Yo, I had a dream that I was captain of my soul
I was master of my fate, lost control, and then I sank
So I don’t want to take the lead, ’cause I’m prone to make mistakes
All these folks who follow me, goin’ end up in the wrong place
So just let me shadow you, just let me trace your lines
Matter of fact, just take my pen, here, you create my rhymes
‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed
And no longer trust in You, ’cause I only trust in me
And see, that’s how you end up headed to destruction
Paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothin’…
– excerpt from the song “Background” by Lecrae

If you have never heard the song, “Background,” by Lecrae, I urge you to listen to it before proceeding to read this post. It is an utterly brilliant song full of truth.

This morning I was reading in Luke 4 about the temptation of Jesus, and the LORD gave me some fresh insight into a theme He’s been teaching me about self-sufficiency. Broadly speaking, Satan challenges Jesus in three critical areas: provision, power, and protection.

In Luke 4:3-4, Satan challenges Jesus to provide his own food. Jesus serves here as the fulfillment of what OT Israel was supposed to be. They wandered around in the desert for 40 years and Jesus for 40 days. They grumbled and complained, and never exactly learned to trust God for provision. Jesus comes along and essentially says, “It’s not even just that I trust God to provide for my physical needs, but for my even greater [spiritual] needs” (Man does not live on bread alone…). Jesus refuses to provide for His own need, even though He could. This is key.

In Luke 4:5-7, Satan ups his game with increased deception (his claim is not fully true) and challenges Jesus to skip the trials and go ahead to get crowned King of all, if only He will bow down to Satan first. Essentially, He invites Jesus to take a shortcut to fame and glory. Once again, Jesus refuses (4:8) to take matters into His own hands, take shortcuts, and break the 1st commandment. Jesus allows God’s power to take care of His needs (even though it is often a less direct and more painful route) rather than to trust in His own strength (as a human).

In Luke 4:9-11, Satan challenges Jesus to take charge of his own protection. Interestingly, many people make similar arguments to Jesus’ followers today. If God is real, then… Jesus responds, not with, “Watch the LORD provide,” but with a humbly submissive refusal to put God to the test (4:12).

In each of these three temptations, Jesus focuses on the sufficiency and supremacy of the Father and submits to Him, even in cases when He could provide for His own needs. This is where Lecrae’s song “Background” comes in. In B4T there are two sides to this coin. There are those who think they can’t build a business in a foreign country by themselves (and thus they need God’s help), and there are those who know they can (and often fail to realize they still need God’s help). In either case, we should want to do B4T with God – even if we could do the “B” by ourselves. I can identify with Lecrae, when he says,

‘Cause if I do this by myself, I’m scared that I’ll succeed
And no longer trust in You, ’cause I only trust in me
And see, that’s how you end up headed to destruction
Paving a road to nowhere, pour your life out for nothin’

I probably could do business by myself, but I would have to question why I would want to gain the whole world and forfeit my soul (also lyrics in Lecrae’s song). Jesus had the ability to do a lot of things by himself that he lay down at the Father’s feet  so that  he could enjoy the relationship with his Heavenly Father. If we leave Jesus behind, we may “succeed” in business but we will certainly fail in transformation. There is no way, if we love him, that we will want to go it alone.

So let’s join Lecrae in learning to play the background. I join Lecrae and pray the whole world will start embracing stage fright, so that we allow the real show to take the stage.



PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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