Working Versus Striving
"So he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,' says the Lord Almighty"—Zechariah 4:6.
Your greatest obstacle in fulfilling God's purposes in your life is the skills you have acquired to perform well in your work life. One of the great paradoxes in Scripture relates to our need to depend on the Lord; yet at the same time, we're instructed to use the talents and abilities God gives us to accomplish the work He gives us to do. It has been one of the most difficult principles to live out. How do we know that what we achieve is by the power of the Holy Spirit in our life versus our own abilities, and is there a difference?
When we reach a level of excellence and performance in our fields, it actually becomes an obstacle to seeing God's power manifest in our work. What we naturally do well becomes the object of our trust. When this happens, God retreats. You see, God allows us to develop skills, but these must be continually yielded to God's Spirit. There will be times when God will use these skills to accomplish His purposes. There will be other times that God will not use any of our skills just to ensure that we know it is by His power that we can do anything.
It is the oxymoron of all oxymorons for Christian workplace believers. Learning not to act until God shows you to act is a sign of maturity in God. "Do not lean on the natural skill which you have been given. Let God manifest Himself in what you are doing," said a mentor who has learned this balance of skill and walking with God. "You must almost restrain from doing those things you know you are prone to do and actually go against them."
I was learning this lesson recently when I was asked to participate in a large event that would give great exposure and much needed financial increase to my ministry. It made all the sense in the world to participate. Then I prayed with a friend and asked the Lord His mind on it. The Lord showed us this was not His plan for me. I declined the invitation.
Ask God to teach you what it means to walk according to the power of the Holy Spirit in your business life. Develop a listening ear to the small voice inside that wants to direct your efforts by His Spirit.