I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.JOHN 16:33
As redeemed daughters of God, we spend our days on earth constantly passing between two worlds: our personal lives and the secular workplace. In the morning we leave our home where we are free to paint our lives with the joy and freedom that Jesus brings. But then as we arrive at work we step into a very different place where Jesus is unwelcome and our selves unwelcome because of him.
If you’re like me, you feel a very real tension between your two worlds and have not quite mastered the act of passing between the two seamlessly. Of course we understand that we shouldn’t act differently, and that we shouldn’t fear the judgement and persecution of the secular world. However, we also firmly stand on the heritage of boldness and hope exemplified throughout scripture as we seek to live our faith out where it can be seen. (Matthew 5:14-15; Romans 1:16).
I confess that I struggle with my identity in Jesus and the identity that the world expects of me. I want the best of both worlds. I want to be regarded highly both in church and at work. I want to be able to express my faith boldly in both arenas without skipping a beat and without receiving dirty looks or being avoided.
You may be getting a sense that this topic applies to much more than just being Christian at work and you’d be right. Even with a heavenly calling on me, I can get caught up in sin in spite of myself. The line gets blurred constantly. Things like gossiping, grumbling against management decisions, or even participating in less-than-godly conversations just to fit in can knock me off course at work.
So how do we maintain our purpose and razor sharp focus while the ruler of the world works to render us inefficient? Here are some practical ways that we can reinforce and realign our minds in the face of this great “tug-of-war”.
Commit to being in the word of God daily
The Word of God changes us as we read it. And as you are being changed, your heart will naturally linger over Truth as you go about your day, even if you aren’t directly thinking about it. Romans 15:4 says: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
Hope. This is what we need when in the thick of it every day. The world is an ugly place, and everyone acts ugly in it at times. But the scriptures were meant for our benefit and instruction so that as long as we don’t give up, all the encouargement of our heavenly Father would produce hope. Not “I hope I win the lottery hope.” The joy and confident expectation of our salvation which we all await.
But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.JOHN 14:26
[Author’s note: There is no substitute for reading scripture for yourself without the added opinions of Bible scholars and other authors. While commentaries and devotionals certainly have their places as we grow spiritually, I would exhort you to make a point of getting to know God’s word with all your heart and all your mind, and depend on the Holy Spirit to do what He is best at: teaching and guiding us. The point is that you will be letting it change your heart. And as you persevere in making scripture a priority on a daily basis, I think you will find, as I have, that you become hungrier for it and stronger from it.]
Gather together – whatever that looks like
Christians aren’t meant to work alone in a vacuum. We are wired for community, especially in a gospel-hostile environment. Do you happen to know any co-workers who are Christian? Or people who might be on the fence? Taking extra care to pray, discern and respect comfort zones, be empowered to approach someone about starting a bible study. Depending on circumstances, suggest meeting over lunch once or twice a month. Perhaps you could work through a published study, or just read chapter by chapter through a book of the Bible. And then see what happens.
I recently had this impression that I should approach a certain co-worker of mine to see if she would be interested. I honestly had no idea where she was in her walk of faith or if she was even Christian. To my complete surprise, she was super enthusiastic about the idea and told me she had always wanted to do a bible study but never had the chance or tools to think it possible.
Perhaps you don’t know a soul who would be interested right now. That’s okay. In the meantime, consider asking one or two other people from your church or social circle. Meet regularly to study and pray. Don’t be afraid to share the highs and lows of what it means to be a Christian in a secular workplace.
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”MATTHEW 18:20
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.1 PETER 2:9
Pray for your workplace
Make a commitment to pray regularly over your job, co-workers, leaders, organization, and physical workplace (if you have one). Pray that Jesus would be on display first and foremost in your words and actions. Pray for hearts to be softened in order to receive the gospel message and that they would come to know the Lord if they haven’t already. While your prayers do not have the power to accept Jesus on behalf of others, God will certainly hear your intercessions and work things to the good of those who will come to know him. You’ll be changed too, as you pray for others, the bible tells us that our hearts are being sanctified too.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.1 TIMOTHY 2:1-5
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.COLOSSIANS 4:5-6
In what ways do you maintain a vibrant faith at work? What did I miss? Share your thoughts in the comments below!