TOPIC: THE SCRIPTURAL PATTERN FOR SELF DEVELOPMENT
This lecture will achieve the following objectives among others.
- To understand the concept of self-development in line with the scriptures
- To explain self-development process
- How Christians can utilize self-development and its benefit to individual and the Church.
There is a story about a man that sat on a small box at a particle walk way soliciting for help from passersby. This man have been in this same point for a long time. His routine has been to ask for alms from people. Sometimes he got provoked when his expectation is not met. One day, a man came to pass at that same point, and he asked the man as for help. The man stopped and responded to him, I don’t have anything to give you and went further to ask him, what is that you are sitting on. He retorted, it is a small box. The man asked again, what is inside the box. He managed to answer again because that is not what he want…. I don’t know what is inside. But I have sat on it for a very long time. The man told him, open the box. He reluctantly open it. Behold, there was a stock of gold in the box.
I can hear someone say, how can I sit on gold for that long without knowing. But most of us have things in us that is beyond the gold, but our mindset still direct us to something else that increases our suffering because of our inability to get the desired result. This situation has made this lesson necessary to awake us to be able to identify the gold in us.
The era of Covid-19 has dealt a serious blow on the global economy which results in the loss of jobs. The modus operandi has changed. People started working from home. Many job delivery are done online. The lockdown placed by government at different levels leads to the closure of markets, restrictions on worships places, social gathering etc. The issue of social distancing took the centre stage, but one thing remains, and that is life must go on.
This brought the concept of new normal into the English lexicon. Many people struggle to meet up. The need to learn new skills sets in. there is a need for upgrades in different aspects of operations in the workplace. It is a fact that many people are still feeling the pains. They still don’t know the next step. Whereas, some people are making it big this period because as Bill Gate will say, they know that change is inevitable and plan ahead of time.
The concept of self-development is apt at this time. And such must be done in a way that does not go contrary to the will of God. We will try to understand the concept of self-development. How Christians should go about it and its benefits to the individual, church and the society at large.
The Concept Of Self-Development?
Self is an individual person while development is the state of advancement or growth, good change. Therefore, self-development is a process of improving oneself consciously in different aspects of his or her life. This can be reflected in talents, personal skills, competencies and knowledge. The purpose of self-development is aimed at seeking personal fulfilment through utilization of our full potentials.
This life long process enable us to assess our personal abilities, set life goals and move on to take action that will help us to achieve those goals to make us happy.
In order to get a clearer understanding, we will segment self-development into 3 perspectives.
- Skill developments
- Mental conditioning
- Habit formation
Skill Development: This has to do with the development of personal skills, competencies, abilities which encompasses interpersonal and personal effectiveness skill. Interpersonal is about those skill that help you to do things in relationship with others, leads and work with others while personal effectiveness focus on what you can do without involvement of others. Like goal setting, problem solving and time management skills. You needs to acquire such skills to enhance your productivity.
Mental Conditioning: This is key in our development process. It is a process of building and strengthening our minds to work in a positive way. It will empower us to remain focus on our goals through visualization using imagery. This will lead to positive self-image, self-esteem, self-confidence. Transformation can hardly take place without a positive mental conditioning. That is why Paul, The Apostle made that resounding statement in Romans 12:2 that our mind should be renewed for us to gain understanding of what is good and perfect will of God. If such positive mental conditioning does not take place, we will go contrary to the scriptural pattern in the course of developing ourselves.
Habit Formation: Habit is formed from the data stored in our subconscious mind. This is a conscious establishment of behaviors or thoughts in an attempt to improve ourselves. Habit are those tendencies that occur automatically without thinking. Our actions, reaction, decision, etc are directed by our habit. This will seriously affect our views about self-development and how we also submit ourselves to the learning process.
Self-development start from the onset of development of any skill, talents or competencies. Nobody was born with knowledge well developed rather conscious effort must be done to get them on tract. This process begins with self-awareness and self-discovery. You may have heard people talking about self-discovery. It does not mean that self is hidden somewhere but it is all about realization of self. Having awareness of self helps you to know where you are at present to guide you on the next step while self-discovery gives you insightful understanding of your personality, values, habits, and beliefs. It is from there you will know what you want to become in life.
The next step is self-assessment, after you have known where you are, who you are and where you are going to. You would now begin to gather information, that is, data concerning your skills, talents, aptitude etc. Remember, everybody is blessed with different potentials. You review the quality of your performance. You measure the amount, value, importance, extent or rate of what you are endowed with.
After, a thorough self-assessment. You will now have information that will help you to create an effective development plan. Development plan involves the setting of goals based on your desires, setting benchmark that defines the path you want to follow. This will give you clarity on the type of skills you should acquire to enable you achieve your goals.
How To Utilize Self-Development.
As earlier established that having awareness of who we are, discovering our potentials and understanding our present stand point is very important to direct us on the next steps.
Also, Christians must note that we are the epistles read by the world as expressly stated in the scripture 2Corinthians 3:2. A great psychologist, Charles cooler calls it looking class self in his postulations. We must exercise restrains in the process of developing ourselves.
We should not acquire skills with the aim of using it to defraud innocent people out there. Some people today learn how to hack peoples account on social media to deceive people. Some join yahoo yahoo to hack into bank systems, company data based. They used those data to defraud people to pay them huge sum of money after which they block them. This should not be heard among us.
If anyone here have been indulging on these fraudulent act, such should stop because it is not in line with God’s pattern. God says we should do good work. Eph. 4:28.
Hence, let us look at it in perspectives. Some of us complaining are sitting on gold. They lack awareness and knowledge of what to do. No wander the scripture says, my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Get knowledge and understanding Proverbs 4:5-7.
- Salary Earners. It is possible that you are working in a company or you are a government worker. According to Robert Kiyosaky in his book on Income Quadrant. He identified this set of people giving 100% of their time while being paid peanut. He describe it as a poor mentality.
Many people are scampering for a salary job. I am not saying it is bad. But, the key thing is even being a salary earner does not stop you from doing something else. You have to develop an entrepreneur mindset. Some even talk about job security. That is an illusion. There is nothing like that now.
Develop a plan for your salary. Save part of your money to invest. Think of investing part of your salary to create additional stream of income. There are so many ways to do that. Don’t just go and open business. Get expert guide. Learn about financial intelligence. Research on the business you want to venture into.
Many people lost job during covid-19, some are still jobless without even a business. Some are surviving from their wife petty trading. Some under the confusion created by the pandemic have fallen victim of scam investment systems.
Warning: having only one source of income is dangerous and suicidal. Learn a skill. You can acquire skills online. This can help you set up a business and even enhance your performance at workplace.
Plan for your salary before it comes. Learn goal setting process. Set achievable goals.
- Job seekers. These are those that are yet to get their first job and those that loss their job. To you Nigeria is a terrible country. Yes, you are right. There is no job anywhere. But, I want to ask, are you employable? Are prepared and ready for the job you are searching for? how long will you continue to search for none existing job? Have you ever seen someone in your community creating jobs and employing people? If yes, you should not be exception. You too can do it.
My dear, wake up from your slumber. Face the reality on ground. Don’t play a victim. Work on your mindset. There is gold in you that is yet to be excavated. Only one good idea you need to transform your situation. Check yourself to identify what you lack. Go for it.
The truth, everybody here has purpose to fulfil in life. Seek and identify that purpose and work in that direction. Ask people around you their view about you. Be open to criticism.
Beloved, the church needs you, your family needs you. There are people out there waiting for you. Your inaction is detrimental to the realization of their dream. Take a decision today to develop yourself. You alone can take that decision. Say I can. You don’t have any excuse
- Professionals. These are people that have specific areas of services. Example doctors, accountant, lawyers, teachers, nurses, architects, Preachers etc. They are not left out of the changes that occur on the society. It is true that some of these professionals are no more relevant. They can’t meet up. Technology has change ways of doing things. They need to learn new skills, how to utilize tech in service delivery. Computer knowledge become mandatory. As a teacher you should learn acquire knowledge on how to use online tools and systems to teach students in any part of the world. We have doctors that deliver health counselling for a fee online without leaving the comfort of their house. Ministers of the gospel should build their capacity on reaching out to the world using online tools.
Intellectual properties like books become more essential now. Start now to write your book. Put all your experience and stories together in a book for people to read. Posterity will remember you for living that mark anytime you depart to the other side. These will make you an authority in your chosen field. You can sell your information material in online platforms like Amazon and get royalties on monthly bases as people read your book or buy your paperback book. To say that the opportunity out there is limitless is an understatement. It is time to wake. But note, it demands some levels of persistent work.
Apparently, we should be an example to people of the world having gain access to the knowledge of God. Let us stop murmuring and complaining like the scripture warns in Philippians 2: 14, But instead be solution providers.
- Business. Most people have the desire to do business, but in reality they are not ready. A lot of people are already doing some forms of business but lack the knowledge to do it the right way. They don’t make profits which is the goal of all business. There is the need to acquire knowledge on business set up, sales/marketing, customer service, personnel recruitment and management. Most of the businesses today does not have a business plan to guide you on what to do. Some are not registered. These are key for every business.
In any business you are doing 3 things are key. These are quality, price and service. Let your quality be topnotch. Sell good products, don’t sell fake and rotten things. If you are providing service, try and be the best, be truthful to your customers. Keep learning new things in your field and apply them in your work to stand you out. Like in tailoring, styles come every month. Move with the trend else you will lose customers to your competitors. Let your pricing be competitive. Don’t fix your price very high than what your competitors do. In service, know how to present your products and services to your customers. Packaging is key. If you can, get a branded bags to package things to your customers. That bag alone will attract customers to you.
Every individual should have a business. You can sponsor a good business idea and become an investor whereby you share in the profit from the business. Our people who are well to do should begin to think in that direction. Find someone with a good idea and sponsor it. You will be getting money on monthly bases without much work. Let your money work for you. But also do the necessary legal documentation to secure your investment. Remember, in every twelve there is always a Judas.
Learn about investment in real estate. This is the new gold. Buy genuine lands. It will always appreciate. Don’t think in archaic way. Oh it is inside bush, people will not leave there. No, that does not matter again. It is a matter of time. Learn to see beyond now. Always look at long term gain, development is spreading every day. Even though you won’t develop the land you can sell it and make profit. Sometimes people don’t want to buy landed properties so that people would not think they have money. Dump such mindset and have open mindset. Make research on opportunity that comes and make informed investment decision.
Key Skills To Acquire.
These are general skills that is useful in all fields of endeavors. You need them to succeed. Some of them can be acquired free of charge. They are very important in self-development. They will push you up the ladder of success earlier than you can imagined. Go and acquire them. If you have them already, sharpen them and put to use.
The skills include the following but not limited to the list below
- Computer skills(Ms office package)
- Investment and financial management skills
- People management skills
- Public speaking
- Communication skill
- Writing skills(content development
- Partnership skill
- Marketing/sales skills
- Customer service skills
- Packaging skills
- Business set-up and management skills
- Relationship skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Time management
- Online tools/social media skills
- Positive thinking
- Decision making skills
- Team work/management
What The Church Should Do.
I so much thank this congregation for their decision to bring in this topic to psyche our mind. The church has a lot to do to help members in the aspect of self-development. These include.
- Organize forum like this to teach brethren about the need to upgrade their skills to grab opportunities that abound.
- The church should care about the kind of work members are doing. This will checkmate members engaging in dubious means of making money.
- The church should provide counseling to those that are confused to get clarity and direction. Coaches can be consulted to provide this services.
- The church can mobilized well to do brethren to come together, raise resource to set up training programme for the needy brethren to acquire skills. This way the burden will be lifted away from the church. They will in future contribute to meet the financial needs of the church.
- The church should always pray to God for protection, blessings and understanding for her members.
Platforms To Leverage On For Self-Development:
These platforms have resources that will help you to develop yourself. Some of the courses are free while you pay a little in some to get certificate.
- Google. Google is the number one place to be. Make it your friends. It has a lot of tools. Some are free. Whatever you need ask Google. It is a window to other platforms
- Coursera. A learning platform. A lot of courses. Check coursera.org
- Alison. They offer thousands of free courses. Learn for free and only pay to get certificate. Check alison.com
- Edx. This platform collaborate the Cambridge, Harvard University and other top universities to offer certificate and degree courses. Some are free. Check edx.org
- Linda. Learning platform by LinkedIn. Go and check what they have.
- Udemy. This platform is awesome. Their courses are affordable. There are free ones. Go in and explore base on your interest.
- Pdfdrive.com is resource for books. There are a lot of self-development books that you can download free of charge.
- There are others you can discover through Google search.
There are tools that can help you in your daily work delivery to enhance efficiency and performance
- Drive– from Google for storage of documents. Every email comes with drive.
- Onedrive– from Microsoft. For storage.
- Google doc. This work like Ms Office. You can use it for creating document.
- Otter – this is for transcription. Speak and it write it for you.
- Canva – learn how to use this tool for graphic. It is a powerful app, download from your play store. I use it daily.
- Inshot for your video editing. Download from play store.
Benefits Of Self-Development For Individuals And The Church
- Set goals and achieve them.
- Take you to places you could not imagined
- Empower you to serve God effectively.
- Equip you to live your purpose.
- Helps you to make good decision and take action at the right time.
- Get understanding on how things work.
- Help you spot opportunity where others see problem.
- Profitability in your endeavors.
- Members will be able to contribute effectively to the church projects.
- There will be good relationship among brethren
- There will be understanding and cooperation among brethren to remove possibility of creating class between the well to do and low income earners.
- Many people will record successes in their different endeavors.
Beloved, as stated by Paul the Apostle in Philippians 4: 8, whatever things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, something that has good report etc, think about it. Let us look inward and not be like the man in our story. Check within yourself to discover opportunities that abound. You may be sitting on gold while still looking elsewhere. Take the decision to develop yourself to be able to evolve with the time. Learning is a continuous process, be conscious in your learning. Discover your hidden potentials, develop them and see yourself experiencing fulfilment. Most importantly, live to please God.
Thank you and God bless.
Bro Ndiana-Abasi Ekarika
(Member, Church of Christ, Eliogbolo
A Life Coach, Business Dev. Strategist and Author