Work by faith

Work by faith

Christian faith doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It is heavily affected by culture, philosophy, politics and even technology. This influence may be very subtle and last for centuries, slowly changing Christian faith up to the point when it becomes an integrated part of it. We should be watchful, therefore, and keep our eyes on the author of our faith — Jesus Christ. Getting back to the roots always helps to recognize how far our faith got off its course and merged with culture or got steered by political motives. Looking at the end of our faith, its perfecter — Jesus Christ, also helps to see where we are headed (Hebrews 12:2). Does it lead us to become more like Him or less like Him or maybe even the opposite?

What I noticed in particular is how work culture affects Christian faith. Some teach nowadays that we have to achieve our dreams, as if they are from God. Others say that every job is from God and we have to work where we are now. Others claim that we have to get the leading positions in society in order to build God’s kingdom on earth. I guess your employer would like to hear this preached, because it motivates us to seek promotion, to earn more and to set higher career goals. But what does it have to do with Christianity?

These statements can easily be mapped on every religion and even on atheism. I see it as a purely cultural influence, particularly the influence of success and achievement. Where does the Bible say that all our dreams are from God or that every job is from God? Why can’t we have our own dreams and goals? And there are jobs which defame Christ, jobs that promote sin and screwed moral values. Regarding the leading positions, the Lord can surely put us in one, if He wants, but is it His will for everyone? Shall we all strive to get these positions, if we have different gifts (1 Corinthians 12:15-20)?

This culture of success and achievement has some good influence. It teaches us to be disciplined, to plan ahead and to solve complex problems. But it also has a negative influence. For example, being a hypocrite and trying to get approval of “important” people by saying what they like to hear. It can also tempt us to compromise our faith (just a little bit) in order to get promoted. And of course, there is always a pressure to do everything you are told in order to keep your job. Such influence may be a big challenge to our faith, in my opinion. Especially if your family depends on you financially.

The Bible teaches us to represent Christ not only in deeds, but also in words: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17). This excludes any kind of hypocrisy and lies, because He is the truth, and no lie comes from the truth (John 14:6, 1 John 2:21). It also teaches us hold firm to our faith in Christ without any compromise, standing firm in tests and trials. Consider examples from Daniel 3:16-18, Hebrews 11 and the example of Christ Himself, who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, and remained faithful (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Work is a great blessing and a gift from God. But like any other gift: marriage, health, spiritual gifts, money and life itself, it can easily become too important. If we cling to it with all our hearts, minds and strength and better die than lose it, then it can become an idol. Any idol steals our pure devotion to Christ and takes His place. It also changes us in its likeness, rather than in Christ’s likeness, because we become what we love and follow. But Christ wants us to become like Him and only like Him. I believe He died for this very purpose (John 17:26, Romans 8:29). This is how much He loves us. And in His love, He can take some blessings away from us, in order to bring us back to Him.

As Christians, we have to be an example not only in excellent work quality, reliability and integrity, but also in love, faith and holiness (1 Peter 1:15). It’s not enough just to do your job well. Everyone is supposed to do this, right? We should also keep our jobs in open hands before the Lord and be ready to politely refuse any request which contradicts our faith, kindly explaining the reasons, and trusting the Lord for our future and the future of our families. Wherever we are, He will test our faith and once it’s proven genuine, He may entrust us with more resources to build His kingdom.

In any position we work, I believe our role here is to represent Jesus Christ. This is in the end what the word “Christian” means — the follower of Christ. Sometimes representing Him may be painful, even offensive and seen as intolerant, but nothing on this earth belongs to us. Once we got born again, we lost it all, because we died to the world (Galatians 6:14, Philippians 3:7-11). We no longer belong here. So why do we cling to its values, culture and even to the blessings, rather than clinging to Christ Himself, our first love and our true treasure?

Let’s be watchful about our cultures and what they offer us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, our hands always open and our hearts fully devoted to Him alone.

God bless!

Author: Sasha Taran