Before he even turned 25, Joe Condit was sued by the United States of America. While most college graduates were looking for their first jobs, Joe was enmeshed in the largest real estate Ponzi scheme lawsuit in American history. Only Bernie Maddoff’s case was higher profile.
Joe knew he could lose everything – and then some. It’s no joke when your legal documents say The United States of America vs YOU. The feds promised that if Joe lied to them, they’d get so deep into his life that they’d repo the Pepsi he bought last year. He faced jail time and complete financial ruin.
So, because the FBI had frozen his assets for the investigation, Joe moved in with his dad for a year. Stripped of his money and prestige, Joe realized that his life’s priorities were out of alignment. Money wasn’t what mattered. It was his faith in God that matters. It took him losing almost everything he had to learn this lesson.
Thankfully, you don’t have to learn the hard way like Joe. He shared his wisdom with me, everything he wishes he’d have known at the time. If you’re a Christian businessman, pay attention to these top three tips for conquering hardship.
Don’t Lose Focus on What’s Important.
Money can be stolen and public opinion can change overnight. Neither fortune nor fame lasts forever. Instead, faith is what lasts and carries you through the valleys of life.
One of life’s strongest temptations is to lose focus on faith when times are good. When we’re enjoying times of blessing, we become spiritually lazy. We worship God’s blessings instead of God himself. We make money an idol and make ourselves miserable in pursuit.
Then when we realize we’re miserable chasing money, we make the mistake of digging even deeper. We say, “Happiness is right there around the corner. I can almost see it.” However, worldly pleasure will never satisfy no matter how much you of it you get. The enemy is going to tempt you with everything he can: sex, porn, drugs, self-centeredness, money, overwork. Don’t believe the lie that “just a little bit more” will be enough.
People who focus on God above all have peace. People who focus on money and pleasure do not. True, godly business owners still have as many problems as the next person, but they have peace. When hardship comes, stay calm and don’t lose focus on God.
Cooperate with God More and More (Especially after Failing).
Always strive to do more to accomplish God’s will. Work at it every day. Just like money is never enough, we can never do too much for God. Be careful not to make service an idol, but like the Bible says, continue serving God with a cheerful heart.
It’s easy to serve God when things are going well. It’s not easy to serve him when you’re facing bankruptcy, a struggling marriage, and volatile markets. It’s especially difficult when you’re the one who’s made the mistake. Expect it. You are human and you will disappoint others and say things you don’t mean. Cooperate with God even in those failures. Be Christlike, admit your failings, and ask for forgiveness. Lean on Christ, not your own strength.
Offer God Your Spiritual Surrender.
When hardship comes, don’t try to fix it yourself. Let God take it. Joe could have fought the FBI tooth and nail to clear his name. But that would have backfired badly. Instead, he humbled himself and God gave him another chance at a career. Now Joe owns Catholicspeakers.com, the largest Catholic speaking agency in the world.
The best way to surrender spiritually is to get back to the basics of your faith. Pray for God to take control of your situation. Confess your sins to other Christians and let God do surgery on your heart. Find close friends and spiritual mentors to keep you accountable. These three steps will lead to spiritual surrender, and God will be able to use you and your business for his great purposes.
You might have the strongest business strategy to weather the roughest economic depression, but if you're not focused on God, you'll end up miserable anyway. The only way to naviate hardship is to rely on God. Trust me, I learned the hard way just like Joe.
Are you a control freak (like me) who finds spiritual surrender difficult OR IMPOSSIBLE? I want to show you a quick, 5-minute trick that will remove your anxiety and stress for good.
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About Joseph Warren
Joseph Warren is a Christian Speaker, Podcast Host and Spiritual Coach. Joseph Warren offers Spiritual Coaching to Christian Business Owners who somehow find themselves in a spiritual rut. In just 90 days, he helps them avoid expensive divorces, break free from addiction, restore broken family relationships, and start living their Higher Purpose!