Business Development (Part 1): Idols of the Mind

IDOLS OF THE MIND_banner[This is a business development series]
If you don’t sort out your thinking and philosophy, ruinous mental processes will hold you down in business. You’ve got to free your imagination. Faith cannot function without imagination.
There are three religious idols that militate against attainment in business: the idol of religiosity, the idol of a misconceived God, and the idol of wrong mentalism.
1). The idol of religiosity
Religiosity is traditions of men masquerading as the commandments of God. And traditions are so powerful. They have the capacity to make the word of God ineffective and ineffectual. Jesus said so. (Mark 7:13)
First you must inoculate yourself against the culture of fear prevalent in the body of Christ. We tend to preach fear and not faith. And so the young Christian businessman begins exercise anticipatory negative faith not positive faith. This of course dovetails into the culture of divination borrowed from traditional African religion. We’ve reduced God to a god. Instead of the young man to engage the rules of business in order to succeed, he slips into superstition going for divination from his pastor.
When he has business problems he begins to see witches and wizards. And then he spirals into works, fasting and praying for what a simple membership of a country club can solve. He’s thrust into bondage – anointing desks and chairs with so-called “anointing” oil, raining curses on supposed enemies. The truth is, some level of cosmopolitanism will solve some of the problems we fast and pray about in business.
The idol of religiosity also mistakes moralism for righteousness. And so the Christian is conflicted about capital and profit. He begins to feel guilty about success and desire for success.
Business requires faith not fear, boldness not cowardice, intellect not ignorance, creativity not lack of imagination. If you subscribe to wrong ideology you will limit your success in business. Proverbs 24:3-5 states: “Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through commonsense and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of facts.” The Bible thus encourages planning, commonsense, as well as research and information gathering. If you want to succeed in business you must exercise wisdom, plan strategically, use your commonsense and go after facts and figures. Fasting and prayer cannot replace industry, knowledge and creativity. Business has it’s own rules. Follow the rules and you’ll succeed. That’s not saying we shouldn’t pray. Of course we should. But there’s a place for prayer and there’s a place for strategic thinking.
2). The idol of misconceived God
If you want to succeed in business you must have the right optics of Jesus as God. God is not one-dimensional. Jesus is omni-media and omni-dimensional. God is revealed to us as five personages in scriptures. The first manifestation of God we see in scriptures is God the Scientist. And he read out his CV in Job 38. He laid out the foundation of the earth, determined its dimensions, limited the expansionist agenda of the sea, incubated light, determined the very nature of weather, created ice, the zodiac constellations and nature itself. By him were all things created and without him was nothing made that was made. (John 1:3) Second, we see God the Compassionate – the One who feeds us, clothes us, protects us, forgives us, the God of mercy and the God of grace. A third manifestation of God’s personage is God the Military Commander – the one referred to as the Lord of hosts, of whom it is written that he comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah. His garment soaked in the blood of the enemy as he declares the day of vengeance of God. (Isaiah 63) He is the Angel in 2 Kings 19:35 and Isaiah 37:36, the one who took out 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. Fourth, we see God the Government. He’s the potentate and King who administrates the universe and all of Heaven. It is in his capacity as government we refer to him as King of kings and Lord of lords, and it is on the basis of his might and power that every knee must bow. (Philippians 2:10) Lastly, we see God the Businessman (or Investor). It is this God we find in the famous Parable of the Talents. (Matthew 25:14-30) “Talents” in that parable does not referring to singing/musical talent and the like. It is a monetary unit, a weight of gold. Today that parable will probably be called Parable of the Dollars. It is this God you have to deal with as a businessman or woman.
There are distinct rules governing engagement with each of the five personages of God. You can’t approach God the Businessman the way you approach God the Compassionate. As an individual you relate to God the Compassionate on a daily basis, presenting your wish list. But as an entrepreneur you’ll need to learn how to relate to God the Businessman. The psyche of God the Businessman is not the same as that of God the Compassionate. God the Businessman is very particular about return on investment and capital, as well as profitability.
3. The idol of wrong mentalism.
The third idol is the idol of wrong mentalism. By this is meant the religious self-immolation that comes from not having an entrepreneurial mindset in business. The mentality of the entrepreneur is quite different from that of the ordinary man on the street. It’s a determined mindset that sees things differently and processes facts uniquely. When others for example are complaining about fuel scarcity, the entrepreneur sees business opportunity. An entrepreneur is a bi-entity. He’s like two people in one. And so John the individual complains about fuel scarcity but John the entrepreneur looks for ways to make money from the scarcity. Every problem is a business opportunity to the entrepreneur. And this mindset inoculates him from being drowned by negativism and adversity. The entrepreneur functions in the drive mode of an all-terrain four-wheel vehicle. It’s what prevents him from succumbing to fear. It’s what prevents him from giving up despite adverse news and circumstances. If you want to succeed as an entrepreneur you’ve got to have this mindset. You must learn to see opportunities in adversity, to see capital potential in the needs of others. When people are mourning, the entrepreneurial undertaker gives thanks to God for potential income. He doesn’t feel guilt. He doesn’t feel immoral. And he’s no less Christian. The forebears of our faith were entrepreneurs. They had a particular mindset that aligned with faith for prosperity. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were very successful entrepreneurs. They were into agric business. When you plot their life charts you will discover they had episodic ups and downs, but nonetheless came out tops. In business there are going to be ups and downs. It’s your mindset that determines the eventual outcome. The teaching that once you become a Christian or that when you’re in faith nothing bad will happen in your life is an erroneous teaching. There are 21 event milestones in the life of Abraham. Out of those 21 milestones 8 were very low points. He got kicked out of Egypt, his business mentee and nephew, Lot quarrels and separates from him. His loses his wife, Sarah etc, etc. Statistically 38.095% share of his life was adversity. Some people don’t want problems in life. But Jesus already promised you trials and persecution (John 16:33). Trials and persecution refine us for purpose. You are going to have ups and downs in life and business. The Bible talks about the arcadian rhythm of life in Genesis 8:22. There will be vagaries and polar extremities in life and business. But God says all things work together for your good. It’s why there’s an ascending mean trajectory in the life of Abraham despite the ups and downs.
The Bible calls Abraham our faith model. Yes, he had ups and downs but note there are more ups in his life than downs. The problem many times is that we concentrate too much on the downs, get lost in them and lose energy to see what God has done, what God is doing and what God would do. God’s desire for us is prosperity: “Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually.” (3 John 2 HSCB). The word of God is constant. It is unaffected by the ups and downs in your life and business.
What is your mindset? Do you see problems or do you see opportunities? Are you resolute to succeed against all odds, or have you given up because of some bump in the road, some opposition or lack capital? A lack of capital demands we become creative, maximise what we do have and innovate our expenditure. If you don’t alter your mindset and get into entrepreneurial mode, you cannot succeed in business.
Thank you and God bless!

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