Work is a big part of people’s lives. Whether you go to the office or work from home, you likely spend more time focused on work related tasks than household activities, and interact more with coworkers than with family members. It is essential to ensure that you feel connected to God in your workplace, considering that most are environments focused on anything but Christ at the center.
Work can be stressful, challenging, frustrating, and full of disappointments and unhealthy competition. So how can we display the behavior God desires of us? How can we ensure that we have joy, purpose, and treat people with love? Here are six steps to help you bring Jesus with you to work.
You don’t need to be in a leadership position to set the tone of the environment. Leaders are the ones who take the opportunity to influence people to serve others like Jesus. When you shift your perspective to a more positive outlook, it is easier to face challenges. Keep in mind that God has a plan for you, and the everyday challenges are a part of your journey.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11
Stop seeking approval
You are God’s child, and he loves you exactly how he made you. You may have flaws, but you have many more positive attributes, and you have his approval. As you serve God through your work, you will see his favor. Do your tasks to the best of your ability and always ask for his guidance. There is no possible wrong outcome from carrying that perspective.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. -Genesis 1:27
Put people at the center
Love people around you. Treat them well. Serve them. It doesn't matter if there is a person constantly competing with you, trying to take your place, or spreading rumors about you. Jesus loved all people, even his enemies. Having compassion and empathy while choosing to break biases and stereotypes are good starting points. Jesus gave us a clear directive about loving others.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. -John 13:34-35
Listen to others
The best way to connect and love others is by listening to them. Hearing is different than listening. Listening is about opening your heart, putting aside any judgment and paying attention to the other person. Looking the person in the eye is even better, then choosing to give appropriate constructive feedback. God's word tells us to listen first, think carefully before speaking, and to not allow emotions to control the way we react to others or to the circumstance.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. -James 1:19
Do the hard work
Most of the big tasks God puts in your life require hard work. He wants to ensure the opportunity to exercise faith, be committed, and understand the value of what he has done in your life. Even though you may be at a challenging stage in your work life, do your best and rest assured God is equipping you for the next step. If you don't quit, you win.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. -Colossians 3:23-24
Choose to protect yourself from becoming a workaholic. Set time for family, friends, colleagues, and yourself. God worked hard for six days, but he rested on the seventh. You need to do the same. Take time to relax your mind and body, to connect even deeper with God. Do things that bring joy to your life and give meaning to your purpose. You can then return to work renewed and ready for a new challenge, new lesson, or even a new chapter.
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. -Psalms 127:2
Your workplace may not be filled with God-fearing people, but you can choose to be the light wherever you go. Lead by example and let people be inspired by your attitude. Work hard, do not spread rumors, be kind, be honest, and be trustworthy. Remember that daily challenges are tools God is using to equip you and make you grow.
Work must be seen as a ministry and our workplaces must be seen as mission fields. -Dr. David Mende