Leading any business in good times is easy. True leadership, however, is revealed and refined during tough times.
James teaches a powerful process you can quickly apply that helps you to successfully navigate through any workplace trial.
"My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith develops patience" (James 1:2-3).
Joy Through Trials
Let's take a quick look at four key words in this revelation.
Joy (chara): calm delight, gladness.
The first thing James lists when we enter a trial is to consider it "all joy." How ridiculous, right? But we must realize that joy here is not an emotional response but a deliberate appraisal of the situation from God's perspective.
When God is looking at your trial, what does He see? What is His viewpoint?
I boldly state that God's perspective of any trial you face is exceedingly abundantly above anything you can ask or imagine (see Eph. 3:20). So why not embrace His viewpoint instead of yours?
Trial (periasmos): putting it to proof; adversity; temptation.
A trial is a means, an avenue, toward spiritual growth and maturity. It is the process that purges sinful impurities out of a person or environment.
Trials are like a doctor who prods and pokes your discomfort and asks, "Does this hurt?" until he discovers the epicenter of the pain. Only then can he prescribe a cure to remove the pain caused by impurities, imbalance or anything else that inhibits proper performance.
Trials also test our propensity toward personal and corporate sin. Personal trials could be a test of integrity, virtue, constancy in your faith walk and any other temptation to sin. Corporate trials could test our willingness to cheat on taxes, slow-pay vendors, overpromise but underdeliver to customers or any number of other unholy practices.
One of my critical roles as an adviser and strategic sherpa to leaders is to help reveal the underlying corporate pain points to prod for and reveal the often ignored or unseen pain points of why a company is losing money, not growing or simply missing the mark. (Yes, often these pain points are personal trials for that leader, but that discussion is for another time.)
Testing (dokinion): proving, trustworthiness.
Testing here implies the genuineness of your faith and your leadership abilities. It is a process of pruning and purging what is inhibiting your kingdom success and impact, be it personal or corporate.
Patience (hypomone): steadfastness; positive, cheerful, hope-filled endurance.
I adore the above definition for patience as "hope-filled endurance." That is exactly why Jesus hung on the cross (Heb. 12:2).
Come on—if Jesus can hang naked on a torture device after a severe flogging and beating, can you bear your current cross with the same hope-filled endurance?
The only way to solve what are seemingly unsolvable problems is to attack the trial as a physician: seek the root pain points, then create actions to annihilate the pain so the organism can again grow and multiply.
Here is a simple, five-step triumph plan to move you through trials into triumph.
Trials List: On a sheet of paper or in your work journal, write down your top three current trials.
God's Perspective: Under each trial, list what you sense to be God's perspective on that trial, from His viewpoint—not yours. Ask yourself such questions as: What is God thinking about this trial? How would He approach overcoming this trial? What might He expect from me during this trial? How might this trial be growing me into greater spiritual and leadership maturity? How might succeeding in this trial be preparing me for all He has already planned for me?
Top Three Outcomes: List the top three outcomes for this trial that would be exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or imagine.
Joy Ahead: Write down your hope-filled joy(s) that are now set before you for persevering through this trial.
Triumph Plan: Now you are ready to create your action plan to execute through your trial(s).
If you are an executive facing what seems to be an unsolvable problem and are stuck or unsure as to what to do, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your responses to your triumph plan. Once I review and intercede over your triumph plan, I will reply with any additional revelation or wisdom.
Dr. Jim Harris is an executive coach, adviser and author of 14 award-winning business books, including Our Unfair Advantage: Unleash the Power of the Holy Spirit in Your Business. Connect with Dr. Jim at drjimharris.com.
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