Archive for the ‘Ephesians’ category

IT’S OFF TO WORK I GO!

April 24, 2017

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV) 

We have been told hundreds of times that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross has taken away all of our sins. There is absolutely nothing we can do to earn our way to heaven and find eternal life with our Father. It isn’t up to us. It just takes faith in God, in His grace. The work has been done by Jesus! Our salvation is a gift from God. That’s it. The end. There’s nothing left for us to do, right?

I suppose that’s true if we plan to meet our maker today. But if we intend to live a little longer, there is plenty for us to do. As it clearly states in Ephesians 2:10, we were created by God to do good works. Our job in the workplace, in our neighborhoods and communities, and wherever we go is to look for ways to bring others a little closer to our Savior (Matthew 28:19). It’s our job to love one another (John 13:34-35). We are to feed the hungry, welcome strangers into our lives, clothe the homeless, care for the sick, and love those in prison (Matthew 25:31-46). We are to do whatever it takes to bring glory to the one who saved us from death.

Each of us has received certain gifts and talents from our Father. Our salvation isn’t determined by how much we do to for Him or by how much we do for others. Our salvation is determined by our faith and by His grace. The very least we can do is to give our lives, talents, and thanks back to Him!

Enjoy your day, Working for Christ.”

HAVE YOU BECOME A “WATCHER?”

March 27, 2015

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. (John 9:4, NIV)

Take Action

When you are working, are you working for Christ or are you working for someone or something else? Are you a bystander, simply watching the way things unfold around you, never getting involved, or do you take action and represent Jesus Christ in your daily life?

Personally, I realize I’ve spent way too much time watching and not enough time working. I get caught up in the events of the day and completely forget to work on those things that God created me for, specifically those things mandated by the two great commandments:

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39, NIV)

I’ve watched too many sermons about the Gospel, but have not “lived out” the Gospel. I’ve watched too many movies and read too many books about other people’s adventures, but I have ignored the adventures that God has placed directly in front of me. I’ve watched too much basketball, golf, and soccer – watching others face their fears, face great odds, and push themselves to their supposed limits, but have not done those things myself. Don’t misunderstand me, sermons, movies, books, and sports are all good things. There is nothing wrong with inspiration … but it’s got to be inspiration for something.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love... (Ephesians 1:4, NIV)

When God dreamt about us long ago, did He dream of us watching others live out their great stories or did He have a plan for us to live out our story, too? I may have slipped over the past few weeks and months, but God has called out to me to share His love and to continue writing the story He has created especially for me. Pray that He will lead you into your story, too.

Don’t stand by and be a “watcher”. Stand tall and be a worker, “Working for Christ!”

Work for Christ

WHO DO YOU REALLY WORK FOR?

October 30, 2014

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10, NIV)

Community

In order to live our lives to the fullest, we need to be in community with other believers. The “Church” can never truly be the church if we aren’t connected to one another – and to Jesus Christ. Keep in mind that the “Church” is not a building or any particular denomination, but it is the people gathered together in the name of God – the Holy Spirit – to follow Christ and His teachings. There are many ways in which the church is supposed to reach out, but one very important way is through our various communities – one of those is our place of employment.

The Apostle Paul gave us a framework. He wrote that we must be devoted to one another. We must make other people a priority in our busy lives, setting them above and ahead of other things, honoring them above ourselves. In Philippians 2:3-4, NIV, Paul drives home that same point again: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Paul also wrote that we must commit to honesty and transparency (Ephesians 4:25, NIV; 2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV) and accountability (Galatians 6:1-2, NIV). Community doesn’t work without these important ingredients. It just doesn’t! And we must not presume we know how to “fix” each other, but rather we need to trust the Holy Spirit to do everything that needs to be done (Romans 12:3, NIV). When we offer to “fix” someone else, we can do damage – spiritual and relational – without meaning to. It’s so much better to listen and ask open, non-judgmental questions. Most important, we need to pray something else the Bible says we must do together – a lot!

We must encourage one another to live boldly and confidently in our faith, supporting each other along the way. We must stand with one another, helping each other through hardship, so that no one falls away when things get tough (Romans 22:12, NIV, Galatians 6:2, NIV).

What does all this mean in today’s workplace? It simply means that, although we may be working for a human boss, we are ultimately working for our Lord and Savior. We need to support one another in everything we do. And we need to view our workplace as one of God’s venues to bring others closer to Him.

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

IS CHRIST ALIVE IN YOUR WORKPLACE?

September 10, 2014

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

paycheck

 

The things that matter most in a Christian’s work life are not the same things that matter to the rest of the world. It’s not the dollar amount of their paychecks, the impressiveness of their business cards, the prestige they have earned within their trade, or the position they hold within their company. It’s not even about their productivity or the quality of their work – although hard work is certainly an honorable pursuit. Instead, when it comes to their jobs, what matters most is the extent to which they model themselves after Christ from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

When we attend church on the weekend, we are taught to become more like Christ in the way we live. The problem we encounter is that our intentions are good, but our minds become altered somewhere between Sunday and Monday. The realities of work often keep us from becoming Christ-like at our jobs. Some of these realities are work related, some are simply human nature, but all of them force God out of the forefront and onto the back burner. By Tuesday or Wednesday, our thoughts of God and living for Christ may have completely faded away.

From my experience, that’s a source of frustration for many Christians. We struggle with it. We feel guilty about it. We may even recommit to do things differently, but somehow we manage to backslide and  leave Christ out of our lives – just when we need Him the most!

Perhaps you too have had personal experience with this. Maybe you’ve made some effort to apply your faith in the workplace, only to be discouraged by the results. Perhaps you’ve even reached the point of concluding that real, enduring change is hopeless. It’s not. It’s just a matter of seeing things more clearly – maybe for the first time in your life. And then it’s simply a matter of cooperating with God to defeat the things standing between you and our Savior.

What’s keeping you from being more Christ-like in your job and in your career? What are the barriers that stand in your way? Ask God to give you the strength you need to become more like Christ in your workplace! Your job is an important mission field. Keep Christ “alive” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!

christ is alive

Enjoy your Wednesday, “Working for Christ!”

STEP IT UP!

May 20, 2014

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:5-6, NIV)

Reality Check

What kind of attitude does Christ Jesus have for me? How does this apply to my job? How can I glorify God in my workplace?

In John 13, Jesus commanded, “Love one another. As I have loved you, you must love one another. Everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” In Romans 12, Paul reminds us, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Galatians 5:13, tells us to “serve one another humbly in love.” Paul instructs us in Ephesians 4:2 to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” And 1 Peter 3:8 teaches us all to “be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” I could go on and on.

All you have to do is listen to the evening news to see what’s wrong with this world. No matter where you turn, there seems to be a lack of love and compassion for one another. Observe the people around you at work. How many are actually there to serve one another? How many view their jobs as a place to share the love of Christ Jesus? Pay attention to attitudes. Do you “see” Christ in your boss? Can you put aside the differences you have with your co-workers long enough to express an encouraging, loving attitude that resembles the attitude of Christ?

Most importantly, do others look at you and see Jesus Christ? Do you have the love, patience, gentleness, and compassion to bring others a little closer to our Savior? That’s exactly why God has placed you in the job you have today. He wants you to be His voice in the workplace. He needs you to encourage others to develop that same positive, loving attitude that glorifies the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He needs you to step up your game and become a little more like Christ!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL?

April 1, 2014

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24, NIV)

paycheck

The things that matter most in a Christian’s work life are not the same things that matter to the rest of the world. It’s not the dollar amount of their paychecks, the impressiveness of their business cards, the prestige they have earned within their trade, or the position they hold within their company. It’s not even about their productivity or the quality of their work – although hard work is certainly an honorable pursuit. Instead, when it comes to their jobs, what matters most is the extent to which they model themselves after Christ from 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

When we attend church on the weekend, we are taught to become more like Christ in the way we live. The problem we encounter is that our intentions are good, but our minds become altered somewhere between Sunday and Monday. The realities of work often keep us from becoming Christ-like at our jobs. Some of these realities are work related, some are simply human nature, but all of them force God out of the forefront and onto the back burner. By Tuesday or Wednesday, our thoughts of God and living for Christ may have completely faded away.

From my experience, that’s a source of frustration for many Christians. We struggle with it. We feel guilty about it. We may even recommit to do things differently, but somehow we manage to backslide and  leave Christ out of our lives – just when we need Him the most!

Perhaps you too have had personal experience with this. Maybe you’ve made some effort to apply your faith in the workplace, only to be discouraged by the results. Perhaps you’ve even reached the point of concluding that real, enduring change is hopeless. It’s not. It’s just a matter of seeing things more clearly – maybe for the first time in your life. And then it’s simply a matter of cooperating with God to defeat the things standing between you and our Savior.

What’s keeping you from being more Christ-like in your job and in your career? What are the barriers that stand in your way? Ask God to give you the strength you need to become more like Christ in your workplace! Your job is an important mission field. Keep Christ “alive” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week!

Work for Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

MYSTERY!

November 6, 2013

“He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ…” (Ephesians 1:9, NIV)

index

Human beings always want to know “why?” and “why not?” It’s precisely because we are human that we cannot know. That’s why mystery is so important to understand. The entire book of Job is all about the “why” of suffering and in the end God invites Job to see a bigger picture than even his own suffering.

Creation is a mistake if all you see is suffering. But if you lift your eyes wider and look at the entire universe with God, you can also see that creation is filled with beauty and grace.

We are to value mystery because it enables us to feel God’s love – love that was fully revealed in Christ.

Sometimes, as a benefit of growing older, we get to experience some of the “whys?” and “why nots?” Most often, however, we are left to “wonder” simply because we are the players of life, not the playwright.

Christine Mallouhi in her excellent book, Waging Peace on Islam, makes this significant conclusion:

“The victorious and triumphant Christian life does not conjure up pictures of suffering and death and feelings of abandonment. But this was all part of God’s victory in Christ. If this was the path the Master trod why should it be any different for the servants? Jesus cried out “why?” and “where are you?” to God when circumstances were crushing him. God is always greater than our understanding of him and there will always be mystery about him that causes us to fall down in awe and worship. This mystery, which we want to tidily categorize, keeps causing struggles in our life. Every time we get God tidied up like a ball of rubber bands, another end bursts out and the struggle begins over again, until we learn to live in faith with untidy ends. If everything is clear then faith is irrelevant. We are not called to solve the mystery, but enter it.[1]”

So value the mysteries of life and use them to come closer to God. Understand that suffering will always be a part of life. But there is also a part that is filled with beautiful sunsets, majestic mountains, gorgeous butterflies, the love of our friends and family, and the peace and comfort of our Lord and Savior!

Peace of Christ

Enjoy your day, “Working for Christ!”

1. Christine Mallouhi, Waging Peace on Islam (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2000), p.52.


%d bloggers like this: