At work we may be expected to present an attentive “face”; at home, relaxed; in public, neutral. Each life area carries expectations that we behave and look a certain way – that we present a certain “face.”
It is not good to experience expectations to be something that isn’t really “us.” In an ideal world, it wouldn’t happen. But in the world we’ve got, it does happen. Does Christianity offer us a response? - In his day, Paul the apostle gave some guidelines.
Paul knew a church that was grappling with how Christians should respond to their living and working conditions. He advised those people: “let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him” (I Corinthians 7: 17). His point was that it’s unrealistic and self-indulgent to think we can have it all. In Paul’s time, people had little choice about their personal circumstances. They often stayed in the same social and economic position from birth to death. Today, choices and opportunities are common. Even so, the Lord Jesus calls us to deal with circumstances by first consulting Him: “Lord, what do You say to me about this?” Paul emphasized that what counts in God’s sight more than anything else is “keeping the commandments of God” (I Corinthians 7: 19).
So our Lord calls us first and foremost to know His commandments – the extent to which we obey or ignore Him, the extent to which we’re in touch with His will for us personally, the direction of our lives, are all determined by whether or not we know His commands about a life of Christ-honouring faith.
Pressures to present a certain face or attitude are best dealt with by requesting God’s help in each situation – and if a situation is really difficult, Paul told his troubled audience that it’s all right to look for a better one (I Corinthians 7: 21). The bottom line is that if work and life seem mismatched, concentrate on honouring God in those situations so that He can cast light on what to do.
A WORK PRAYER
Lord Jesus, my life is in Your hands. Work, life, You see it all. By Your Holy Spirit, refresh Your commandments to me; use them to revitalize how I think about work; as I read Your Word, speak to me about any sense of misfit or mismatch I or those around me may be experiencing at work. Amen.