Devon Franklin
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You can be successful without losing Jesus. You can be victorious in life without losing your faith. We may be in the spirit, but we're part of the world and we no longer need to keep it separated. This premise confounds many Christians as they believe they can't mesh the secular and the spiritual. Film guru, author and preacher DeVon Franklin articulates we don't have to live like this anymore in the empowering book, The Hollywood Commandments: A Spiritual Guide to Secular Success. "The irony of it is that we are both spiritual and secular both at the same time. Too often we say 'This is going over here and that's going over there' but that's not how any of us live. What I wanted to do was write The Hollywood Commandments to show the value of spirituality and the value of being secular. One doesn't contradict the other, they actually compliment each other." How can you be a success in a secular environment while still holding onto your faith? How can you use the knowledge of the secular environment to make your faith greater? Contemplate the following information we received from Franklin during our interview.

Redefine what success is.

Franklin suggested we need to redefine what success is. "Let's make something clear," he wrote. "If your goal is to get the house of a lifetime, the car of your dreams or more money than you can handle, this book is not for you!" We prize the honesty coming from a professional living in the thick of Hollywood, who also added: "I don't care if you ever drive a Bently, carry a Burkin bag or buy a mansion in the [Hollywood] Hills.
What I care about is seeing you live out your God-given purpose." Additionally, he shared as much as Hollywood is tainted, it holds value by surviving the past recessions, power struggles and political issues. There are secrets buried within the industry and lessons we can learn. Things like learning how to value yourself more, negotiate better and owning your own distinctness are keys in keeping Tinseltown alive. The same holds true in our lives. However, if we maintain success only pertains to material things, we miss the point.

Get out of the box.

When Moses led the children of Israel through the desert, his followers criticized him. Noah was chastised and mocked when he built the ark. All of us are subjected to other people's evaluations of us. "Those opinions hold no value so people may know us in one way and try to create an identity for us. I call this the box. We need to recycle that box, we don't need to internalize someone else's interpretation of our identity. The box that people want to put us in is limitation and restriction." Sometimes we can only view ourselves through the lens that someone else sets up for us. The idea is to not allow ourselves to be redefined by other people's expectations or other people's opinions.

Let go of your plans.

We did everything. We fasted, prayed and used our faith only to find disappointment. When the answer is “no,” it’s hard to swallow because we want our own way and are heartbroken. Success is having peace, and if God is not directing you or giving you a breakthrough, you need to let go of your plans. This doesn't mean it won't happen. "I believe that we can find peace in both our spiritual and secular pursuits relative to what God's idea is for our life and His Will is for our life. There are times we want that are not in God's will." God has already said "yes" to our destiny and to our purpose but sometimes on the way to discover what it is, we begin to pursue things not aligned with what He wants us to do. "Pursuing God's Will in the environment that we were designed to operate in will produce the 'yes' we're seeking," he said.

You need do the work.

There are various references about humility in the Bible. Proverbs 27:1 tells us to not "Boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." Jeremiah 9:23 is another example of being humble. "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the might man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches." Franklin also reminded humility impacts your career. "You need to carry a crown first before you can wear one. Everyone wants to wear the crown and everyone wants to sit on the throne and everyone wants someone else to carry their crown." Franklin uses the account of King David to support this view. David was anointed to be the king but he does not instantly go to the throne. Once he's anointed to be king, he goes to work in the palace of King Saul to be his armorbearer to help Saul carry his crown. David learned what it took to be king and recognized what it took to manage that kind of authority as an apprentice. "Hollywood is an apprentice business. You learn by doing and you learn from other people who went before you and have done it. Hollywood is not the type of business you come into unilaterally and find success. It's a business that honors the time, service and apprenticeship. You must carry a crown before you wear one is all about committing to your career, committing to learning and being of service to somebody else." The result of your service will ultimately put you into a position to one day to be served.

Reject false humility.

We need to repudiate the idea that just because we're believers, we can't stand up for ourselves. "This is not a time to have an aw-shucks mentality. This is business," Franklin replied passionately. "Be clear in what you want and don't be afraid to ask for what you want and don't be afraid to hold your ground when you are not getting what you're worth. This is one of the main areas people of faith struggle with. I've been there where I wanted to be a good guy. I didn't want to rock the boat, so let me not ask for what I want because I want them to know that I am happy." Franklin said he agreed to a compensation that was less than his worth. "Guess what? They were happy and I wasn't." You need to act in your own interest like companies do. There are many ways compensation can be viewed, including having a better work-life balance and more personal time off. "Don't assume that the company you work for will take care of you."

The church doesn't teach on how to survive in the business world or how to be a success. Luckily for us, we have people who stormed the gates like Franklin. We can't shut the world out completely and to remain separated from it keeps us dormant in business, in life and being a witness to the world. By knowing your value, setting down false humility and a servant, you can live out your God-given destiny.
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