Seven Habits of the Highly Successful Servant of God

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Stephen R. CoveyKaren Armstrong
Stephen R. Covey
Stephen R. Covey
Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong

Stephen R. Covey

Stephen R. Covey's best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide since its first publication in 1989. In his book, Mr. Covey presents essential traits and behavioral patterns that we should cultivate to achieve success in our lives.

A devout Mormon, Mr. Covey has stated that he never introduces religion or politics into his books or seminars. Had his books been dotted with biblical passages or Mormon theology, it is unlikely that they would have been as popular.

While guiding the public to timeless and universal principles is commendable, offering practical advice without affirming its Divine foundations can be misleading and eventually result in misunderstanding and distortions.

Sacred scriptures provide the book's underlying wisdom. If we neglect its Divine origin and remove all spiritual affirmations, such wisdom loses its authoritative character and become transitory fodder of the popular media. It no longer represents an absolute affirmation that withstands personal modifications and cultural amendments. In other words, without God, enduring principles and ageless values become humanistic concepts of limited application and questionable authority.

This brief presentation follows Mr. Covey's cue, but offers guidance for believers who prefer their instruction in scriptural terms and have no problem with theological doctrines molding their lives.

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God-Consciousness

At the core of our consciousness is the awareness of the Creative Power from which our existence emanates, on which we are totally dependent and to which we shall return. This reality encompasses several traits, including being God-fearing, trusting in God and having confidence that God has power over all things.

Fearing God means that disobedience can have serious consequences. We should be in constant remembrance of our obligations to God and cautious of our thoughts, words and deeds. Our precarious existence requires this fear, but also provides security and confidence based on trust and faith.

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It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. Psalms 118:8-9 (NKJV)

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For the LORD will be your confidence, And will keep your foot from being caught. Proverbs 3:26 (NKJV)

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In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge. Proverbs 14:26 (NKJV)

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Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 1 John 5:14 (NKJV)

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Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. [Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)]

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For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. Psalm 71:5 (NIV)

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Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, who have no confidence in the proud or in those who worship idols. Psalm 40:4 (NLT)

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This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV)

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Prayer and Thankfulness

Our relationship with God requires diligence in worship, meditation and contemplation. We communicate with God by prayer and by reading sacred scriptures. We have certainty that our prayers are heard and believe that revealed scriptures are Divine words meant to guide and support us.

This dialogue between God and believers is punctuated by devotional acts and answered supplications. It establishes an attitude of thankfulness on the dependent servants who recognize the spiritual source of all blessings and prosperity.

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Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! [Psalm 106:1 ESV].

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And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him [Colossians 3:15-17 ESV].

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Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! Let Israel say, "His steadfast love endures forever." Let the house of Aaron say, "His steadfast love endures forever." [Psalms 118:1-18 ESV].

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Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples![Psalm 105:1 ESV].

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Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ [Ephesians 5:20 ESV].

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If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place [2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV)].

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Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. [James 5:16 (KJV)].

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Charity

Charity requires a willingness to give and share what we have with others without regard to personal gain or expecting anything in return.

The sincere practice of charity, which includes benevolence and generosity, manifests selflessness and sacrifice. It means that we understand the transient nature of material wealth and have freed ourselves from the shackles of greed and avarice.

Loving kindness towards others is the ultimate perfection of our soul, for God desires it. This "caritas" is divinely ordained and is necessary for salvation. Without it we are lost.

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Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal [1 Corinthians 13:1 (KJV)]

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And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up [1 Corinthians 13:3-4 (KJV)]

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Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away [1 Corinthians 13:8 (KJV)]

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And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity [1 Corinthians 13:13 (KJV)].

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Let all your things be done with charity [1 Corinthians 16:14 (KJV)]

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And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness [Colossians 3:14 (KJV)].

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Compassion

This habit includes having empathy and showing sympathy and kindness to those afflicted with misfortune. It is the foundation of integrity and virtue and underlines our righteousness. Without compassion we cannot have true justice.

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect. Charter for Compassion

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Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble."1 Peter 3:8

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Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:3

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"So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." 1 Corinthians 12:25-26

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"If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" 1 John 3:17

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"He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done." Proverbs 19:17

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"The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself. "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." Galatians 5:14-15 (NIV)

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"Thus says the LORD of hosts: ‘ Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion everyone to his brother." Zechariah 7:9 (NKJV)

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"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience" Colossians 3:12 (ESV)

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Accountability

The broad characteristic of accountability encompasses karma, justice, chastity, obedience, being ethical and conscientious of the social order. It requires self-control, honor and forbearance. From it arise purity, piety and holiness.

In the realm of the Divine, ultimate accountability is with God and the essential element is judgment for our action, in this world and beyond the grave. Whether referring to samsara and the day of judgment or paradise and nirvana, accountability is at the root of conscience and guilt, honesty and righteousness.

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Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

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"He who says to the wicked, "You are righteous," Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him. But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them." Proverbs 24:24-25

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"When I say to a wicked man, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself." Ezekiel 3:18-19

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"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another." Ephesians 4:25

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"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel." Proverbs 12:15

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"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17

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Patience

When we cultivate patience, we harvest hope, diligence, persistence, abstinence and endurance. We become decisive, steadfast in our beliefs, and able to uphold firmly our convictions. It prevents our tribulations and challenges from ending in frustration and defeat.

With patience with are saved from drowning in oceans of depression and despair. Without patience, knowledge and wisdom are unattainable. ________________________________________________________

Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh [James 5:7-8 (KJV)].

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My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing [James 1:2-4 (KJV)].

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Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city Proverbs 16:32 (NIV)

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And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not [Galatians 6:9 (KJV)].

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Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD [Psalm 27:14 (KJV)].

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Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield [Psalm 33:20 (KJV)]

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Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass [Psalm 37:7 (KJV)].

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For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth [Psalm 37:9 (KJV)].

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Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it [Psalm 37:34 (KJV)].

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Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation [Psalm 62:1 (KJV)].

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He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint [Isaiah 40:29-31 (KJV)].

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Humility

If we attain even a modicum of success, humility become essential, for pride is ever seeping into our character.

Humility develops modesty, reverence for the sacred and respect for wisdom. It gives credit where due and refrains from self-glorification. With humility, we undertake difficult, tedious and mundane tasks and accept the necessary sacrifices.

The symbol of Jesus watching the feet of his disciple is perhaps the most powerful image of humility on which we can meditate. It offers an inspiration goal for us to imitate and a comforting reminder of our interdependence.

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But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble [James 4:6 (KJV)]

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Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering [Colossians 3:12 (ASV)].

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Likewise, ye younger, be subject unto the elder. Yea, all of you gird yourselves with humility, to serve one another: for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble [1 Peter 5:5 (ASV)].

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I have made everything; that's how it all came to be. I, the LORD, have spoken. The people I treasure most are the humble – they depend only on me and tremble when I speak [Isaiah 66:2 (CEV)].

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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace [Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)]

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Charter for Compassion

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