Maybe it goes without saying, but living a Christian lifestyle in the job world can prove tricky at times. It takes discipline and motivation to head to work each day, but the extra responsibility you carry as a follower of Jesus adds weight to your daily routine with coworkers.
At church or a ministry, it’s expected and encouraged to freely talk about your relationship with Christ and provide words of spiritual encouragement. But in the secular workplace, it’s not exactly the norm to read scripture at the beginning of meetings or pray with coworkers before a decision is made.
So how do you lead a life unashamed of your faith without causing people to turn away from your “preaching,” while at the same time working and speaking in such a way that your coworkers know about your faith?
Don’t be afraid or ashamed to talk about your faith or let others know Christ is the Lord of your life. This doesn’t mean throwing it in people’s faces or constantly talking about it, but Christ is your identity, so not talking about Him is, in a way, denying Him.
Many people have the perception that Christians are judgmental or think they have it together all the time. As you form relationships with your coworkers, feel free to share a little of your life with them. If you trust them, you can even share some struggles. Being transparent shows others that just because you’re a Christian, that doesn’t mean you live a perfect life or have everything going for you.
Once those in your workplace witness your transparency, they will notice how you lean on God in all circumstances, good or bad. They will learn you’re not ashamed of your faith. And they will see you don’t hide behind your relationship with God, but you are a person who can be trusted because you respond to circumstances in the office and in your own life with a level head.
Your transparency with coworkers is a wonderful way to form relationships, but move forward with caution. Transparency should not turn into compromise. Once you’ve built friendships and trust, temptation creeps in as the pressure to conform grows. It can become easy to not see the big deal of talking like those who don’t hold to a Christ-like attitude. Whether it’s gossip, cursing or complaining, it becomes harder and harder to realize we’re compromising when we’re surrounded by it all day.
The same is true of work ethic. The extremes are perfectionism and laziness. A healthy work-life balance is a thing of the past, it seems. Our coworkers might give less and less each day, not caring about the quality of their work. Our bosses might demand perfection from us, even if that means staying at the office longer than the sun shines. Not compromising means we give our all and our best when we’re at the office. And when we head home, we leave work at work instead of allowing it to overcome our personal lives.
As believers in a secular workplace, we need to remain on guard against compromise. Jesus doesn’t call us to half-in, half-out words and actions. In fact, Jesus says He will spit out those who aren’t fully committed to Him. May we be employees who rise above the bad attitudes and the shoddy work ethic. May our bosses and coworkers notice a difference not only when we’re talking about our faith, but also when we’re working hard, speaking highly of people and not putting our identity in our jobs.
Leading in love
It seems that respecting is a difficult concept for many these days. Even as a follower of Christ, it can be difficult to respect that boss who yells at you when something’s not done right or that coworker who spews hateful gossip every time your back is turned.
But we’re called to love anyway. Not just respect, but love.
This doesn’t just mean acting nicely toward that coworker you can’t stand, hoping they’ll see your politeness and take the hint. This means starting with your heart attitude and allowing that to transform your words and actions. People can tell when you’re faking, and when a Christian is faking it all the time, that gives our coworkers even more ammo to use against the Name of Jesus.
We may have to fake a smile or a respectful response from time to time, but what would happen to our workplace if we chose joy each day? How would we transform our relationships with coworkers and bosses if we decided to love them each day?
There’s never an easy time to start. But people will notice how you talk to others. Your coworkers listen to your reactions after your boss leaves the room. They watch as you respond to your staff member who walked in late for the third day in a row. If you’re consistent with your outpouring of love and respect, the people in your workplace will know you not only say you follow Jesus, but you actually live a life as a follower of Jesus.
What are ways you can grow in faith in your workplace? How do you struggle to remain true to your relationship with Christ each day?
Let’s live as those who desire to make a difference for the Name of Jesus, whether we love our jobs or struggle to get out of bed each morning. May we strive each day to show commitment to our Lord, whatever it takes.
Let’s Talk About It: In what ways have you compromised at work? How can you fight against that?