Towards A Successful Year BY Chidi & Victor Akunna
DAY 1: Towards A Successful Year: First Things First
Happy new year friends! This is a brand new year, it’s fresh, it’s loaded with potentials and possibilities. In other words, you determine its outcome. You determine what December 2016 would feel like for you and your family; the accomplishments, the missed opportunities, the blossoming relationships, the upgraded career profile, the romantic marriage, etc. The buck stops with you, you are the Chief Responsibility Officer of your life, your marriage and family! What then do you do to get it right from the start? How do you ensure that your December 2016, although a ‘little far away’, would be a time of massive celebration and testimonies?
“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper” 2 Chronicles 26:5. Here, the bible talks about a 16-year-old boy who became a very successful King, ruling for 52 years. At 16, most teenagers want to ‘experience’ life, experiment with naughtiness, and sometimes, get into trouble. However, he determined the outcome of his 52-year reign by seeking God first. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing at 16? Well, our point here is, if a 16-year-old could seek God with all his heart, then we can. When we talk about seeking God, it’s beyond religious activities and pious looks, it is about instituting His reign in your sphere of influence, taking territories for Him.
THINK & ACT: It is important to remember that God is a King and His Kingdom spans beyond the universe. How do you institute his reign in your sphere of influence? How do you guarantee your success for the next 52 years? Join us tomorrow as we take this discussion further.
DAY 2: Towards A Successful Year: An easier Path.
Success is important to most people, people rarely set out to deliberately fail and even when their actions obviously sabotage their goal towards being successful, they still work hard towards it. As Relationship Coaches, it is not uncommon to see couples who want an outstanding marital romance sincerely and consistently take actions that yield the direct opposite of their desired outcome. For instance, a woman who wants to get her husband’s attention may constantly criticise him for spending long hours outside the home, instead of exploring ways of making her home a haven, a place he runs to. This is simply because people follow their convictions and beliefs, even when they are ‘wrong’.
“And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding in the visions of God: and as long as he sought the LORD, God made him to prosper” 2 Chronicles 26:5. Talking about seeking God, everything springs from the heart, the seat of our convictions and beliefs, it is our miniature ‘Solar system’. Wherever the heart goes, the man, his relationships, his family, career, etc., would go. The government, media and advertisers target the heart. If they can get you to believe in something, you will naturally take action towards it. Hence, you can’t have a more successful life, marriage or career without surrendering your heart to the Lord. ‘Lord’, is not just a religious term, we believe it has little to do with religious rites and routines, rather it emphasises ownership and rulership. Until God has complete control of your values, priorities and desires, you may never become your best self. God has your user manual.
THINK & ACT: Success is within reach, but you must learn to hand over your heart to God and He will walk you through your own path of success and deep fulfilment.
DAY 3: Towards A Successful Year: Locate the Zone where you Reign!
Understanding your identity – who you are, reveals your capabilities. A lion who thinks of itself as a sheep will never reach full potential. Thus, it will never hunt, lead nor protect its pride. Who you think you are will determine the life you will lead and the extent of your success. Thus, you must carefully choose who speaks into your life daily, the books you read, the channels you watch, etc. Everything that goes into your heart through your eyes and ears will directly or indirectly sell an identity to you, programming you to become someone tomorrow. Who that ‘someone’ will be or do is a product of your dominant thoughts.
“And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” Revelation 1:6. This scripture tells us our identity. We have been made kings and priests. For the purpose of this write up, we shall define a king as one who rules and reigns over a particular domain and a priest as someone who officiates and performs religious functions on behalf of God. As a King, you must identify your domain or spheres of influence. Os Hillman’s stated in his book, Change Agent, that, “If we are to impact any nation for Jesus Christ, then we will have to affect the seven spheres or mountains of society…These seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family, and religion.” Take a look at what you love doing and identify the sphere of influence it exists in. How do you want to make an impact with it for God? Do the dominant ethos or ways of doing things in that sphere align to God’s word? Rather than complain about issues, do something about them. Kings/Queens don’t complain, they act.
THINK & ACT: Your job is to reign and impact your sphere of influence by instituting God’s ideals.
DAY 4: Towards A Successful Year: Build a voice; start a Crusade!
We will take our discussion on Spheres of Influence further by focusing on some of them over the next few days.
There are different ways people are often categorised in the world as regards making impact; some are catalysts causing a positive change, others are dormant and happy to be on the receiving end of change, wondering what’s next. It’s like the saying that some people make things happen, others watch things happen, while some people simply wonder about what just happened. The wisdom point here is that those who take proactive measures to strategically position themselves for future opportunities are better advantaged to seize them and profit from them.
“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16. One of the keys to remaining competitive in business is the ability to take advantage of opportunities, which implies among many other things, preparing ahead of time. If your passion is about making political changes, you must begin early. Barack Obama started many years ahead as a constitutional lawyer, then community organiser, then Senator and then the President of the United States of America. You must begin small from where you are by understanding the laws, policies and ideologies of your society, fine-tuning yours, impacting your community. It may even be by mentoring the next generation, being a thought leader, leveraging on social media to project the right ideals, nothing moves until you do. Take advantage of every opportunity to speak out about Godly ideals, you don’t know who is listening. Martin Luther King’s view on non-violent protest was formed by Mahatma Gandhi’s. Start now, to make tomorrow better.
THINK & ACT: See it as a calling. Step out there to make changes rather than wait or put the responsibility on someone else.
DAY 5: Towards A Successful Year: Building Your Own Platform
Today, we shall be discussing the religious sphere of influence. This is one of the most powerful spheres for different reasons, some will argue that it is because the average individual understands the dual nature of life, with the metaphysical controlling the physical. Hence, anyone who can help make sense of and master the metaphysical realm is often valued, as he/she is perceived as the custodian of divine experience. This has the potential to greatly increase the influence of spiritual leaders across the globe, an influence that has been turned into something positive, transforming societies by changing its laws. This was demonstrated by Martin Luther King Jnr, a preacher who leveraged on his influence to begin a crusade that transformed the American society, marking his place both in history and in our hearts. He moved beyond building a congregation to transforming a generation and every January 15, the American society remembers him.
“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops” Matthew 10:27. The housetops here can mean projecting your God-given message from a global pulpit. Some may ask, what about those who do not have a pulpit or a congregation, like evangelists for instance, how do they leverage on their influence? The key focus here is on building a tribe, leveraging on social media like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Periscope, YouTube, etc., to impact your generation. This process has been democratised, it’s easier now. We must take advantage of the moment, time is running out. Craft your message, understand your audience, choose your medium and get to work. We salute your effort!
THINK & ACT: The greatest limitation is a mental one. Take action, don’t wait for things to be perfect.
DAY 6: Towards A Successful Year: Big Screen, Big Screams!
If I know what you see and hear regularly, I will predict who you will become in 5 years time. Your thoughts, beliefs, attitude, goals, etc., are influenced by the information and image you process daily and this eventually determines your decisions and ultimately your destiny. This is where our next sphere of influence comes into play; media, art and entertainment. Our national and global culture is constantly being transformed by this sphere of influence. As a matter of fact, they determine what is ‘acceptable’, what the masses believe, what is trendy and fashionable. For instance, in the western world, there was a time homosexuality was a taboo, today, laws are being passed in most countries changing that perception. Now, same-sex people can get married and even adopt a baby. In the 21st century, you can ‘disciple’ and influence a whole nation through music, comedy, movies, advertisement, games, etc., even technology adapted to this fact by making entertainment-friendly gadgets.
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” Phillipians 4:8. As parents and guardians, we must begin early to sensor what our children watch, their cartoons, games, TV programs, etc. when I did this, I was shocked at what is put out there these days, you can’t delegate some things. Prevention is cheaper, easier and even better than cure. As adults, don’t watch graphic and disturbing images, domestic violence, or sexually explicit movies and expect a clean life. Guard your heart, eyes and ears for whatever you let in will control your life. If you operate in this sphere, make it your calling to put out clean content out there, be the change you want to see in your society.
THINK & ACT: Don’t procrastinate on these things, act. As an entertainer, fine-tune your content, be an ambassador of God’s kingdom.
DAY 7: Towards A Successful Year: Right thinking, Right Life!
Today, we shall consider another sphere of influence – education. According to Answers.com, ‘Education’ is known to have several root words. It is popularly known to be derived from the Latin root, ‘educo’, meaning to ‘educe’- to draw out. It also has root words, ‘educare’ and ‘educere’. “educare’ means to ‘rear or to bring up’ and it refers to childrearing, whereas, ‘educere’ which is derived from two roots ‘e’ and ‘ducere’ means to ‘draw out from within’ or to ‘lead forth’. This implies that we can’t claim to be educated until the process of study helps us draw out our innate mental, social, emotional capabilities, etc., while also helping us lead. It’s beyond cramming and studying to pass exams or get a job. The right education helps us discover our uniqueness, makes us assets, leaders and valuable resources. This is why developed nations make it imperative for everyone to at least get education up to the age of 16.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8. The word, ‘spoil’, in the verse means to capture. In other words, people can be kept in bondage/mental prison by what they learn/know or fail to Learn/know. This explains why the truth makes us free. Knowledge is light and ignorance is darkness – a prison yard that keeps many people and even nations from becoming internationally relevant. Thus, we need people who would be the champions of education, helping to transform lives from one generation to the other. Consider starting a school, writing books, pressuring your government to modify outdated education models; don’t just watch your family and nation lag behind, do something positive about it.
THINK & ACT. Presently, Finland has the best education system in the world, take some time to study what they are doing right in order to adapt it to your community/ country.
DAY 8: Towards A Successful Year: Why Nations Succeed!
Today, we shall be rounding off the series on Spheres of Influence. We must remind ourselves that before we can transform our nation and continent, we must transform our families – the smallest unit of the society. According to Praise Fowowe, “your family is a nation”, and in every family, you have the ministry of finance, education, works, youth development, foreign affairs (your extended families), etc. Hence, if we fail at the family level, we fail as a nation. A nation of broken families is a broken nation. We stumbled on these statistics, “63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (US Dept. Of Health/Census). 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 85% of all children who show behaviour disorders come from fatherless homes, (Center for Disease Control). 80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes, (Justice & Behaviour, Vol 14, p. 403-26)”.
“And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse” Malachi 4:6. This implies that disconnected/broken families are prone to curses/struggles. If something is wrong with the family, something will be wrong with the nation. Hence, if this is your sphere of influence, you must appreciate the impact and the enormity of the work in your hands. This is the first institution God set up and it is supposed to anchor all other ‘Spheres of Influence’. Hence, beyond the philosophy and psychology of men, make sure that whatever you share is rooted in godly principles. Follow God’s model for relationships and families, use your platform; blog, Twitter, Facebook, to structure your society for God!
THINK & ACT: Build families and the nation will fall in place. See yourself as a nation builder.
Chidi & Victor Akunna
Connected Hearts Daily Devotional (C) 2016
Successful Year Series 008
…enjoy blissful romance.