Christian Living

Spiritual Life

General Bible Courses > Living by the Book > Career by the Book

Chapter 1: The Need for a Biblical Workview


IN THIS CHAPTER, you will discover:

·   Two definitions of "full-time" Christian service.

·   Three things that all people want from their work.  

AS A RESULT, you will be able to:

·   Enjoy your own "full-time" Christian service.

·   Avoid the pitfalls of secular work strategies.

The Need for a Biblical Workview

Key Scripture: "The works of his hands are faithful and just; all his precepts are trustworthy" (Ps. 111:7).

The need for a biblical view of work is becoming more apparent with each passing day. Since so much time and effort is spent "at work," approaching work without a biblical perspective can be not only unfulfilling, but displeasing to God. Yet the Bible speaks precisely and frequently about work, providing clear instructions on all aspects of life in the workplace.

As you speak with the average Christian on the job, you will find that the issue of faith in the workplace is a raw, open nerve for many. Does Christ have relevance in the workplace? Do his promises apply there? Does he care about my job, and are some jobs more sacred than others? Answer "Yes" or "No" to the following questions to see which situations apply to you.

  • Do I go to work unaided and unchallenged by the Word of God?
  • Do I take advantage of Christianity's resources for daily work problems and decisions?
  • Am I bored by my work and see no lasting value in it?
  • Do only church activities give meaning to my life?
  • Is Christianity relevant to my secular work world?
  • Do I struggle with the cost of integrity and need inspiration to keep my "ethical edge?"
  • Do I embarrass the cause of Christ by my inconsistent lifestyle at work?
  • Am I challenged to influence my coworkers for Christ?
  • Do I struggle with putting work in its proper perspective and balancing the many demands that compete for my time?
  • Do I lack an integrated life purpose that spans the public and private arenas?
  • Do I lack a sense of dignity in my day-to-day work, and thus in my life?

If you answered "Yes" to one or more of these questions, you will be encouraged by the practical strategies offered in this course. The main purpose of Careers By The Book is to convince you that your work really matters to God. Because He cares, you will be challenged to live out a Christian lifestyle on your job as well as in your home.

What Is Full-Time Service?

"It's so hard to make a choice. My mom and dad were missionaries in India for twenty years until mom's health failed. Ever since we were young children, they have both prayed that we would go into full-time Christian service. My two brothers are pastors, and my older sister is headed for the mission field after graduation. Why, it would break their hearts if I decided against full-time service. Now I'm preparing for college, and my parents naturally assume that I will attend their alma mater. But, frankly, deep down in my heart, I don't want to be a missionary. Can you believe that? If I could do anything I wanted...…" Sherry sighed, her voice trailing off.

Sherry's friend and mentor Abigail, encouraged her to go on. "Yes, Sherry, what would it be?"

Sherry sat for a moment, struggling to answer. She then replied, almost ashamed, "Well, Abby, I really would like to be a computer programmer." She hurried on, "my guidance counselor believes that I could really do well. He even suggested a college but that is out of the question. I really do want to serve the Lord full-time."

"Sherry, don't you think the Lord can use computer programmers?" asked Abby. "It's not the occupation that serves the Lord, its the person - —wherever they are and in whatever career they have been placed. When you live for Christ, you are already in full-time Christian service!"

How many times have you heard a bus driver, construction worker, or office manager say, "I am in full-time Christian service"? You probably won't ever hear such a statement because most believers equate Christian service with the clergy and members of the church staff. Ministers often reinforce this attitude when they praise those who have gone into traditional "full-time" Christian occupations. As a result, the average believer feels that maybe his or her job is of little importance to the church - or to God.

When people feel that their work has been dismissed by the clergy, Christianity, and God as irrelevant, an unscriptural tension develops between the world of work and the world of religion. Christians have allowed a chasm (which God never intended) to grow between their faith and their day-to-day work. To compound the problem, the church has been virtually silent on the subject of work. Therefore millions of people go to work every day unaided, disillusioned, and unchallenged by the Word of God. Workers wonder how their faith applies on the job or whether it applies at all.

Both Christians and non-Christians want three things from their work: (1) creative expression; (2) a sense of significance, impact, and importance; and (3) loyal relationships. While these ambitions and desires can be God-given, other related goals are often less than biblical. Some of these include: • 

  • To win the appreciation of others. •
  • To master a field or job. • 
  • To get to the top. • 
  • To own prestige and luxury items. • 
  • To control their destiny. • 
  • To win the admiration of peers. •
  •  To have the unquestioned support of associates. •
  • To have others really need them.

These goals, even if achieved, will never be satisfying because they are unrealistic (you can never be competent or competitive enough), self-centered (egotism will leave you addicted and empty), and morally wrong (they promote a life independent of God).

Today many people see their vocation as "just a job" - its value beginning and ending with a paycheck. There was a time when Christianity brought meaning to the workplace, but it appears that Judeo-Christian values with their messages of hope and significance may have retreated from our culture. Workers who bring their entire life under Jesus lordship will realize amazing benefits: a sense of dignity, a sense of destiny and purpose, a desire to be distinctive in the workplace, a new respect for their faith, a comprehensive view of life that relates work to spirituality, and best of all— - hope! Furthermore, a godly view of success offers four freedoms with a resulting benefit for each: freedom from anxiety about career success, which produces enjoyment; freedom from frantic busyness and overwork, which produces balance; freedom from comparing oneself with others, which produces compassion; and freedom from perfectionism, which produces self-acceptance.

In contrast, workers who either don't know God or fail to appropriate His principles in the workplace will never experience freedom in these areas with the accompanying benefits. They will continue to believe that their work does not matter to God.

The following two acrostics illustrate what happens when we exhibit godly and ungodly motives in the workplace. Each statement is illustrated by Scripture.

Godly Motives

Move in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Overcome evil with good (Rom. 12:21).

Terminate your trust in man (Isa. 2:22).

Inspire endurance in others (1 Thess. 1:3).

Vindicate the poor and the helpless (Ps. 103:6).

Encourage those around you (Col. 2:2).

Show love to your boss, coworkers, and customers (Rom. 13:10).


Ungodly Motives

Marshal coworkers against your competition (Prov. 24:17).

Oppress employees, coworkers, and customers (Prov. 28:16).

Tempt clients with alcohol (Prov. 20:1).

Initiate sexual conversations with coworkers (Prov. 4:24).

Vary your ethics according to the situation (1 Peter 2:1).

Engage in gossip and slander (Prov. 21:6).

Stimulate greed by "cutting corners" (Prov. 28:25).   

Life Applications:

A. "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Heb. 4:12-13). These verses describe the characteristics and power of the word of God.

1. After reading this Scripture, is it possible for you to separate your job from your faith? Why or why not? 


B. Dorothy Sayers in her book Creed or Chaos? stated that the church has abandoned the arena of "secular vocation."

1. Do you agree? If not, why not? If so, why has the church abandoned this arena?

2. How might the church— - including pastors, Christian leaders, and laypeople - begin to speak intelligently to the issues of the workplace? Is it even possible?

3. What issues do you face on your job that you wish Christian teaching addressed more?        


C. Read Romans 8:1-17, a passage concerning a new relationship with God. Think about your own relationship with God.

1. When and how did you enter into it? If you don't have a relationship with the Lord, why not? What will it take for you to make that commitment? Are there attitudes or behavior that you would like to have Christ remove or improve?

2. Write a paragraph to describe what kind of relationship you desire with the Lord; then write a paragraph or two describing the kind of worker you believe He wants you to be. Read the paragraphs frequently (every day for a period of time). And each day before work tell God, "I am here to be your coworker." Ask Him to help you see your work the way He does. Ask for the help of His Holy Spirit to do work that is totally pleasing to Him. Look for the results in your actions and attitudes. Before you go to bed each night, review these results of your work with God. Ask Him where you might improve and how you might please Him more. Write down what He reveals to you, and then put it into practice. 


Test your knowledge on this chapter by taking the quiz at the end of chapter 4.   



Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Please see Review Questions at the end of Chapter 4.

Get more than a Sunday sermon. Get to know others seeking God’s guidance and wisdom for life.
We are here to help and encourage you! Send a prayer request now, or call 1‑800‑700‑7000
Can God change your life? God made it possible for you to know. Discover God's peace now.
Download the free myCBN app. Share your prayer requests, receive prayer and pray for others!
Living the Christian life is a journey. Discover steps to bring you closer to Christ.
Give Now