Christian Living

Spiritual Life

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

Chapter 8: Christ’s Effect on Work


IN THIS CHAPTER, you will discover:

·   Three major roadblocks to Christian growth.

·   The characteristics of a "perfect boss."  

AS A RESULT, you will be able to:

·   Overcome rebellion, procrastination, and discouragement.

·   Appropriate Christlike characteristics for yourself.

Christ’s Effect on Work

Key Scripture: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Cor. 5:17).

Christ's death and resurrection broke the spiritual curse over sin and death for humanity. Yet, in the physical realm, total victory will only be realized at Christ's second coming. For the interim, Paul wrote: "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom. 8:19-21). For now, a number of sin's consequences remain in effect, especially in the area of work. Three such consequences are:

The Work Environment Remains Uncooperative. Rules have not been changed to accommodate Christians in the workplace; believers and unbelievers work side by side under the same authority. Christians face the same difficulties and struggles as everyone else; furthermore, they are not given any particular advantage over unbelievers. Also, Christians are not exempt from the course of nature. As Jesus said, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous" (Matt. 5:45). Natural disasters like famines and floods may disrupt your work environment and life.

Work Is Still Marked by Futility. Inventions become obsolete; medical research solves one problem and is immediately faced with another; new techniques become quickly outdated. The food that is cooked today must be replaced tomorrow; clothes must be washed over and over. Thus, "what has been will be again, what has been done will be done again" (Eccl. 1:9).

People Are Still Sinful. Though Christ has died for the sins of the world, not everyone has accepted this gift. Even devout Christians are tempted by sin daily. As Paul wrote, "If by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" (Rom. 8:13).

Christ's Death Changes the Worker

Although work and the work environment have not been changed by the Cross, Jesus sacrificial death has changed workers in an amazing way. They have received the ultimate job transfer from the kingdom of the world to the kingdom of heaven. "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father" (Rev. 1:5-6). Christ changes you as a worker in three important ways:

Christ puts you in right relationship with God. Satan's most effective strategy is to separate you from God. In contrast, Christ's death has done everything necessary to reestablish a relationship between you and your heavenly Father. Christ will never impose His will on you. But if you freely choose to accept His offer of reconciliation, your relationship with God will be restored. "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me" (Rev. 3:20).

Christ puts your work back in right relationship with God's purposes. God intends that everyday work should be good - a work that brings honor to Him and accomplishes His purposes. "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (Eph. 2:10). Since there is a desperate need for accountability in the workplace, everything about your job should be directed toward Christ - your purpose and motives; your profits and their use; your dilemmas and decisions; your relationship with the boss, coworkers and customers; your plans, goals, and even your salary.

Christ wants to transform you as a worker. At the moment of salvation, Christ put you in the process of transformation. According to Paul, you became "a new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17) and you "put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph. 4:24). As Christ transforms your character and values, the process has a profound impact on your work. Christ's strategy is not to transform work, but to transform workers. By producing a change in you, Christ actually makes a dramatic difference in the work itself because you are different. "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (Col. 3:17).

The Troublesome Trio

Some Christians mistakenly try to put on the new self while holding on to aspects of the "old man." Three particularly insidious problems often hang on during the process of transformation - rebellion, procrastination, and discouragement. Even if you have escaped all the sub-biblical and secular views of work and have not fallen prey to the fallacies of Christian growth, watch out! These three personal issues can destroy your witness in the workplace.

Rebellion. "We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious" (1 Tim. 1:9). As you can see, rebellion has some infamous companions. While you may rationalize it as "fierce independence" or a "stubborn streak," rebellion is sinful and affects your life both at work and in eternity. Having it your way will separate you from others and from God. It may even land you in jail or addicted to drugs. Unchecked rebellion will inevitably place you in a hell of your own making a broken marriage, an inability to be intimate, estrangement from your children, or perhaps the abject loneliness of prestige and status.

James gave a solution and hope for the rebellious. "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up" (James 4:7-10).

Procrastination. "A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man" (Prov. 24:33-34). Through procrastination, simple problems that could have been solved mount into huge obstacles, sometimes too difficult to overcome. "There is always tomorrow" is the motto of procrastinators. But since nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, procrastination is the path to sudden and unexpected calamity. Some decisions must be made today. And although we cannot fix everything in one day, we will never fix anything until we get started.

In the spiritual realm, vast numbers of people are exposed to the Bible, to sermons, and to Christian witnessing; yet they never make a commitment to Christ. Felix is a good example of someone who procrastinated spiritually. "He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, That's enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you" (Acts 24:24-25).

Discouragement. When the problems of life mount up, it is easy to become discouraged. This debilitating emotion, however, is largely a matter of perspective. When Jesus came to earth, he experienced a wide range of human emotions from joy to sorrow. But even in Gethsemane, while facing imminent danger and death, Jesus never lost hope. He could endure whatever was to happen because he never lost sight of his Father. This is also the key to our hope and confidence, regardless of the circumstances. While keeping your eyes on the Lord, take whatever steps He indicates to bring you out of your discouragement. It is often easy to feel discouraged about your progress in the Christian life. But God is not discouraged; He is delighted with each step you take toward Christlikeness, for He considers you a very loved son or daughter. "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust" (Ps. 103:13-14).

Rebellion, procrastination, and discouragement are three companions to avoid on the way to a proper perspective on work. While struggling in the jungle of everyday life, it is good to know that you can come out into the clearing - victorious! Christ's atoning work on the cross has dealt with your greatest enemy - sin. As you start applying this good news in the workplace, you will see a real difference in yourself as a worker. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you put off your old behavior and allow you to move forward into a new and glorious life. He will enable you to experience, honor, and proclaim Christ in your workplace.

In spite of everything that happens around you, you must experience Christ for yourself in the workplace. As you seek God's wisdom through prayer and the Bible, you are following the lead of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived. Solomon reverently asked God for wisdom for his work, and God honored his request. "Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong" (1 Kings 3:8-9).

Your purpose in the workplace (and everywhere else) is to honor Christ. You are part of His service - His ambassador in a hostile world. Sinners will evaluate Christ by your ethics. "We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us (2 Cor. 5:20). As you pray, ask the Lord the following questions: (1) What would You have me do in this situation? (2) How would You have me respond to this person? and (3) What attitude would You like me to have?

A personal testimony often opens doors for you to proclaim Christ to your coworkers. Whenever you have an opportunity to mention Christ, tell how He has revolutionized your life. Ask the Lord for boldness, opportunity, and utterance. "One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see! ...I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?" (John 9:25, 27).

The Perfect Boss

Sometimes you may think, "If only my boss was more understanding, or more capable, or more, then I could do a better job." Supervisors play an important role in daily work life. However, suppose your boss was perfect in every way. How would that affect your position and performance? Consider for a moment the qualifications of a "perfect boss." Perhaps your ideal would encompass the best qualities of all your supervisors past and present. Listed below are some suggested qualifications for the "Perfect Boss of All Time." They must:

  • Be a competent authority in their field.
  • Have hands-on knowledge of their employees jobs.
  • Stand up for employees before the Board of Directors.
  • Set the example with integrity and honesty.
  • Be humble and able to mingle with employees.
  • Be able to resolve conflict.
  • Command respect.
  • Be committed to their employees.
  • Be understanding of their employees'’ personal problems.
  • Forgive failure. Encourage their employees to excellence. Give bonuses when the company prospers.
  • Judge motives rather than mistakes.
  • Be stable in the midst of upheavals.

This is quite a list! It has probably occurred to you by now that the only perfect boss is Jesus. Although your wish for a perfect supervisor at work will never be fulfilled, you can be comforted by the fact that at this moment your "Perfect Boss" is sitting in heaven interceding for you. Jesus continues to minister to you daily through the Holy Spirit, who in turn helps you to develop the Christlike characteristics of an outstanding worker. The apostle Paul described these characteristics as the fruit of the Spirit - "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23). The boss who most fully manifests these fruit is the ideal. If you are a supervisor or in management, use this list as your standard for measuring up to the "perfect boss." 

Life Applications:

A. Ask yourself the following questions:

1. If Christ were my supervisor, the one handing out my assignments and reviewing my performance, how would it change the way I do my job? Would it affect my performance? Would I be more productive? Would I look for ways to get the job done faster, with less expense, and even ahead of schedule?    

2. How would it affect my relationships on the job? Would my speech and actions change? Would my behavior change toward the opposite sex?      

3. Would it affect the way I resolve conflicts?    


B. Since you spend much of your time, emotional energy, skills, and abilities at work, it seems reasonable to conclude that in handing out rewards, the Lord will look carefully at your work.

1. What will He reward in your work life?    

2. What attitudes or behavior that affect your work would you like to see Christ change or build in you?    

3. What active steps would you be willing to take to see these changes made?    


C. Evaluate your behavior by taking an inventory of your workstyle. Grade yourself A, B, C, D or F in each area.  

    Honor - Average - Failure
Your motive for going to work   A B C D F
Your use of time   A B C D F
Your relationships with your supervisor/partner(s)   A B C D F
Your relationships with your coworkers   A B C D F
Your relationships with your customers   A B C D F
Your relationships with your suppliers   A B C D F
Your management of your income/money/debt   A B C D F
Your honesty in filling out reports   A B C D F
Your follow-through on commitments   A B C D F
Your excellence in performing tasks   A B C D F
Your temper   A B C D F
Your language   A B C D F
Your testimony as a believer   A B C D F
Your courage to stand up to ethical compromise   A B C D F
Your sincerity of effort   A B C D F
Your ability to deal with conflict   A B C D F
Your reliability   A B C D F
Your competence   A B C D F
Your fairness in hiring/firing   A B C D F
Your use of emotional energy   A B C D F
Your responsibilities toward your family   A B C D F
Your prayers regarding work issues   A B C D F


Look over your responses. In what areas do you need to grow? To make corrections? Write these down with suggestions on how you can improve.

Take the quiz

Quiz Instructions

Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz which covers what you just read in chapters 5-8. Select the correct response based on the lessons and concepts.

1. Because God is a worker, work is significant.



2. Man was created to be a coworker with God.



3. Even prostitution and drug pushing are extensions of God's work.



4. None of our work completely fulfills God's intentions because of sin.



5. It is always obvious how your work contributes to God's work.



6. Paul said, "If you don't __________, you don't eat!"



7. Work has instrumental value.



8. Anyone who does not provide for his or her own family is worse than an __________.



9. We always work from pure motives.



10. When we fulfill the five purposes of work, we are fulfilling the Great __________.



11. Work is a result of the curse.



12. In the __________ model, everyone in public office should be a Christian.



13. In the __________ model, Christians should totally disassociate themselves from "sinners."



14. Christians can avoid indirect participation in the evil of collective society.



15. Work was given to man __________ the Fall.



16. Procrastination causes little problems to grow worse.



17. Because creation is subject to futility, inventions become obsolete and research becomes quickly outdated.



18. Work for Christians has become easy and the work environment cooperative because of Christ's death on the cross.



19. Christ takes a direct interest in our work because He considers it significant.



20. Christ wants to transform __________.


The worker

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