In “Dancing with the Stars” the performers had a mental picture of what they wanted to accomplish. Sports legends often state that they pictured their success before they actually achieved it. Even in pastoral ministry, we can begin to picture the desired outcome of our ministry efforts. But we are not limited to mere mental pictures. We are given the high privilege of taking those hopes and dreams to our heavenly Father in prayer. Prayer gives wings to our hopes and dreams for the future. Giving yourself a promotion in your mind will give you a positive view of your future and put you on track for kingdom success in your relationships and your ministry.
Here are six practical tips to help us move forward:
- Promote yourself by mastering your moods. Start living by commitments and not by emotions. Do the right thing even when you don’t feel like it! This is just basic maturity. Mature people make decisions on the basis of what is right and not on how they feel at any particular time. “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken down walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)
- Promote yourself by watching your words. Put your mind in gear before opening your mouth. Ask God to help you speak words of life, hope, healing, grace, truth, and blessing. You will be amazed at the effect on you and the people around you. “He who guards his lips guards his life.” (Proverbs 13:3)
- Promote yourself by restraining your reactions. We almost never make good decisions when we are angry, disappointed, or depressed. Give yourself some time to settle down emotionally before you decide how to react. Your best reaction may be no reaction at all. Remember that we have the resident Holy Spirit to help us in these times. “If you are sensible you will control your temper. When someone wrongs you, it is a great virtue to ignore.” (Proverbs 19:11)
- Promote yourself by sticking to your schedule. If you don’t determine how you will spend your time, others will decide for you. This means that you must set healthy boundaries in your life. Make an appointment with yourself to rest, refresh, renew, recharge, and revitalize. Your best ministry will flow from a healthy soul. You cannot have a healthy soul if you have exhausted your body, your emotions, and your spirit. “Live life with a due sense of responsibility… make the best use of your time.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
- Promote yourself by managing your money. Here is the simple principle for handling finances: “Spend less than you earn.” Our money management goals are unchanging. No matter what your income level you want to be doing three things consistently: giving generously, saving diligently, and spending wisely. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went! “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” (Proverbs 21:20)
- Promote yourself by maintaining your health. You can accomplish more and enjoy your achievements if you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes getting sufficient sleep, maintaining regular exercise, and eating healthy foods. “Each of you should control his own body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect.” (1 Thessalonians 4:4)
The disciplines you establish today will determine your promotions of tomorrow.
It takes more than just willpower for lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than you. You cannot neglect the Word of God nor ignore the Spirit of God and hope to have true success in kingdom work. “God does not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
The more you accept God’s control over your life, the more self-control He gives you!
I want to acknowledge the contributions of Dr. James Clark to this blog. His regular “FAX of LIFE” devotions have been an invaluable source of encouragement and inspiration in my life.