It’s quite easy to get caught up in the ways of this world. Almost everyone seems to be conforming to a more liberal lifestyle these days.
Perhaps the words of a song from the past telling us “it can’t be wrong when it feels so right” — and here’s their reasoning — “you light up my life” — is why so many are the way they are. Debby Boone, the daughter of Pat Boone, took that song to the top of the charts in 1977. For years you would often hear “You Light Up My Life” performed at wedding after wedding.
There’s one big problem folks. Just because it feels so right doesn’t mean it can’t be wrong. Feelings can easily deceive us into believing that everything is going to be just fine.
In business, we can become enticed by the quick success of others and attempt to follow their lead in hopes of experiencing similar success. As an insurance agent over the past 30-plus years, I’ve seen some of my peers fall into practices that led them down a path of short-term success and eventual failure. On a few occasions, I’ve seen certain schemes actually lead to an agent’s personal and professional demise.
And some not only lost their ability to conduct future business, but they unfortunately experienced substantial fines and time in prison. They were tempted to take shortcuts rather than do the business ethically as they were taught by those who preceded them.
On a much larger scale, we’ve all seen corporations fall out of favor due to their unethical business practices. One major financial institution recently has been spending millions of dollars on a strategic marketing campaign to improve its image, which has been tainted by apparent deceptive business practices for years. Whether the efforts will successfully turn the tide of lost customers is uncertain.
Sadly, it only takes a few top-level executives to devise a devious plan, but in this particular case many branch executives bought into the plan to establish fake accounts for their own personal gain and prestige.
This seems to be the way of this world in which we presently live.
Paul gives us some sage advice to the Christian church in Rome on how we should live our lives. In Romans 12:1, we’re told, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship.”
That’s how we are to live — as if we are His servant wanting to please our Master. We need to understand that He sees our every move, and there will certainly be consequences for our actions that do not please Him.
Then in Romans 12:2, we’re instructed, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
This verse helps us better understand the need for a true transformation rather than be caught up in the pattern of this world which is filled with selfish people and devious schemes.
In Romans 12:3, Paul further advises, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
That’s important for all who follow Christ to consider. We are first and foremost here for His purpose and His glory. We must carefully consider our actions and attitudes in our business and personal lives constantly.
Conforming to the ways of this world may seem harmless and of no consequence, but there are always repercussions for our actions. Two thousand years ago, Paul spoke to this problem and the only difference today is the enormity of the impact our bad decisions can have in this fast-paced world.
The answer to our pitiful condition is found in the sacrificial life of Christ Jesus, and we must look to Him for salvation, forgiveness and guidance.
Passages to Ponder
— Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent in Santa Barbara. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his personal relationship with God, and his goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. As a longtime member of CBMC of Santa Barbara (Christian Business Men’s Connection), he started writing Fourth Quarter Strategies columns in 2014, and he now reaches an international audience through the CBMC International devotional Monday Manna. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.