Firstly, why should I even consider entertaining God and business in the same sentence? Secondly, I am perfectly capable of taking care of business by myself. And lastly, if you think I’m even going to believe some mumbo-jumbo about evil spirits and demon possession, you’ve got to be kidding – I’ll leave that for my kids and Halloween!
Does this sound about right? Well, I’m not surprised, especially when Christians talk about faith and work together, they’re invariably referring to what happens in the workplace with people rather than the business itself or indeed what can happen to the business owners.
Don't get me wrong, there is a serious place for workplace ministry, but this article is about the damaging effects spiritual attack can have on a business as an entity.
Looking at the Bible there are a multitude of chapters and verses that speak about our activities in business and how God will bless us in our endeavours. However, it’s all well and good reading about what God has planned for us, but what do we think when things don't go our way and problems set in?
Faith and Christianity are pretty big subjects and in many cases explanations can be confusing, misleading or completely wrong.
Many of us have heard snippets from the Bible but don't fully understood the whole meaning and as a result, decided to dismiss Christianity or faith when it comes to planning or running our businesses.
I recently heard one business owners say, "I don't talk about business at church, I leave it at the door" For a start, it’s God’s absolute intention to bless your business, so why deny it at church. It makes no sense! Unless of course there is a force that’s making us feel we couldn't or shouldn't talk about our work!
The Bible says: If God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:13)
This is true, but it doesn't stop the enemy, i.e. Satan and his demons having a go and doing anything and everything possible to stop a Christians or anyone else for that matter from succeeding. There, I said it “Demons!”
When you started your business you would have put all your time, effort and creativity in to it. As believers, we know that God gave us the ability to run a business in the first place so that we could make a difference. In short he wants as prosperous and successful so that we can positively affect others.
And then the enemy comes along and makes life difficult!
Just so we're all approaching this from the same perspective, many people who set up in business on their own, do so because they have a passion and a talent for the work they are doing or plan to do.
You're not going to be very successful if you want to do something you've never trained for, studied or worked at. So if things go wrong, it's pretty obvious why. I'm talking about problems that occur with the smooth and successful running of the business such as:
These topics may seem fairly innocuous, however, as a Christian or not, you may well have experienced ongoing or consistent problems in these areas. Even something as seemingly innocent as reading horoscopes can have an effect (I didn’t know that either :) ).
There are very few websites on the subject of spiritual warfare in business. I believe this is because of the distinct lack of teaching on the subject in our churches.
Many people think and believe that running a business is supposed to be problematic, it comes with the territory; getting the money in is only part of the problem. We’re expected to experience grief.
Many people seem to miss the point that a business can either be run with God or without God. There is nothing stopping us from expelling God from our business, but the fact remains if he is not in our business, who is?
Whether you're a Christian or not, there are forces that affect us for good and for bad.
Just because you run a business, doesn’t mean you have to be a hard nut or an atheist. There are some seriously bad things happening in our world and they’re not just happening in the Middle East. But the intensity of rejecting Christianity is borne out of one thing – fear!
And the only thing that casts out fear is…Love, as defined in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NRSV)
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
You don’t have to be a wuss to run your business based upon love, but I believe that many people think that they should block off or resist running a compassionate business because of witnessing the many bad things that go on in our world and our inability to compartmentalise them. Therefore, let’s not get taken advantage of, let’s resist it (faith) and let’s stay safe. But resisting God and believing we’re “staying safe” gives the enemy a foothold.
So will you agree with me that there are varying levels of bad? And will you agree or acknowledge that certain things happen that seem to come from nowhere or for no apparent reason!
Drawing from my experience as a salesman, director and consultant, I have seen my fair share devastating situations in business, that are not only confined to business activity alone. The problems also happen on the periphery of a business and end up impacting on the bottom line, like relationships, health, finances and so on.
It is often the case for many business people to spend inordinate amounts of time and money trying to work out what's wrong or why bad things are happening?
There are businesses that get awards for best places to work. There are phenomenally wealthy companies that could fund small nations and yet there are others that continually struggle, but why? Are there any common denominators?
I believe there are, but it's not as simple as drawing a line separating them.
A bit of background; God said to Moses, "The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands.” (Deut 2:7) and in Deuteronomy 28:8 it says; The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
Later Solomon wrote “The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it”. (Proverbs 10:22)
So the above Scriptures confirm that God will bless us individually and where we operate from. Now replace the reference to ‘barns’ for offices and replace ‘land’ for the localised territories or areas we operate in. It is very clear that there are Biblical precepts that illustrate what God will do for us in business.
However, there is a caveat; if we want to allow God in, we have to love God with all our heart, soul and strength and our neighbours ourselves (Deut 6:6, Matt 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27).
The flipside is to completely ignore God in businesses. It doesn't mean that everything we do will go pear shaped, but it does mean that we will continue to be susceptible to the ebb and flow of bad stuff happening to us, that we end up having to deal with by ourselves, which steals valuable time from us running our businesses.
So here is where the ‘painful toil’ comes into play. It is, as I said earlier, possible to run a business without God but if he's not in your business, it allows the enemy to mess with your business at any level?
This article is not a full-on evangelical piece, but it is about making sure you keep Satan and demonic interference out of your business. And if you don't think that God should have a place in your business, then it won't take much for the enemy to start infecting not only your business but your finances, staff and family too.
One of the simplest and most subtle areas of attack from the enemy to through unforgiveness. And not simply that you may not have forgiven someone, but other people, i.e. staff or directors may have had issues with other colleagues or business associates. This includes directors who have left or even died!
By not forgiving people who have done 'things' to us or our business, leaves us open to attack from the enemy. You might be feeling that you could never forgive someone for what they did. But the reality is, as long as you are holding on to that anger, the enemy is able to gain access to you and your business.
There are three specific descriptions for a common word called - SIN
In a book called ‘Anointed for Business’ by Ed Silvoso (Ch 8, p114), he writes about an incident where he went to pray for a business in Minneapolis:
The business was No.1 in their field. Upon commencement of the meeting, Ed Silvoso was prompted by the Holy Spirit to ask if there were any broken relationships.
He was told by the president that his predecessor had a vice president who was his best friend. They had a huge argument and the VP stormed out. He then set up a competitor company which had become No.2 in the same industry.
Ed explained 2 Chronicles 7:14 and asked if the current president would be prepared to stand in the gap and repent on behalf of his predecessor, for his part in the broken relationship. He agreed.
After leading the president is a prayer of repentance and confession, Ed declared “This sin is forgiven in the name of Jesus Christ. This iniquity is now broken off and will no longer influence the company.”
Within seven days the former VP contacted the current president, said that he couldn’t understand why he was calling, but thought they had been apart for too long and felt they should be working together. The following week they had lunch and shortly after the two companies merged on 31st May 1999 and are now the largest in their field and have gone public with an IPO.
Just because we, as business people, don’t understand the Bible or some of the facets in it relating to business, doesn’t mean that the Bible is wrong or shouldn’t be followed. There are so many things we don’t understand, however, there is a big world out there trying to make sure we don’t let God in – I wonder why?
The power and authority we have been given can only be realised when we are willing to actually speak out in prayer. I agree that God knows our every thought, but it is because of his grace (which translates as power) that we have been given this ability to realise his will for us through faith in spoken prayer.
Yes, we can step on snakes and scorpions (Luke 10:19), but the only way to defeat the enemy is through what we say. Therefore, we can either build up our businesses or tear them down through what we say.
The same applies to people, i.e. giving someone a dressing down that's exactly that, it’s tears them down. This is why it is so important to deal with disciplinary matters in a loving and compassionate way and not aggressively, because aggression opens up the door to the enemy!
Think about the power of the spoken word in the Bible:
As you read the Bible, you will undoubtedly spot the many references to things that are ‘spoken’ and you’ll get your “aha” moments!
I just finished a Bible Study today (22.10.14) that has taken me 365 days. The final chapters I read were John 21 and Isaiah 65 & 66. In the Book of John, prior to Jesus’ crucifixion Jesus said that Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed.
As prophesied, Peter did deny him and the cockerel crowed (John 13:38). However, after Jesus’ resurrection he met with his disciples on the shore of the lake. After Jesus had told them where to catch fish (153 of them!) and made their breakfast, Jesus asked Peter three times “Do you love me?” (John 21:15-17) and three times Peter replied “Yes Lord, I love you” This shows how important and how careful we need to be about what we say. Three negatives and three positives to cancel out what was said! What more proof do we need?
WARNING: Yes as born again believers we get to go to heaven, but it's not over until we give account of every idle word spoken (Matthew 12:36) – now that’s pretty serious stuff eh!
So in light of the above, it shows quite clearly that what is said, not only in the workplace, but everywhere else for that matter, really counts and has an impact on our business and on our personal lives.
As Christians, we acknowledge and accept Jesus is Lord of our lives. We have made a binding agreement with Him that He has absolute say and jurisdiction over everything that relates to us, including our lives, money, possessions, family members you name it, everything!
And in return, because of our faith in the risen Christ (which is what Messiah means), we are given power and authority and dominion on this earth. By definition, there must be subordinates that are subject to our power, and they are the demons and Satan himself.
When Christ died on the cross he went to hell and defeated Satan. But he didn't kill him. That happens later. So because Jesus overcame death and rose again, expressly for us, part of God’s plan was to give us the same power and authority Jesus had when he was on the earth.
Although Satan and his demons are still around, we are masters over them, unless of course we sit around and do nothing and allow them to run roughshod over our lives. Picture the Orcs in Lord of the Rings or a plague of locusts on the attack!
This is our training ground; the earth! And when we die, we will go to heaven and begin the second stage of our spiritual existence! But in the meantime, we are expected to continue to do battle with demons!
The enemy’s tactics are to (deceive), steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). The enemy whispers into our unconsciousness and tries to make us say or do things that oppose Gods will. Our ongoing test is to resist the devil and he will flee (James 4:7)
This resistance can also be seen as foundational to business, insofar as praying over our businesses for protection and indeed cleansing it from any previous ‘spiritual infection’.
We need to prove to ourselves (no one else!) that we love God; more than our spouses or anything or anyone on this earth. And to do that, we give gifts, tithes and offerings (see the article about our finances) which impacts us personally. As you’ve probably worked out, God doesn’t need the money!
Once this realisation hits you, there is an altogether different perspective on business, finance and what's really important. The reason I’m mentioning what we do with our money is that we need to genuinely live in the understanding that God comes first and not the cash.
As God is allowed into a business there is a shift in the way business is conducted and how businesses is orchestrated. Don't get me wrong, your profitability still counts and so does expansion and development if that's where you're going, but God changes everything, the blinkers come off and clarity sets in!
It’s not the amount of money you make; it’s what you do with it that counts. And trust me, God wants you to be sooo successful, it’s not funny, but with success comes responsibility and recognition of the one who got you there!
So its important to know your own heart as you prepare for battle. This is about the supernatural and everyone is playing for keeps!
These verses below illustrate that God had planned this all along and intended to make a show of Satan. That is why you need to take courage and know that he is God and know that we have the power over the forces of the enemy.
God made sure Satan knew what was going to become of him in Ephesians 3:9-11:
…to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms,11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hoorah! (Said as if you were an American Marine!) Satan gets shown up in Colossians 2:15:
15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
You may not know, but Margaret Thatcher requested that the following passage to be read out at her funeral, Ephesians Chapter 6:12:
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The Bible is my authority. I stand on it and I pray that you will too. We are in a battle that is building up around us, and this isn’t some 19th Century Wild West preaching, you only have to look around us, from the Middle East to Manchester. The enemy is getting bolder and we have to stop them, starting with our businesses. Do not be fooled in to thinking that this is nonsense. This conflict (including Islam) was planned and deliberate.
I have prepared a selection of spiritual warfare prayers to help you get into the right frame of mind when praying about your business. Review these in conjunction with the article titled Prayers & Business.
Don’t forget, it still boils down to what you say out loud; therefore, say these prayers out loud too, don’t be shy
If you think of the word ACTS; A is for Acclamation, C is for Confession, T is for Thanksgiving and S is for Supplication or Requests.
(A) Lord, I honour you, love you and hold you high above everything else on this earth. You are the first and last, the Alpha and Omega and I know that everything comes from you and I bless you.
(C) Lord, I’m sorry for the things I have done that have not been of you or about you and I pray to you for forgiveness and your grace and power to turn away from these things.
(T) Lord, thank-you for blessing me with this business, for my staff, my customers and my future prospects.
(S) I pray for insight and discernment in to stopping the negative influence of any and all demonic forces that have been affecting my business.
Don’t forget, Jesus said that we have been given the power and authority to do greater things than he did on this earth (John 14:12). So say these prayers with confidence:
If you take a look at the back of most Bibles, you’ll find a Concordance. Find the words you can relate to, that are affecting your business at the moment and make up your own prayers. Remember, the further we move away from God, the closer we lean towards the ‘dark side’, whether we choose to believe it or not. Your prayers are powerful and it’s what we are expected to do – to fight!
God is with us (that's what Immanuel means!), he resides inside of us by the power of the Holy Spirit. But he never says there’ll be a ‘flash of lightning’ and all your troubles will be over. And that's because we're still in training and still fighting demons through prayer!
God is with us, blessing us with wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5) and cheering us on to succeed and prosper in our businesses.
Our response is quite simple. When we let God into our business it frees us to remain connected to what's important, i.e. Jesus, our families, our friends and those around us we are called to help.
If life seems too complicated for you at the moment, get in touch with us, we can help…