“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” (Proverbs 29:18). There is no greater place where the weight of these words are felt than in the workplace. I’ve spoken with countless people who are frustrated with their leadership’s lack of vision, but feel lost in how to change their current situation.
So what do you do when you find yourself in a leadership desert — where there is no vision or direction to be found? It may sound cliche, but seek God for his vision for your job. As Christians, we believe that God is involved in all things and is in the business of renewing all things—making sure every person and organization realizes its fullest God-given potential (Revelation 21:6). This means that God has a desired future he wants to see emerge in your company, and he wants this future to unfold through your strategies and decisions.
But this begs the question: how, then, do you actually receive and apply the creative wisdom of God in your strategies and decisions?
The Apostle Paul’s scheme of faith, grace, and works helps us to know what it feels like to follow God’s leadership and work towards restoring the marketplace to God’s intent. Here’s a breakdown of each part:
Faith. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1). Working from God’s vision starts with faith. You must first begin with the the belief that your work will allow you to receive the truth from God, over which you have no control and only he can give. To do this, over every decision you make, you pray…and you pray and you pray and you pray. Prayer prepares the mind to receive God’s desired strategy and decision. As the prophet Elijah learned when asking God for direction, God isn’t found in the thunderous noise of endless conversations and inner commentary. He is found in the still small voice that only those who have prepared themselves will hear.
Grace. “Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.’” (Matthew 16:17). The Apostle Peter knew what the grace of God feels like when you just know something that you shouldn’t know by your own reasoning. For Peter, it felt like a spontaneous collision of ideas that just fit together. When you experience grace in the fullest, you feel like your eyes have become different; you have made yourself into a person seeing and thinking differently. And because of this, you see the world differently than you did before.
With every potential decision or strategy you bring before God, ask:
- Does this energize me?
- Does this restore balance and affirm my deepest values? My deeper purpose in life?
- Does this draw me closer to God, my coworkers, organization, and/or customers?
- Does this direct my focus to something bigger that is outside and beyond myself?
- Does this inspire greater creativity and new ideas?
This shift of relying on God versus your own understanding can be experienced around a single solution, but it is usually experienced around a theme, but tends to be more noticed when you are repeating the process in multiple situations. This leads us to the last step of working in line with God’s vision and desired future for your work.
Works. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). Paul says that when it comes to making decisions, the process for Christians is much more like a discovery process than a creating process. God has already prepared the work he wants you to do in advance. You don’t have to make things up as you go along, but discover the path that God has already paved. This feels like a testing and verification process. Gideon tested his objective to free Israel from the Midianite army by laying a fleece outside, asking God to make the fleece wet and the ground dry, and a second test of keeping the fleece dry and the ground wet (Judges 6). Once you outline objectives that come from a place of grace, test them in a small and measurable way. Discover the specific decision or strategy for which God has paved the way.
So finally, how do you trust in and work from the unknown when there is no vision from your leadership? Seek God. Seek God through faith, grace, and work.
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