Cover photo creds: Leading the Way
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.
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.
Photo creds: The Christian Post
Inspired by vintage Keith Green…
Many of us have heard the phrase, ‘Do your best and let God do the rest’.
But lately, I’ve been wondering how well I truly understand this.
I mean I ‘get’ the Bible verses…
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” ~ Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” ~ Philippians 4:13 (ESV)
“Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” ~ Galatians 6:5 (MSG)
…yet somehow in the application, I’ve been missing something. And I think I’m starting to see what it is.
You see, we often approach work as a derivative of ‘doing’ be it a project we initiate or a means to manage. Define the goal and pursue it. Clarify the objective and go for it. In a way, this makes sense given we’re all hard-wired to perform with excellence for excellence.
However, while execution and effort have their place, it’s important, dare I say critical we ask ourselves: At what point are we allowing God into the picture? Into the frame-work of our work if you will?
At the point we’re exhausted? At the point we’re confused? At the point we’re doubting?
Or are we making way His way from the very beginning?
As one who has failed time and time again with this, trust me when I say…
1. If you want to do your best, let God get in front of it.
2. If you want God to do the rest, let Him get behind it.
Don’t wait until you’re burnt out. Don’t wait until you’re stuck. Rather before you clock in each day, consecrate your effort, receive His faithfulness, and know He will accomplish His purposes in you. Even if He’s guiding you into turbulence, into danger, know He’s calling you to see Him in the midst of it in a fresh way. Accordingly, don’t be discouraged by growing pains when in reality He’s sowing gains you can’t yet see.
In closing, I encourage you, friends…
1. Let God be in the midst of your best and rest, not the middle.
2. Examine any place you may be relegating God to an on-call substitute, any place where ‘doing the rest’ has become a request to autocorrect above anything else.
Let Him be more and go before!
Cover creds: The Youthing Magazine