"How am I to live this life, my life, as a Christian?"
Faith AND Work - How it sparked
My intense curiosity to understand the integration of Faith and Work was sparked when I was in the metro Atlanta area. (Who knew a city could have that many "Peach Tree" streets and neighborhoods!)
Several marketplace professionals from various companies gathered together for dinner and our conversation centered on city living, the challenges young professionals face, and personal stories. As we walked to our cars after dinner, Grace, a business woman with a promising career asked me a question that I would never forget. She posed, "I just would like someone to tell me, to let me know how am I to live this life, my life, as a Christian?"
The question resonated with me. It resonated because for those of us who follow Christ in the workplace, sometimes our time in church on Sunday disconnects with our Monday to Friday. Yet, deep within us, we know that our life, all of it, is supposed to be “in Christ.”
As I explored the integration of faith and work, I began to understand that my life is not meant to be departmental - the sacred and secular are not supposed to be divided. Instead, all of it is sacred. I was created to live this life as though Christ were living fully in my office, in my company, my cubicle and my meetings. What if I brought my whole self, faith and all, to the everyday tasks I face? Instead of relegating the fifty or more hours at work to be void of God and faith, I could actually bring my best self everywhere.
Ground Zero for Discipleship
When we begin to integrate faith and work intentionally, we embrace our whole selves - mind, heart, body and soul. For me, that means acting as a “living sacrifice", being a follower of Jesus who daily "takes up my cross", and a woman who will "bear the fruits of the spirit” in my workplace. I seek to do this because I understand from scripture that ALL of us (not just pastors and missionaries) are doing our work “for the Lord, and not for men."
Dallas Willard writes that this transformation can happen in a way that looks like this: "Transformation of character comes through learning how to act in concert with Jesus Christ." The practical ins and outs of acting in concert with Jesus vary greatly in the marketplace. But it can only happen if we unite (instead of separate) the secular and the sacred. As we do this, we allow transformation to happen to us daily, not just in the quiet moments of prayer at home, but in the hectic moments of life in our work space.
Maybe we still don't know how to act in concert with Jesus when we are feeling the pressure of a work deadline. That's okay. Willard calls us "to enter the path of obedience to Jesus Christ – intending to obey him and intending to learn whatever I have to learn in order to obey him." We learn this by walking with Jesus in our daily tasks and inviting Him into our work life.
And if we mess up, as inevitably we will, instead of getting down on ourselves and believing that life with Jesus at work is impossible, let's forgive ourselves for today's failure and make a renewed commitment to follow Jesus again tomorrow. Willard says, "What transforms us is the will to obey Jesus Christ from a life that is one with his resurrected reality day by day, learning obedience through inward transformation."
God’s kingdom is within us. Therefore it is wherever we are. As, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands Abraham Kuyper famously said, "There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: 'Mine!'" So our workplaces, where we spend a great deal of our time, can become ground zero for learning to grow into Christ-likeness if we allow Christ to lead us at work. We will actually grow in our discipleship as we live and work, talk and think, do and not do.
Where you work is an assignment, given to you by your Heavenly Father, for purposes He planned for you long ago. Your work itself, the projects, the spreadsheets, the flowcharts, and the team meetings all have meaning and eternal purpose. God is deeply concerned about your relationships with others as you interact in meetings, team tasks, and happy hours because they have Kingdom impact. And he deeply wants you to "live your life, this life"in your full identity as a daughter or son of the Living God. This identity becomes clarified as you live our your calling in your vocation.
@Faith & Work Movement