Christian Devotionals

Working in a difficult environment (1)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it." Genesis 2:15 AMP

Reject any notion of victim-hood that's laying claim to your peace and robbing you of contentment. Your job, in spite of its challenges, would have been the dream of your forefathers. Hey, didn't you pray to get this job that you now complain about? As difficult as it may be to accept, you are in your present position for a reason; you are also there for a season. Study the course, take the tests, graduate and move on to what God has for you next. There's something you need to learn and take with you from your present position into your next one. Like what? (a) Skill building. (b) Character building. You may need to learn computer skills such as Excel and Microsoft Word - plus patience and gratitude. You may need to learn how to manage an office -plus manage your moods. For those who love the Lord, no experience is ever wasted. Listen: "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose" (Ro 8:28 NKJV).

Sometimes it's difficult to see this in the moment. When Joseph was in the pit and the prison, it was hard to see how this road would lead to the palace, but it did. God has a master plan for your life. Your current job may well be preparation for the job God has in mind for you. Look back at the steps that have moved you in your present direction. Then trust that God is using each experience to bring about His will - and your joy.

Working in a difficult environment (2)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it."Genesis 2:15 AMP

Work well done is its own reward. It gives us a sense of value. Without purpose, we tend to get depressed. Don't fall for the media hype that says successful people don't need to work. We were all created to fulfill a purpose regardless of how much money is in our bank account.

Perhaps you've heard it preached that work resulted from the fall. No! While it's true that work took on a different meaning, it's a mistake to believe that our first parents were without purpose prior to this. From the time Adam and Eve were created it's been clear that God intended us to be like our Creator - productive, fruitful and invested in tasks that contribute to His purposes. Adam and Eve were given reign over the garden and enjoyed a maximum level of fulfillment in their jobs before their selfish decision to disobey. Listen: "God took the man and put him in the Garden ... to tend and keep it ... Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name" (Ge 2:15 & 19 NKJV).

The first job description included naming and overseeing - the ultimate manager's position! Similarly, Eve was created to share in these endeavors as Adam's helper. A man who isn't busy doesn't need a helper! So you need to look no further than your Bible to realize that productive work is God's plan for your life.

Working in a difficult environment (3)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it."Genesis 2:15 AMP

God sends His people into hostile environments to be "salt," which heals and brings out the best when it's spread around. And it's an honor to be chosen for the assignment. Do you feel that way?

God knows that if we become too comfortable in any situation, we tend to lounge there too long, basking in peace and non-confrontational bliss, missing the blessings that come through focus, fulfilled purpose and warfare. Yes, warfare! The image of a soldier seems too hard for us. "Endure hardness, as a good soldier" (2 Ti 2:3). We have been called to go into hostile situations, take the territory, and demonstrate to others what it's like to live under the lordship of Jesus. We get caught up so easily in mundane things like difficult bosses, office politics, water cooler gossip, unfair treatment, and fail to see our God-given reason for being there.

Has it occurred to you that you could be the only Christian that somebody in your workplace knows? Or better yet, the first one to make Christ look good and His message attractive? Someone's eternal destiny could be riding on your testimony and performance. They may not be interested in what you have to say at the moment, but death, divorce, sickness or adversity can change all that in a heartbeat. That's when the world goes looking for the boys they threw into the fiery furnace and into the lions' den, because nobody else has the answer. So, "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Co 10:31 NAS).

Working in a difficult environment (4)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it."Genesis 2:15 AMP

While David was out in the pasture tending sheep, everyone's eyes were on Saul. But not God's: His eyes were on David watching how he worshiped, how his character was coming along, his relationship with and fear of God, and how he confronted evil. Would he be easily intimidated, or did he have the stuff kings were made of? How would he fare in battle? Would he see a giant, or a giant God standing behind him? Was he proud and self-sufficient, running ahead of God, or did he rely solely on God? Would he be fair with people? How would he handle authority? Would he speak evil of those placed over him? Or would he respect those in authority, regardless of their personal shortcomings?

David wasn't fully aware of what God had planned for him, but he acknowledged God in all his ways. Someone once said, "Character is what you are when nobody is watching." Well, God is always watching! He was watching David - and He's watching you!

Most of us do not work as though God is watching, or even cares about the job we're doing. We fail to realize that promotion doesn't come "from the east or the west... but [from] God" (Ps 75:6-7 NIV). Do you understand that as difficult as your current job may be, God has placed you there for a purpose? He has deposited you there so that you can learn how to deal with the enemy, grow in grace and maturity, and be trained for better things. Think about it!

Working in a difficult environment (5)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it."Genesis 2:15 AMP

Think your job is tough? David worked for a violent king who was troubled by an evil spirit and who threw javelins at him. And David's job was to bring peace, order and productivity. Notice two important things:

(1) David didn't attempt to pray away his problem! If David had prayed away Saul's evil spirit, he'd have prayed away his opportunity to serve God in that environment - and the ones to follow. David knew God was up to something good so he kept his joy, tuned his ear to God and found out what the moment demanded in order for God to show up. God is a trouble-shooter: when He sees trouble He sends in a shooter. God can empower you to be a solution to the problem - whatever the problem is - so that God can be God in the midst of the mess!

(2) When David was called he didn't just come; he came with gifts. He brought "an ass laden with bread" (1 Sa 16:20). He also brought his harp-playing skills! He didn't ask, "What's in it for me?" We need to get rid of our "gimme spirit" and replace it with a heart that comes to serve. That involves keeping a right attitude, saying, "This may be a hard time, but it's also short-term. So I'll check my attitude regularly and be grateful for what I have, so I can be trusted with what I'm about to be given. While I'm here I'm going to make God happy He picked me for the job, and show those I work with that I've got something they need."

Working in a difficult environment (6)
"God ... put him in the garden ... to tend and keep it."Genesis 2:15 AMP

David knew that God had called him before he went to work for King Saul! That's important! You've got to know who you are apart from what you do; otherwise you'll end up working harder at being appreciated than you will at your job. That not only sends the wrong signal to your co-workers and supervisors, it robs you of your true identity in Christ, plus the solid foundation of security, peacefulness and joy your job provides. Instead, your self-worth will fluctuate like a politician's popularity in an election year, up one day and down the next. You'll end up riding a roller coaster of moodiness and unexpected disappointments, alongside a few moments of praise, which may or may not be sincere, because once others learn that you thrive on recognition they hold the key to manipulating you for their own purposes.

Thirsting for recognition gives others power over you. Power to define you and influence you. That's dangerous! It's hard to hear God's voice (often directing you against the tide of popular opinion) when you've tuned your ears to respond only to the boss's voice or the customer's remarks. Listen: "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Co 10:31 NAS). Whether you're pushing a broom or planning a budget, do it as unto the Lord! When you experience God's pleasure in what you're doing, even if it's something you don't particularly like doing but know that it's where you should be at the present moment, you don't need anybody else's affirmation.

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