Relying upon God in all our affairs    - by Jeremy Utley
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Thursday, August 20, 2015
The story of Asa, King of Judah, has taught me a lot about how to conduct myself in the world. I have been seeking to understand how to handle various "attacks" (of the modern, 21st century workplace variety -- no weapons other than email and contracts!), and I feel the Lord has given me some insight from Asa's dealings in his time as King. 
Early in his reign, a vast and powerful army came against him from Ethiopia. In humility, Asa sought the Lord and God acted mightily on his behalf:
Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You." So the LORD routed the Ethiopians before Asa and before Judah, and the Ethiopians fled.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭14:11-12‬ ‭NASB‬‬

That is a wonderful, humble prayer, isn't it? I have been encouraged and blessed in thinking of the many times I felt as if I had no strength, but yet was determined to come in God's name. God loves to act on behalf of those who truly and humbly seek His help. 
Years later, after a prolonged period of peace, another king came against Asa and Judah, but this time, rather than asking God for help in humility, Asa cleverly devised a scheme for his own deliverance. 

“Then Asa brought out silver and gold from the treasuries of the house of the LORD and the king's house, and sent them to Ben-hadad king of Aram, who lived in Damascus, saying, " Let there be a treaty between you and me, as between my father and your father. Behold, I have sent you silver and gold; go, break your treaty with Baasha king of Israel so that he will withdraw from me."
2 Chronicles‬ ‭16:1-3 NASB
So instead of seeking God's deliverance, Asa got clever and figured out a political angle to play to get himself out of harm's way. Even though this move staved off the enemy, God was not pleased with Asa. 

"At that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah and said to him, "Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God, therefore the army of the king of Aram has escaped out of your hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim an immense army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet because you relied on the LORD, He delivered them into your hand.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭16:7-8‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The prophet tells Asa the true secret of his victory against the Ethiopians was his reliance upon God, and goes on to warn that because he relied upon another king (rather than God) this time around, he would not cease to have wars the rest of his reign as king. 
What a terrible change for Judah, all brought on by Asa's reliance upon man, and his own clever scheming. 
This has really impacted how I have approached a  sensitive situation at work. There's a negotiation which keeps threatening to fall apart, and I find I'm constantly being tested with how I will respond. Will I cleverly devise some way to deliver myself, or will I rely upon God to deliver me?
And more pressingly, what does relying upon God look like, practically? As I have sought Him to teach me how to fully rely upon Him, and also be diligent and responsible steward as well, I feel God has given me a few things to consider:
Bring everything to God first, and keep bringing it back to Him
Ask for His will to be done first of all, and for His will to be the only will that is done. Today's back and forth business environment is almost like tennis -- deals and offers and negotiations being volleyed from one side of the court to the other, back and forth, over and over. 
I felt the Lord convict me that even though I submitted my circumstance and need to Him initially -- gave Him the serve as my (infinitely more talented) "doubles partner" so to speak -- I was guilty of handling the volleys on my own. All subsequent decisions to be made must also be submitted to God, like a good pair communicates on the court, rather than just greedily taking all the volleys for myself without any communication with my (again, infinitely more capable) Partner. 
God is a really Good Partner, and I do better to listen for Him to say "I got it!" from the back line and refrain from trying to get too fancy at the net. (Apologies to any actual tennis players out there -- I am probably completely mishandling this analogy)
My part -- the diligence of a responsible steward -- needs to always flow from being directed by Him as I bring all of my needs and challenges to Him. Sometimes He might tell me to volley, but I want to wait for His leading before jumping at a situation in my own cleverness. 
Do nothing from fear or anxiety
In my present circumstance, and in many past business dealings, there's a real sense of urgency which threatens to rob me of my peace and force me to act or respond from an anxious heart rather than from a contented, trusting heart. 
“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭NLT‬‬

I see here that the key to peace which the world cannot take is looking to God rather than to my circumstances or myself. So long as I'm fixated on my email responses and the like, I have peace as long as things are going well. But if I'm focused on the Lord, then my peace can't be disturbed by outward events, and this is my protection from fear and anxiety. 
I have it loud and clear to send no notes out of haste, prompted by fear, etc, but rather to submit every anxious thought to Him and wait for His peace to guard my heart (Philipians 4:7) before re-engaging with the world. Nothing is so urgent that I can't wait for God to still my heart before responding.  
Make sure my anchor is fast
My joy should not be affected at all by the outcome either way. I have caught myself many times getting a little bit of a thrill when things go my way, or a little disappointed when something I thought was going well takes a turn for the worse. 
Philipians 4:4 tells me to "Rejoice in the Lord always." My rejoicing should always be "in the Lord": in Who God is, how wonderful He is, what He has done for me in sending Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and die for my sins and sending His Holy Spirit to come and dwell with me, that we might have fellowship!
I need to be careful not to let my joy be affected by any outward circumstance, positive or negative. If things go well, that outcome is nothing compared to the goodness and hope that is already mine in Christ!
If things don't go well in my business dealings, that has no bearing on my spiritual wellbeing, and so I can praise God for revealing His will in my earthly existence! He knows my needs, and has promised that if I seek Him first, everything I need will be given to me (Matthew 6:33). 
So I can fully rely upon God in the circumstances of my life -- even in boring business negotiations -- being diligent to bring everything to Him, seeking for the peace of God to guard my heart from all anxiety, and relishing the joy that cannot be taken. I don't have to devise any plan myself, but can always count on God to come to my rescue as I humble myself before Him. 
I can take comfort in the statement which was meant to be a warning given to Asa after he took matters into his own hands: "The eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."