Working a full-time job can be stressful in, but being a Christian and working a full-time job in a secular environment can feel daunting. How do we model Christ at work while attending staff meetings, crafting budget reports, or composing emails?
“Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.” – Colossians 3:23
If you have ever read this Bible verse and wondered how to do everything to the glory of God, I hope this post will give you insight. Unless you work at a church or faith-based nonprofit, you are part of the majority of Christians who work in secular environments.
Fortunately, I’ve compiled a list of habits that will help you in your walk with Christ. You are probably already doing some of these things, which is great! If so, then you are already doing what you can to model Christ in the workplace.
Model Christ by being slow to anger.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness.” – James 1:19
If you have ever worked a day in your life, you’ve probably endured some sort of conflict at work. It’s inevitable. Whenever there are people with different personalities, backgrounds, religions, and beliefs, there’s bound to be ruffled feathers. Maybe you are generally mild tempered, but even the most patient people get angry sometimes.
Try not to let things bother you. Instead of mouthing off to your coworkers to complain about your boss, ease up. Take a walk around the office building to clear your head, or write out your feelings in a Notes document on your computer to help release some of that anger. Just taking a moment to do some deep breathing can help.
Model Christ by not letting others influence you.
“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” – 1 Corinthians 15:33
It can be all too easy to complain about work if our coworkers do so as well. We have to be careful not to fall into the trap of adopting bad habits from others. As children of God, sometimes we are going to feel out of place, and that’s a good thing.
If you’ve had a drinking problem in the past and your coworkers want to go out for drinks for happy hour, but you would rather not be tempted, it’s OK to decline. You have to do what you have to do to protect your spirit.
Or maybe it’s just a matter of not using crude language in the workplace like some of your coworkers might. Whatever the temptation is for you, know that you are doing something by not doing something.
Model Christ by practicing the fruit of the spirit.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
Of course, we want to practice the fruit of the spirit all the time, but there’s just something about getting through the work day that can wear a person down. Anyone else dread the commute to and from work? Just sitting in stop-and-go traffic every day gets on my last nerve. Otherwise, I consider myself a very patient person. But stick me in a traffic jam, and I lose all patience. Anyone else this way?
Many people have other “pet peeves.” Whatever your pet peeve is, remember the fruit of the spirit. Just the idea of having a peaceful attitude at work can seem impossible. Peace and work normally don’t go hand-in-hand. But with God, all things are possible, right?! You can be joyful at work. You can be loving and peaceful.
Have you ever encountered people at work who always have a smile on their face? A few of the cleaning crew in my office building are always happy and smiling. They come in early in the morning to clean the building, and you wouldn’t know they have to be at work at 5 AM each day unless you were to ask. Whenever the cleaning lady comes in, I can’t help but smile and chat with her for a few minutes. She just brightens up the whole office. This is just one example of how having a joyful spirit can affect others around you.
Model Christ by not competing with others. Instead, offer a helping hand.
“Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” – Galatians 5:26
The workplace is a breeding ground for competition. Naturally, people want to do their work and be rewarded for doing a good job. But I’m sure we have all encountered people who seem like they aren’t qualified for their job or who always want to take credit for doing things they didn’t do. Maybe it’s a coworker who ranks higher than you, or maybe it’s your supervisor who stole your idea.
This sort of deceitfulness can go unnoticed by upper management. But you have to be able to not let those things get to you. You may have the luxury of being able to transfer to a different position, but some people aren’t so lucky. You could try to find a job somewhere else, but who knows what the work environment is like there.
Maybe your job requires you to compete, being a salesman or earning some sort of commission. But make sure your heart is in the right place. How do you do that? Be kind to your coworkers. Just as Christ has loved us, show love to your coworkers, rather than hate and greed. Try to see them as brothers and sisters, rather than competition at work. You never know when one small action could bring someone closer to Christ.
Lastly, model Christ by recognizing God’s work in your life and trusting in him.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
This is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me that I don’t need to worry. God’s got my back, and He has yours, too. You may feel unhappy in your job, but right now you are exactly where God wants you to be. He is always in control, and He always has a plan. He doesn’t just get you somewhere and then forget about you, moving on to the next person who needs him.
God is not an all-knowing being who delights in making you miserable. The Bible talks about carrying our cross daily, which sounds so burdensome and impossible. But the more you read the Word, the more you have relationship with God, the easier the journey gets because you begin to adopt Christ’s mindset and habits. That’s how we are perfected in our faith. (Matthew 5:8)
I hope this has been an encouraging post for you. This is not to make you feel like you are a “bad Christian.” Rather, my intent is to get you thinking about the bigger picture of God’s work in your life. It can be all too easy to go through the to-do list for the day. We aren’t mindless drones simply made to complete tasks. We are to be shining lights to the world.
For further reading, I am going to list a few plans from She Reads Truth that might help get you thinking. She Reads Truth is a great resource of devotionals for Christian women that are short and sweet.
As always, stay encouraged.
Have any other suggestions on how to glorify God and model Christ at work? Feel free to share your thoughts or comments below!