Many business and professional people are drawn to books and seminars promising the secrets of success, wealth, and happiness. Nobody ever wrote a bestseller titled Repent! but that's exactly what God calls us to do when we follow him. Jesus offers more than happiness, as it is defined by the culture around us.

"Listen to this, 0 house of Jacob, you who are called by the name of Israel and come from the line of Judah, you who take oaths in the name of the Lord and invoke the God of Israel-but not in truth or righteousness-you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city and rely on the God of Israel …
"For my own name's sake I delay my wrath; for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you, so as not to cut you off.
"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another." Isaiah 48:1-2, 9-11

Character Check

Where am I resisting God in my life?

In Business Terms

We exist for God. God, in his great mercy, has promised that blessedness will accompany discipleship, but it's got to be God first.

Without that, to say that Christianity is the secret of happiness is dangerous. Often evangelists who preach that way leave the wrong impression and confirm the egocentricity of folk, who then try Christianity as a formula for happiness. God is merciful, and sometimes there is a real conversion and real regeneration. But even so, that kind of teaching is likely to produce substandard saints.

You don't actually help the butterfly emerge from its chrysalis by cutting the chrysalis. If the butterfly doesn't struggle from inside to get out, it comes out as a butterfly that isn't strong enough to fly. People who get into the Christian life without ever being challenged to repent of their egocentricity are, at best, likely to remain stunted Christians.

The struggle to change at this point is necessary for health and growth.

 J. I. Packer

Something to Think About

The smallest package I ever saw was a man wrapped up wholly in himself.
– Billy Graham

Go Deeper

Knowing God

This theme focuses on developing intimacy with God. J.I. Packer, author of Knowing God, says that seeking God's truth '"enlarges the soul because it tunes into the greatness of God." He tells how to lead people to shrink the self and exalt God, and how to teach the unpopular theme of repentance. Other articles discuss finding time for intimacy with God and involving both the heart and mind in the search for God.