled—just like our unsaved competitors. Here are seven primary ways any believer in business can be misled:
- Head-led leaders crave reports, research, spreadsheets and critical thinking to make decisions.
- Money-led leaders allow everything financial (cash flow, profit margin, EBITDA) to drive decisions.
- Opportunity-led leaders jump at every open door as a sign. "This must be from the Lord," they say. They fix their sights on the next big break, strategic alliance and every unexpected offering as a "divine appointment."
- Pressure-led leaders claim to work better in emergency or crisis situations. They delay decisions until the very last second, often with fear and uncertainty.
- Feeling-led leaders constantly assess their emotions before making a move. Statements like "It just does not feel right" or "This feels really good" reflect their decision-making criteria.
- Innovation-led leaders are enamored with the latest technology platform, upgrade, software, website design, marketing technique or any other "cool" idea.
- Expert-led leaders quickly embrace the latest management fad or idea gleaned from a conference speaker, industry magazine or business book. Their teams are often inundated with implementing new and hot but oft-irrelevant ideas.
These are the primary ways 95 percent or more of unsaved business leaders are led—by anything other than the Spirit of God.
Our Unfair Advantage
The frightening reality is that the vast majority of born-again, Spirit-filled business leaders are led just as the unsaved are. It is incredibly easy for us to get drawn into being led by these same methods. And when we do, we have no distinct competitive advantage as we battle within enemy territory only with our feelings and flesh.
Here is the good news: All believers have an oft-untapped, unlimited, all-powerful, unfair advantage in business and in life—one we can fully leverage to maximize eternal kingdom impact.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. ... The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God" (Rom. 8:14, 16).
Believers in business who are led by the Spirit of God have within them the One who can:
- Direct your path (Prov. 3:4-5).
- Help you and lives within you forever (John 14:16).
- Guide you in all truth (John 14:17, 16:13a).
- Teach you all things (John 14:26a).
- Bring to your remembrance all things He said to you (John 14:26b).
- Tell you things to come (John 16:13).
- Reveal to you the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10).
- Freely give you all things (1 Cor. 2:12).
- Offer you the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16).
The greatest business decision you will ever make is to purpose in your heart to always and only be led by the Holy Spirit. So how can you make this big shift—from being a world-led business leader to a Spirit-led business leader?
Here are six keys to unleashing the power of Holy Spirit in your business:
"His mother said to the servants, 'Whatever He says to you, do it'" (John 2:5).
It takes practice to excel in anything, from sports to parenting to business. Start small by asking the Holy Spirit "should I" questions such as:
- "Should I meet with this person or that person?"
- "Should I attend this meeting?"
- "Should I call this customer now? If not now, when?"
- "Should I go to lunch here or there? What should I order—this or that?
As you do, you begin to fine-tune your inner witness to recognize His voice, His promptings, His desires.
2) Check before you act.
"Then Jesus answered and said to them, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner" (John 5:19).
Jesus checked everything He was about to do with the Father. He never let the pressure of the situation dictate His response. The best example is the pressure-packed example of the adulterous woman. In John 8:3-9, in the middle of preaching to the temple crowd, religious leaders interrupt His sermon, march down the aisle with a scantily clad woman caught in the act of adultery—a setup for sure. With stones in their hands, they demanded Jesus answer a question with two bad options: kill her, which destroys His message of love and salvation, or let her go, disobeying the law.
An angry mob, an anxious crowd, a scared and embarrassed woman—the crowd knew someone was going to die, either the woman, Jesus or both. Now that was pressure!
So what did Jesus do? Answer immediately? Ask them clarifying questions? Worry, fret or show anxiety? No, He slowed down, knelt to write in the dirt, blocked out these distractions, ignored their repetitive requests for an answer and checked in His spirit for what to do. His response was nothing short of a revelation from heaven.
As you practice, you lay the foundation to check in your spirit for the Holy Spirit's direction, oftentimes a revelation from the Father on your next step.
3) Seek a witness.
"It seems good to me also" (Luke 1:3a).
"For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us" (Acts 15:28a).
Strong's Concordance defines the word "witness" as "to jointly testify; corroborate by concurrent evidence; bear joint witness." There are two levels of witness. First, it can be singular—your spirit bearing with the Holy Spirit inside you. That was Luke's witness to write his letter.
Second, the witness can be with another believer, where the Holy Spirit in you bears witness with Himself living in the other person. This is what occurred at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, where it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and all the preachers together.
Seeking a co-witness to corroborate your witness is fine. Ultimately, however, as the leader, the decision is yours and yours alone.
4) Quench not the Spirit.
"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit" (1 Thess. 5:16-19).
Let's all agree that there is a way to quench the Spirit. I've done it plenty of times and so have you. We do it by ignoring Him (Mark 8:18), smothering Him (Luke 10:40) or grieving Him (Eph. 4:30). So how does this look in your business? Consider these situations, when:
- The facts say one thing, but the Spirit says another.
- The experts say one thing, but the Spirit says another.
- You decide to move forward come hell or high water.
- You stubbornly cling to the belief that failure is not an option.
- You refuse to seek a co-witness.
- You allow a longtime customer's rudeness and profanity to insult your employees.
- You turn your head as your top salesman cheats on his wife.
When you sense the move of the Spirit in your business, allow Him to flow. Don't quench His move to guide, direct and improve all you do.
5) Don't be moved.
"But none of these things move me" (Acts 20:24a).
You have practiced, checked in your spirit, perhaps gotten a strong co-witness and have purposed not to quench the Spirit, whatever He tells you to do. Now is the time the enemy will do everything in his power to fill you with doubt, uncertainty and fear—anything to keep you from fully implementing the Spirit's witness.
He will pull out his full artillery and viciously attack you when:
- All the numbers do not seem to add up.
- The majority opinion is against you.
- Competitors flee as you enter.
- Common sense says it's a dumb move.
- Everyone is saying, "Don't do it."
- Success looks bleak at best.
Yet remember, your ultimate unfair advantage is guiding you. He has already confirmed to you that this decision is of the Lord. This is the time you must stand firm in His decision.
Even with foreknowledge of suffering and imminent death, Paul refused to be moved from his call, his destiny.
6) Pray bold prayers.
"Now, Lord, look on their threats and grant that Your servants may speak Your word with great boldness" (Acts 4:29).
In the first recorded prayer of the new church, after threats from the establishment, the saints did not step back and fade away. Rather, they prayed for more boldness, not less. When they did, their house was shaken, they were all filled with Holy Spirit, and they spoke with boldness. Their prayers were answered!
Most believers in business today continue to pray sincere but puny prayers such as:
- "God, bring us some new business this month."
- "Help us solve this difficult customer problem."
- "May we make payroll this month and pay all our bills."
Now is the time for the believer in business to step it up. Today is the day for you to pray these types of prayers:
- "Sun, stand still" (Judg. 10:12).
- "Give me that mountain" (Josh. 14:12).
- "Oh, that You would bless me indeed" (1 Chr. 4:10).
- "Prosper us in all things" (3 John 2).
Our Unfair Advantage in Action
So how do you get started? Remember:
- God does not lead you through your holy mind.
- Money is merely a tool—not the goal—of your Christ-centered business.
- Not every opportunity is a part of your assignment from the Lord.
- The enemy forces your decisions through fear. The Lord prompts your decisions through the witness of the Holy Spirit.
- Your emotions are real and powerful but should not lead you.
- Distractions are a tool of the enemy to override the Spirit's still, small voice.
- Whatever leads your leader leads you.
- Integrate the six keys to unleash the power of the Holy Spirit into your daily leadership.
We have the ultimate unfair advantage living within us. My prayer is for every believer to purpose in his heart to always and only #BeLed.
Dr. Jim Harris is an international speaker, adviser and coach to executives, entrepreneurs and pastoral teams. He is author of 14 award-winning books, including his latest, Our Unfair Advantage: How to Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business. Sign up for his weekly blog at drjimharris.com.
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