Negotiating. Does the word generate images of car salesmen with thick mustaches in bad suits? Or make you sweat as you contemplate your worth as measured by your salary? Me, too. However, I think most people would agree that the ability to negotiate is an enviable skill. It’s more than just being prepared, knowing the strengths and weaknesses, or employing tactics like having the other party sit with the sun in their eyes.
To me, the best negotiators are people who know how to read people. People who can think quickly yet methodically on their feet. Smooth-talking, but not greasy. They’re confident and know their value, what they bring to the table. Great negotiators can easily communicate why *this* is good for all involved and will leave you believing that it was your idea from the beginning.
I think I’m a pretty strong negotiator… when I am not personally invested. I have been accused of being a “less than kind” negotiator when I realize I’m the one sitting in the power chair. As the only woman on the executive team in my office, I find myself negotiating (or haggling) for budget and resources all the time. The man selling necklaces on the Costa Rican beach didn’t have a chance when he walked up on me.
But, add my children to the equation and I risk losing my footing. Decisions that could possibly compromise their safety, sense of stability and overall well-being make me tentative, as it should… I guess… Even though man may have brought me to the negotiating table, I typically turn the focus of such negotiating towards God.
Negotiating with God.
Many times, we ask God for just enough because we’re so desperate- desperate for a change, for a breakthrough, for a pass, for relief, desperate for healing, for mended relationships. Just Desperate. Our faint hearts lead us to break all the rules of negotiating, like offering less than we’re willing to settle for. We adopt a weak bargaining position believing we have no choice. We present ourselves as paupers before the King, rather than sons and daughters of a heavenly Father. And if Jesus doesn’t move fast enough—Lord have mercy. The fear and the belief that time is against us causes the already faint heart, now sick from waiting, to make panic-filled decisions, and even more desperate negotiation pleas.
We’ve all done it. Even the unbeliever has at least once.
“Jesus, if you’re real, please get me out of___, and I promise to ____.”
“Lord, if you save my___, I will ___.”
“Father, please let my child get in (on) ___, and I’ll never ___.”
“God, if you just open the door to a job- any job- I will be ___.”
You begged God for a job- any job- and now you can’t stand it or the people. You prayed hard to get that man, and now you wish he’d go out for cigarettes…and never come back. You asked God for favor with the admissions director for your child, and now your child is barely surviving—socially or academically. You asked Him to save your spouse after that car crash. They’re alive but have no quality of life.
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO RENEGOTIATE WITH GOD.
Good news. God is a terrible negotiator. He’s neither hard nor shrewd. In fact, He’s quite accommodating actually. God will even invite us to negotiation table, allowing you and me to weigh-in on matters of concern (Genesis 18:17). Yet, in reading the Bible, we see that God exposed His hand concerning us years ago. Can it be considered a “negotiation” if the other party offers you everything right out of the gate?
But because life is life, we find ourselves having to navigate unfamiliar terrain, go places that are foreign to our loved ones, and experience things of which only God can provide understanding. We find ourselves at the table, negotiating. The proverbial ‘come to Jesus’ meeting.
We can’t approach God with a formula. Rarely, if ever, do our tears accelerate His process or move His schedule. But the Bible gives tremendous insight on the things that do move God. I’ve compiled a few of them in a nifty top 10 kind of list below.
Here we go!
10 TIPS FOR RENEGOTIATING WITH GOD
(1) NEGOTIATE FROM A POSITION OF STRENGTH. You are not a pauper. You are a child of the Most High. The Word says that God loves you the same as Jesus (John 17:22-23). God raised us together with Him (Jesus) and made us to sit down together with Him in the heavenly sphere (Ephesians 2:5-6).
“…that He might clearly demonstrate …the immeasurable riches of His free grace …toward US in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:7). “US” includes you.
KNOW. WHO. YOU. ARE. TO. GOD.
(2) ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT WITHOUT LIMITATION. Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). It is written, eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, nor has it entered into the hearts of man what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).
You can’t out dream God, so ask for what you want.
(3) LISTEN. What does God want for you? Ask. Often times, our linear and natural way of thinking produces linear and natural solutions. Ask God if there’s a better way to solve or address the issues that concern you.
(4) BE WILLING TO WALK AWAY. God has a plan for each and every one of us (Jeremiah 29:11); a predetermined purpose. Believe me, life is so much simpler when we agree with it. If what you are asking of Him does not support that purpose or fall within His plan, be willing to say, “Your plan, Lord.”
(5) PREPARE FOR THE COUNTER OFFER. When negotiating with anyone about anything, you should expect the other party to counter. That’s not unusual. And so it is with God.
Let’s look at King David. David wanted to build a temple for God. God responds to David’s offer with a counteroffer that went something like this: “That’s nice, but I never asked for a temple. I’m okay right now. But how about this? I’m going to build you a house. I will make your name great and your house and your kingdom shall be established forever.” (1 Chronicles 17: 1-14)
Think you can accept God’s counter?
(6) APPEAL TO GOD’S CHARACTER. When Abraham learned of God’s plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, he negotiated for the lives of the right-standing that lived in those cities (Genesis 18:23-25). He did this by reminding God who He was. You can do the same. Your God is loving, merciful, faithful, generous, patient, strong and mighty, gracious, forgiving and just. He’s a healer, a restorer, and a redeemer. Remind Him.
(7) ASSIGN RESPONSIBILITY. The Book of Numbers tells us how the Israelites complained and bemoaned of their limited food choices. They longed for the food of their enslavement (That’s a Selah moment). Frustrated and overwhelmed by the ingrates, Moses tells God- in so many words- that these people are not his kids. It wasn’t his idea to escort them “to the land which He swore to their fathers” (Numbers 11:11-15). It was God’s idea, which means it was God’s problem and He needed to fix it. And God did.
You are God’s child. You are God’s idea. Your children belong to God. They are His idea. When life overwhelms, when that teenager keeps talking back, or when you can see the bottom of your resources, tell God that you (and your children) are His responsibility. You are His idea, and He has to fix it.
(8) BE KINGDOM-CENTERED. After the Prophet Isaiah told him he was going to die from his illness, Hezekiah negotiated 15 additional years from God. Hezekiah tearfully asked God to remember how faithful he had been in his walk before God; how he had served God in truth and with his whole heart.
This sentiment is confirmed in Matthew 6:33– “…for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.”
WHEN WE MAKE GOD’S BUSINESS OUR FOCUS, HE MAKES OUR BUSINESS HIS FOCUS.
(9) GIVE GLORY. Hannah was barren, and her husband’s love and favor was of no consolation. She ached for a baby. Have you ever ached for something? In her desperation to feel like a woman and erase the shame associated with barrenness (at that time), she too negotiated with God. Hannah offers to give God her firstborn son if He bless her (open her womb) (1 Samuel 1:11). Hannah gave birth to Samuel, one of the great prophets in the Bible.
Ask yourself, How will my “ask” glorify God?
(10) BELIEVE. “…and being fully assured that what God had promised, He was able also to perform. Therefore IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS. Now not for his sake only was it written that it was credited to him,…” (Romans 4:21-23)
Don’t miss this, people.
The Word says that Abraham believed (fully assured) God’s promise to him, and his belief was what enabled God to perform the promise.
YOUR BELIEF EMPOWERS GOD.
In the Book of Mark, a desperate father cries out to Jesus regarding his son who was tormented by demons. He says, “If You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!” (Mark 9:22) In the following verse, Jesus repeats, in part, the man’s words. Jesus said to him, “‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”
Jesus puts the power back in the man’s hands. It’s not about whether God can. It’s about whether we can—believe. This is where our faith challenges many of us; the ability to believe what we don’t see. But there’s a word for that, too. Verse 24: “I believe! Help my unbelief!”
These spiritual tidbits can be easily summed up in one word: RELATIONSHIP. A relationship with the Father that reflects intimacy and a “knowing” brings peace to the soul and – leverage to the table. Personally, I’m sitting on Tip #10 for several things.
YOUR TURN. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO RENEGOTIATE WITH GOD? Share with us in the COMMENT section below!
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SCRIPTURES REFERENCED ABOVE
John 17:22-23. KJV. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Genesis 18:17 AMP. Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing?
Genesis 18:23-25 AMP. And Abraham came close and said, Will You destroy the righteous (those upright and in right standing with God) together with the wicked? Suppose there are in the city fifty righteous; will You destroy the place and not spare it for [the sake of] the fifty righteous in it? Far be it from You to do such a thing—to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as do the wicked! Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth execute judgment and do righteously?
Numbers 11:11-15 AMP. And Moses said to the Lord, Why have You dealt ill with Your servants? And why have I not found favor in Your sight, that You lay the burden of all this people on me? Have I conceived all this people? Have I brought them forth, that You should say to me, Carry them in your bosom, as a nursing father carries the sucking child, to the land which You swore to their fathers [to give them]? Where should I get meat to give to all these people? For they weep before me and say, Give us meat, that we may eat. I am not able to carry all these people alone, because the burden is too heavy for me. And if this is the way You deal with me, kill me, I pray You, at once, and be granting me a favor and let me not see my wretchedness [in the failure of all my efforts].
2 Kings 20: 1-6 AMP. In those days Hezekiah became deadly ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover. Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, I beseech You, O Lord, [earnestly] remember now how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart [entirely devoted to You] and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: Turn back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of My people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your [forefather]: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. I will add to your life fifteen years and deliver you and this city [Jerusalem] out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.
1 Samuel 1:11 AMP. She vowed, saying, O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid and [earnestly] remember, and not forget Your handmaid but will give me a son, I will give him to the Lord all his life; no razor shall touch his head.