The workplace can be a daunting and overwhelming place for young Christians. It often presents a melting pot of beliefs and cultures that directly oppose our faith. We face the challenge of wanting to make a good impression and build relationships with our colleagues but not wanting to compromise our faith as a result. It is important that we proactively and intentionally make the decision to stand firm in our workplaces but what does that look like?
Throughout the Bible Christians are exhorted to stand firm, be steadfast, and unmovable (Ephesians 6:11-13, 1 Corinthians 15:58, 2 Thessalonians 2:15). Essentially, we need to be “spiritually grounded”. It can be tough to do this when we are in the workplace because we desire to fit in, we may fear persecution and we might actually be ashamed of the gospel.
Living a Life Standing Firm
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are great examples of what it looks like to stand firm (Daniel 3). They were faced with an instruction from the King that stood in direct opposition with their faith as Jews, and they were faced with a fatal penalty for disobeying that instruction. In the midst of this, they chose to stay grounded in God. So, what can we learn from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?
Standing firm requires us to stand out (Romans 12:2)
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shows us that standing firm in our faith requires us to go against the curb. I can imagine how awkward it would have been for them, sticking out like sore thumbs as they stood whilst everyone bowed. Well, this is exactly what is required of us as Christians. Romans 12:2 tells us that we should not be conformed to the patterns of this world, in doing so we are bound to look different from the rest of our colleagues.
Standing firm requires us to fear God and not fear man (Matthew 8: 35-38)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s story isn’t just inspiring because God saved them from the fire, their story is inspiring because of their heart posture in the situation (Daniel 3:16-18). They were less concerned about the fire they would face here on earth and more concerned about the God they would face in eternity. As believers, our first thought should be towards God and not the men we work with and under.
Live a life worthy of The Gospel
Standing firm in our faith is our appropriate response to our Saviour who stood firm so that we could have salvation. We stand firm in our workplaces first and foremost because that is the call of the believer. Our faith is evidenced when we choose to not conform to the things around us but decide to stand out for God.
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the GospelPhilippians 1:27
For many of us, the vast majority of our time will be spent at work. The people we are likely to interact with the most is our colleagues. To be an effective witness, we must hold on to our beliefs, our mouths cannot be telling one story whilst our lives tell a different one.
Some practical Tips to Stand Firm
- Join or start a faith network – Walking with Christ is easier when we do not walk alone, especially in our workplaces.
- Choose not to get involved with work gossip – choosing to not do something that is so casually done can be difficult but just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean it is right to do.
- Stand up for yourself and the gospel – it can be easy to let snide remarks go but gracefully correcting someone is likely to have a greater impact on that person’s view of Christianity than just ignoring it or laughing it off.
As we work and interact with colleagues who would rather make a joke out of Christianity or those who are tolerant of our beliefs, or those who are curious and want to know more- let us remember the words of Apostle Paul. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Rom 1:16). Let us be bold in the eternal saving power of the Gospel, not being ashamed of it, but recognising that we may be the only mouthpieces of the Gospel that some of our colleagues will come across. Be encouraged by the attitudes of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, whether we are saved from the fire or not, God reigns supreme so it is Him that our lives, jobs and worship belong to.