Don’t Relax After Victory!

One of my favorite movies (that I should not have seen) was The Devil’s Advocate with Al Pacino (the devil) and Keanu Reeves (the good guy). The scene that makes the movie (watch here) is at the very end after Reeves’ character chooses good over evil. Within minutes of this ‘victory’ comes the inevitable praise from a reporter who showers Reeves with flattery. As soon as Reeves turns his back, the reporter reveals himself as the devil in disguise (Pacino) and it is clear he is going on the attack again.


Gibeonite Deception

In my last post, I told you that we are going to discuss the Gibeonite deception from Joshua 9-10. Leading up to this story, you will remember that Joshua and the Israelites have just cleansed their camp of the sin that brought defeat.

Israelite Victory

Immediately after this cleansing, God gave them victory in their second attempt to conquer the city of Ai. They even built an altar to God and celebrated victory with burnt offerings. Finally, Joshua read aloud all the words of the law to the entire assembly of Israel. It appears they were in a good place in their relationship with God.

Israelites Tricked

When we pick up the story in Joshua 9:1, word has spread to the other kings in the area and they are preparing for battle. However, the Gibeonites come up with a ruse and trick the Israelites into thinking they are not local, but from a distant land. For this reason, Joshua and the Israelites agree to a peace treaty with them.

Within days, Joshua learns that the Gibeonites are in fact local to the area. He quickly realizes that he has violated God’s command not to make peace with those in the Promised Land. At the same time, he knows his word is his bond and he cannot break the oath he made. He is stuck with the Gibeonites and trouble is coming.

Lesson #1

As I told you in my last post, there are many lessons in this story for Christian business leaders. The first lesson we will discuss is this one.

Do not relax after victory. The enemy is coming.

Relaxed After Victory

You see, Joshua and the Israelites were just coming off of a great victory. They felt good about their relationship with God and they were relaxed. Unfortunately, this was a prime times for the enemy to attack. They were simply not expecting it.

The same is true for us in the business world (or in life in general). There are many times that we experience victory. It may be a hard-won contract for a huge account. It could be a heat-case with a customer is settled and a raving fan is created. Maybe it is something as simple as a relationship with a co-worker is mended.

Protection After Victory

The victory itself is not our focus. It is the moment after the victory that we must protect.

Sure, we can celebrate our victory. There is nothing at all wrong with that! In fact, it is really necessary to re-energize us for the next battle we will face.

No, the problem is not the celebration of victory. It is the lowering of the defenses that is the danger.

Remain Vigilant

We must get in the mindset that recognizes opportune moments for the enemy to attack us. It is during these moments that we must be on guard. We must protect ourselves from attack.

You may be thinking that this is unfair – that this mindset will not allow you to relax enough to celebrate. That is not true. Just be wise about the times immediately following a victory and don’t put yourself in a position to be caught off guard.

Rules For Protection

You need to think about your own set of rules for post victory protection, but I believe I have one example that would have served Joshua well. Consider the following personal rule for Joshua: Do not make any decisions immediately after a victory without first praying about it and sleeping on it for one night.

If that was all Joshua did to protect himself after victory, how do you think the results would have changed? Don’t you think God would have directed him to the right decision?


I challenge you to come up with some of your own rules. They really need to be closely related to your weaknesses. This is likely where the enemy will attack you. For Keanu Reeves’ character, his weakness was vanity and the devil went after him there. What is yours?

Do you know where you are vulnerable after victory?

What can you do to protect yourself from attack in this area?

Have you already experienced this issue and can share about it?

How To Keep Your Commitments

This post is based on material from Dave Anderson’s book, How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. It is the second post in a series of five in which we will address common character issues for leaders. The character issue we are addressing is how to keep your commitments.

keep your commitments

Casual Commitments

How often do you tell someone else that you will call them later? Do you? What about those you told you would pray for them and their family? Did you keep your commitments and actually set aside time to pray for them?

Many leaders take lightly the “casual” commitments such as promises to call or offers to pray. They make these commitments without actually planning to keep them. Their intent is not malicious or deceitful. Maybe they actually want to make good on the commitment at some point, but they really do not take it seriously. In fact, within minutes of making the commitment, they have often forgotten it completely!

Scandalous Behavior?

While this behavior is certainly not what any of us wants to confess to, it is not the stuff that scandals are made of, is it? I mean, how often do you hear this type of broken commitment broadcast on the evening news? How many times are you confronted for failing to keep your commitment when it was only said in passing? Everyone knows these are not promises sealed in blood, right?

So what is the big deal? Well, let’s go back to the Bible again. In fact, we will look at the same verse that we did in my last post on little white lies. Here is what it says in Luke 16:10…

Whoever is faithful in very little is also faithful in much, and whoever is unrighteous in very little is also unrighteous in much.

Slippery Slope

So there it is…the Biblical description of the infamous “slippery slope” with which we are all familiar! If we make casual choices to tell little white lies, then we will soon find ourselves telling bigger and bigger lies. If we choose to make quick commitments that we do not take seriously enough to fulfill, then we will eventually find ourselves failing to honor bigger commitments.

Folks, it always starts with the small stuff. Satan rarely comes at us with the huge temptation right off the bat. He slowly draws us toward them with the small temptations. Eventually, we will have slipped so far down the slope, there is no return.

Keep Your Commitments

As a leader in Christian businesses, you must keep your commitments. The problem with this truth is that it really only tells one part of what you need to do. You see, once they are made, the only option for you as a Christian leader is to keep your commitments.

The real question is how to avoid making those commitments that are painful to keep. Well, once again we can turn to the Bible for advice. Below are some tips from Dave Anderson’s How to Run Your Business by THE BOOK. Check out the Scripture associated with each one.

  1. Count the cost (see Luke 14:2-30). Before committing to anything, make certain you can live with the worst-case scenario.
  2. Seek God’s wisdom before deciding (see Joshua 9:3-15, especially v.14). Check with trusted counselors who have nothing to gain or lose, either way, from your decision.
  3. Follow through (see Joshua 9:16-10:14, especially 9:19) . Do what you said you would do – regardless of the cost!

Joshua’s Commitment

This story of Joshua’s poor decision to make peace with the Gibeonites is the perfect illustration of the whole idea I am trying to convey. He failed to seek God in his decision. He failed to count the cost. As a result, he was deceived into a tough commitment.

But when Joshua realized what had happened, he stuck to his word. Not only did he not attack the Gibeonites when he found out about the deception, but he also went to their aid when they called upon him and the Israelites. This is true leadership!

Did you read the last part about God making the day stand still? If you will keep your commitments like Joshua did, I believe God will honor your behavior just like He did for Joshua.

What commitments are you guilty of taking casually?

What can you do to change that behavior?

Have you seen God act on your behalf when you have kept a tough commitment?