by Gary Selman
Although our country was founded on Christian principles, many Christians have been convinced by government, special interest groups, lawyers and corporate America that prayer, reading the Bible and applying their faith in the workplace is grossly misplaced and that it should come no closer to their office than the parking garage. So what is a Christian who trusts in God supposed to do when faced with daily workplace challenges, tests, and trials? Who should they turn to for wisdom and insight on recruiting, hiring, training and retaining key employees and leaders? How can they empower their workforce to higher levels of productivity and quality? How can they lead like Jesus, with love and compassion in a worldly environment geared toward power, selfishness, and greed?
In the face of these challenges do you turn to man or God? How do you distinguish yourself from the rest of the workforce who don’t believe in God or His Word? Are you functioning the same way that the unbeliever functions, simply going with the flow and doing the best you can? Are you getting God-sized results because you are willing to apply your faith in God and His Word to your work life or failing because you think and act like the world, with an independent mindset that edges God out of your daily decision making and work habits?
As Christians in the workplace, how do we get back on track? How do we change the way we think so that our thinking, behavior and character are pleasing to God? Colossians 3:23 says that whatever we do, do it heartily as to the Lord, not to man. Proverbs 20:25 says that the fear of man brings a snare but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe. Since each one of us is personally responsible for honoring God and applying the Word to our everyday lives, we must commit to renewing our minds daily through the reading and hearing of God’s Word (Romans 12:1-2) followed by a corresponding action to support our belief in Jesus Christ. (James 1:22-25). This sets the stage for implementing our faith in the workplace.
What is faith and how can we effectively appropriate it in our work life? Faith is our confidence and trust in Jesus, His love for us, and our acknowledgement that His death on the cross cleansed us of all sins, past, present and future. It is our belief in God’s Word.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being certain of what we do not see. That is what the people of long ago were praised for. We have faith. So we understand that everything was made when God commanded it. That’s why we believe that what we see was not made out of what could be seen. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
We apply our faith in the workplace by developing a daily habit of praying to God in the name of Jesus and seeking direction from the Holy Spirit in every situation and in every detail of our daily work activities and tasks. This is the essence of faith in action.
Hebrews 11 is often referred to as the “Faith Hall of Fame.” The word “faith” is used 31 times in this chapter. Paul recounts the role that faith played in the lives of many of the major figures in the Bible: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Rahab. All of them faced impossible challenges that were resolved by the fulfillment of promises made by God. In the last two verses, Paul reminds us that although they did not live to see the promises of God, they never stopped believing in the One who made the promises.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:39-40, NIV)
Are you facing what appear to be insurmountable problems in your work life? Have you put your faith to work and called on the Almighty God for help?
Faith in Action
When reading our Bible, Gary and I often do a word substitution, replacing the word “faith” with “belief.” For us, this reinforces that faith for the born-again believer means complete surrender and submission of our needs, thoughts, and concerns to God, trusting and relying on Him through His Son Jesus Christ, and the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. It reinforces our belief in God’s Word and that we can have what the Bible says we can have, if only we will believe, knowing that it is impossible for God to lie. (Hebrews 6:18).
As stated earlier, in conjunction with believing, we must have a corresponding action to support what we believe. In James 2:26, Jesus’ brother James states, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” It is fitting that the entire chapter of Hebrews is dedicated to the lives of the “heroes and heroines” of the Bible who supported their belief in God and His promises with a corresponding action of faith. This is faith at work or faith in action. Hebrews 11 exemplifies faith and shows us that faith is:
1. A THING or STATE OF BEING. Faith is the natural state, anchor or foundation for a believer.
• Confirmation or Title Deed (Heb 11:1)
• Proof of what cannot be seen (Heb 11:1)
• Conviction or belief (Heb 11:1)
• Trust in God (See Heb 11:1, 19, 32-37)
2. A MINDSET. Faith is the normal or natural way of thinking for the believer.
• Point of view, state or condition, way of thinking (Heb 11:1)
• Perception or way of looking at the world (See Heb 11:2-3, 20)
3. A MEANS OF GETTING SOMETHING ACCOMPLISHED. Faith equips, enables or empowers a believer to succeed and prosper in every area of their life.
• By faith (Heb 11:2-3, 11, 17, 28)
4. A NECESSARY ELEMENT, STATE OR CONDITION OF RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. Faith is a necessary requirement to have a relationship with God.
• Believing in God (Heb 11:6)
• Pleasing to God (See Heb 11:6)
• Becoming satisfactory in God’s eyes (Heb 11:6)
5. A SOURCE OF MOTIVATION OR ENERGIZER. Faith motivates, incites, inspires and drives the actions of Christians; it serves as the justification or reason for action.
• Believers are actuated (put into action) by faith (See Heb 11:4, 22)
• Believers are aroused by faith (See Heb 11:24)
• Believers take action because of faith (See Heb 11:5, 11, 30).
• Believers are helped by faith (Heb 11:33)
• Believers are motivated by faith (Heb 11:27)
• Believers are prompted by faith (See Heb 11:4, 7, 9, 21, 23, 31)
• Believers are urged on and encouraged by faith (See Heb 11:8, 29)
• Believers are controlled by and sustained by faith (Heb 11:13)
For the successful Christian in the workplace, faith in God is a way of life. It shapes our thinking, emotions and actions. It is a necessary ingredient in our relationship with God. In faith, we choose to believe in, trust in, and lean on a God that we cannot see. In faith, we believe that nothing is impossible for us because He lives within us. In faith, we confront the enemy. In faith, we speak to the mountains, problems and challenges in our life and expect them to move. In faith, we endure and press on. In faith, we are justified and made righteous. In faith, we persevere. In faith, we win and have victory. In faith, we will meet our Lord face to face. We encourage you to commit today to live a life of faith in both your professional and personal lives. Fight the fight of faith so that you too will be known by God and all the saints and angels in heaven as a “hero or heroine” of faith.
Gary L. Selman is an accomplished author, executive coach and motivational speaker. He has spent over thirty five years pursuing his calling, encouraging, mentoring and equipping others to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God and to become compassionate, faithful and disciplined servant leaders. Gary and his wife Karen are founders of the First Call Advisory Group, which ministers to business owners, corporate executives and entrepreneurs. Gary holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical & Community Psychology from Stephen F. Austin University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org