A battle against good and evil is always taking place. It’s happening inside of you, me, our cities, our nations, and our world. Christ has won the war, but until He comes back, we are going to struggle. I love to talk about the 7 mountains mandate because it illustrates how Christians can fight against evil in every sphere of culture. The primary area of culture where I go to war daily is business. So, I thought it would be helpful for other Christian business leaders (and myself) if I took some time to call out the three biggest temptations I have faced in the business world.
Temptation 1: Control
Business leaders want to take charge, make decisions, and be in control. Christians tend to cower at that last word, but in reality, control doesn’t have to be a bad thing. As a Christian business leader, you have to have some measure of authority over your team or your work.
Jesus knew this. During His ministry, He was approached by a centurion (a Roman military officer) who wanted Him to heal one of his servants. The centurion pleaded, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Matthew 8:8-9). This impressed Jesus immensely. He commended the centurion, healed his servant, and said “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:11).
The Roman soldier understood the authority of Jesus. He knew that He could accomplish miraculous healing because he was under the authority of the Living God. Like Jesus, we should try to be leaders who can authentically say that we try our best to only do as our Father in Heaven does (John 5:19).
We have to make and implement plans, but there’s a distinct difference between exercising control and being controlling. Here’s how you tell when the former is bleeding into the latter: the thought of losing control causes so much stress that external factors are actually controlling your emotions.
The Solution: Let Go
This is easier said than done, but letting go can be as simple as acknowledging a feeling of stress or micromanaging tendency and saying, “God, I trust you.” Realize that the balance of the universe doesn’t hang in your hands—luckily, God already took care of that one. Trusting God is one of the most important lessons we can learn, and as Christian business leaders, your people are looking to you as an example. How you lead from your authority in Christ is one of your biggest discipleship tools.
Temptation 2: Greed
Businesses have to make money. Good businesses have to make a lot of money. If you are at the head of a business, a healthy awareness of the bottom line can become an obsession if you’re not careful. Most people are slow to admit that they have greed in their hearts. I think a big reason is that many times people aren’t aware of greed until a situation exposes it. Here’s an example.
In my earlier days, I had $194,000 stolen from me in a business deal. I won’t get into the logistics—let’s just say I was LIVID. My anger grew and grew until it absolutely consumed my thoughts. I went to my friend David Briggs and petitioned him about what I should do.
“You are going to forgive him,” he said matter-of-factly.
“I am not,” I said just as stubbornly.
“You are going to pray,” David retorted.
“I don’t want to,” I challenged.
We went back and forth like that for a while until I finally caved. Mind you, I didn’t pray from a happy place, and it wasn’t all kumbaya. I was still mad, but God slowly began to soften my heart. I stopped the legal suing process I was going through and trusted the situation to the Lord. Even though I was technically in the right, my heart wasn’t.
Five years after I was cheated, the same guy who cheated me returned to renew his lease. I got the cash back from him that we had lost, plus everything else we were asking for. When you let things go and trust God, they end up returning to you in some way!
The Solution: Give
If you’re in business long enough, money will make things complicated. The enemy will use it as a tactic to separate relationships or business partnerships. Don’t let him. Be wise with your finances, but never let money come between connection. If you feel like there may be some measure of greed in your business, generosity is the spiritual solution.
Temptation 3: Indifference
They say that the opposite of love isn’t hate—it’s indifference. Christian business leaders have a lot of responsibilities, and over time you can subconsciously begin to put plans and productivity before your people. Leadership is all about people, so keep a spiritual check on how you’re thinking about your team. Do you genuinely care? Do you regularly check in with them? Develop a system for gathering feedback and delivering encouragement.
The Solution: Love
There is a prayer that God will answer over and over again because it’s in tune with His will. Simply pray, “God, please help me love _____ like you love them.” Fill in the blank with your team, your competition, or a specific team member, and watch God transform your workplace.
Similarly, the Bible gives ample advice on how to love. When we eliminate the sacred-secular divide from our mindset, we really do see that all of the Bible is “useful to teach us what is true” (2 Timothy 3:16) in our professional lives.
For example, consider all of the wisdom packed into 1 Corinthians, 13:4-7: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
We could spend our whole lives just learning how to implement those four verses as Christian business leaders. So, I’ll leave you to marinate on that! Thank you for reading, and I pray that God spoke to you and gave you a vision for your leadership strategy. If you’re a Christian business leader, I would love to hear from you. Do you struggle with these things? Is there a different temptation that you have wisdom on how to face?