3 Ways to Be In Christ at Work (Part 2)

After discussing two ways we can vocationally abide in Christ in my last post, I want to conclude with one final thought…

…because we are in Christ, we have the mind of Christ and with it, we can see the Cross as an opportunity to go weak into Jesus.

As mentioned in ‘part 1‘, the Cross not only captures total weakness but is a way of life we approach God and minister to others. By daily recognizing our helplessness in light of Christ’s sufficiency, we engage our ‘new creation’ identity (2 Corinthians 5:17) and salvation through surrender (i.e. going weak into Jesus with delight and humility).

Unfortunately, remembering our ‘new creation’ identity in the heat of hustle isn’t always easy. While some may struggle to understand daily dying and rising with Christ, for most of us, the crux comes down to self-effort and independent thinking.

For instance, when we make a mistake at work, the temptation is to fix the problem before we invite God into the situation. Granted, reconciling errors is an important part of any job; however, as marketplace ministers, we must understand there’s a divine order for our faith and reliance to follow.

If our heart is to serve the Lord, then we can know the way to best serve our colleagues and clients is to focus on Jesus as we embrace our weakness. In doing this, we accept the fact we are loved by God as new creations with a purpose beyond perfection. Again, conflicts and miscues come and go but the source of faith is eternal.

As nuanced as certain situations can be, far greater the glory when we discover freedom in embracing weakness – when ‘I can’t do it on my own’ becomes a battle-cry of worship.

Think of it this way: The Cross, as a picture of total weakness, was the plan from the beginning. Accordingly, we can find peace knowing God designed dependence to be a lifeline in our relational pursuit of Him. To the secular world, dependence is weakness, the sign of our frailty, but in God’s eyes, dependence is a highway of intimacy and discovery. 

Practically, this can manifest several ways at work. A classic example involves our response to fear and anxiety. When we encounter gossip, false accusation and/or neglect, our default is often centered in retaliation or withdrawal as opposed to yielding in surrender with praise and petition. Yet, as our faith compels us, anytime we feel overwhelmed, we can see the pain and discomfort as opportunities to press into Jesus.

When we feel angry about subordinates or teammates not committing their all, we commit the frustration to Jesus and the need for immediate resolution. Remember peace is not simply an overflow of wisdom but the way we trust God when we’re struggling to connect, relate, or understand. 

If it helps, consider how Paul relished the thorn. In the same way the thorn became his icon of dependence, so too it can be our symbol of savor for Jesus as we yield and surrender. As for how we do this at work, I submit we follow a similar pathway:

As we depend on God by yielding to the Spirit and acknowledging our helplessness, we can…

  1. Surrender our struggle by receiving grace in place of fear and our entitlement to make sense of our surroundings.
  2. Remember the battles we fight are not against flesh and blood but of principalities of darkness (Ephesians 6:12).
  3. Approach suffering not only as a way we engage God’s Kingdom but as the core to our vocational identity (Hebrews 5:8).
  4. Enter into His courts with praise/gratitude knowing we’re called as faithful stewards and partakers of God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).
  5. Respond to Jesus in weakness through prayer, petition, obedience. 
  6. Walk in humility knowing Christ lives His dependence to the Spirit through us (Isaiah 11:1-5).
  7. Rest in knowing goodness and godliness will mark our work because we have been given the mind of Christ (Psalm 145:7, 2 Peter 1:3, 1 Corinthians 2:16).
  8. Tackle conflicts with confidence knowing it’s not on us to overcome. 
  9. Abide in intimacy through daily dying/rising with Christ (i.e. calibrating to the Cross).
  10. View dependence as a way we trust God for healthy working relationships and perpetuate peace even when we don’t feel it.
  11. Perceive the future with expectancy knowing God will transform our hearts through the renewing of our minds.
  12. Obey with joy knowing as we worship through weakness, our attitudes are shaped in peace by the same power that renews/transforms the minds of Christ we already have.

As Paul declared in Galatians 2:20, we don’t rely in our strength but yield to Christ who lives in us. Therefore, when the work gets tough, when the times get rough, dare to see your inward groans as worship unto Jesus. If suffering is the catalyst to embracing weakness and embracing weakness the key to pressing into God, then it makes sense why we can boast in God’s sufficiency. To live as Kingdom influencers at work, we must remember our success is not about what we accomplish each week but what we gain going weak into Jesus. 

Bottom line: Since we have the mind of Christ, we can experience breakthrough at work by the way we depend on Him. In times of strength, we honor God by acknowledging the good we contribute is because of Him; in times of weakness, we honor God by delighting in what we can’t do apart from Him. After all, when we work with the mind of Christ applied, not only can we taste communion with Jesus in challenging circumstances but embrace weakness as both the way we surrender to the Cross and the way we relate and endure as new creations. 

Selah.

As we approach Thanksgiving, I encourage you, friends, to let your thorn be a boost to Jesus. Don’t just press through at work but press in. Don’t just surrender on the go, but draw near and be still. After all, teachable hearts make preachable moments and you, brothers, are testaments to this truth.

Cover photo creds: Kirkland Baptist Church; videos courtesy of Steve Fry‘s Reset series @ The Gate

3 Ways to Be In Christ at Work (Part 1)

So lately I’ve been thinking…

…many of us get what it means to be of God, from God, near God; we understand what it means to live by Christ, through Christ, because of Christ…

…but at the end of the day do we truly appreciate being in Christ? Do we care to know what this means…how this looks as anointed, appointed Kingdom influencers at work?

Like some of you, I know in Christ I’m a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37), and have been set free (Ephessians 1:7, Galatians 5:1). But I’ll be honest: There are days I struggle to see how these truths translate to what I do. 

Perhaps tonight you’re reading this lost in a similar boat wondering how your skills are connected to your ‘in Christ’ identity.

If so, know this: If we’re to mature in this wisdom, we must see the pathway as embracing weakness in light of God’s sovereignty. As I explain in this post, our admittance of helplessness is not only the first step to being an in Christ worker but also the way we cultivate peace and joy as we work.

While doing so may be difficult depending on our occupation, if we commit to this forgotten Gospel, no question we will inspire cultural transformation as an overflow of our heart transformation.

Accordingly, here are three ways we can vocationally abide in our in Christ identity.

1. Yield first, submit second.

In a performance-oriented world, we tend to methodically approach our trust. Deep down, we want to depend on God but ultimately struggle as self-effort guides our surrender.

For example, we can confess our need for God while resisting our want for Him; likewise we can acknowledge the value of dependence while catering to our independence. As we’ll discuss later on, this is partly why some rush to deny conflict without denying it source…without acknowledging God’s presence.

However, we when consider the ministry of reconciliation, we realize we are born again into dependence the moment we accept Christ. Like the iconic Matrix scene, the adaptation to this new reality is powerful.

As baby believers, we learn how the Cross breaks the power of sin by severing the root of independence. From there, we grow in Christ as we develop intimacy with God through Christ by His Spirit.

The problem for some of us is how we abide in this intimacy. Especially when we’re at work, the temptation is to postpone intimacy as an experience we initiate as opposed to a mindset/reality we enter into. But as God’s Word declares: We were placed in intimacy the moment we confessed our helplessness (John 17:22-23, James 4:8, 1 John 4:13-16). As a result, we can draw near to God (at work) knowing…

1. Intimacy is already achieved because of the Cross.

2. Intimacy is the foundation from which gratitude and surrender flow.

3. Embracing our weakness redirects our focus to God’s strength.

4. Our work can be a response of worship as we embrace weakness and lean on Jesus. 

Bottom line: The Cross is not only where intimacy starts but also the reason we can embrace weakness; however, to do this, particularly at work, we must remember to yield first, surrender second. After all, it’s not the confession that aligns us but the heart posture we take to reference God in the moment.

2. See the Work, See the Cross.

We’ve established how admitting our 100% helplessness is the first step to embracing weakness, yielding before submitting, and maturing as a worker in Christ. But what if I told you there’s more apart from this rhythm? 

Consider this: While the Cross represents the finished work of Christ on earth, it’s also the way we do life for eternity.  \

So far, we’ve discussed this in individual terms, specifically our approach to work as worship and referencing God without striving. Yet, as for our colleagues and clients, this implies relationship marked by…

1. Love manifesting in harmony, unity, and sacrifice.

2. Dependence on God’s sovereignty.

3. Working unto the Lord as faithful stewards.

4. Working unto the Lord as worshipers aware of the good He’s given us.

After all, God didn’t give us expertise and influence to be confined within a vacuum. 

If it helps, here are some examples of how embracing weakness/God’s strength in light of the Cross can help us live in harmony/unity.

When we see the Cross at the core of our work, we’re more inclined to…

  • Own mistakes in confidence when we’re tempted to beat ourselves up.
  • Receive God’s humility into situations when relearning and reviewing is necessary.
  • Receive the Holy Spirit when our attitudes need adjusting.
  • Lean on God when we’re tempted to stress (i.e. trade our ‘I don’t want to do this‘ for His ‘You got this‘)
  • Lean on God when we anticipate confrontation and believing victory in our attitude before it happens. 
  • Forgive clients/colleagues in the moment knowing their sting doesn’t dictate the outcome of heart or effort.
  • See the brick we want to bless people with as the rock we lay down.
  • Lean on Jesus by leaning on people He has teamed us with (‘I don’t have what I need to help’/’I’m not sure how to help‘ as strength)
  • Trust God in our pursuit of excellence as opposed to metrics.
  • Cast our cares upon Jesus when we’re anxious about the status of our goals/how our initiatives are quantified.
  • Know full well in all situations we have the mind of Christ
  • Resist the temptation to view our status and purpose through what people edify. 
  • Know our best isn’t something we can strive for in our strength.
  • Believe God’s best will be accomplished through us knowing the guarantee is clinched when we surrender our will to His.
  • Perceive/inspire joy and peace as overflows instead of pursuits. 
  • View work not only as worship but intimacy knowing the yielding our jobs require is meant to push us closer to Jesus.
  • Believe God will help us develop and cultivate our colleague/client relationships. Again, it’s not about receiving favor from people but being at peace knowing we’ve already received favor. 

Bottom line: Living in Christ not only compels us to supernatural alignment but also to see the Cross at the core of our work. The more we abide in this reality, the more we will discover God within our occupational calling.

Selah.

Due to length, I’m going to save my third point for next time when I’ll examine 1 Corinthians 2 through a vocational lens. Teaser: If we’re in Christ, certainly we have the mind of Christ. But how exactly do we know we’re thinking and operating as Christ when He isn’t always at the mental forefront? 

Moving forward, I’ll aim to conclude this series prior to Thanksgiving before diving into a new one the first week of December.

Stay tuned…

Photo creds: The Christian Post