What is the faith we take to work with us?

How does faith affect work beyond ethics and evangelism? We often talk about our faith and work mingling to form a more holistic view of our lives. But, practically, we must understand the faith we carry with us before we can understand how it affects more than our Sunday.

Hearing this question from a faithful congregant prompted me to explore faith more deeply. What is the “faith” we bring to work? The Bible speaks of four facets of faith vital for our walk with the Lord, effective service, and witness in our world.

We are people of the faith.

We affirm the historic events of Jesus Christ: his incarnation, sinless life, atoning crucifixion, burial, glorious bodily resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Father, and return in glory (1 Cor 15; Rom 1:2-4, 16-17; 1 Tim 3:16; Jude 3). Unlike most religious systems, our Christian life is built on God’s activity in history, with the cross and resurrection as the defining events and definitive foundation. We must defend this truth amidst all the skepticism, historic revisionism, and basic doubt about the truthfulness of anything!

Jesus Christ is the center of the grand narrative of Scripture. This story encompasses God’s good creation and design for humankind made in God’s image. The disaster of the fall and attendant divine judgments and promises are part of our daily reality. God’s delivering grace and mission of reconciliation encompass both Old and New Testaments, with the cross and resurrection the fulfillment of God’s plan to create a new humanity in Christ. And finally, our eternal destiny is unveiled as Christ returns and all creation is restored. This is the faith we bring to work…and the faith we are always ready to share with others at opportune times (1 Pet 3:15-16).

We are people with saving faith. 

The Holy Spirit assures us that we are God’s children with a secure eternity (Rom 8:1-16). This assurance distinguishes Christianity from all other religions, with their emphasis on human effort. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9). This saving faith includes the gift of the Holy Spirit, who regenerates and indwells every Christian and offers deep assurance and missional empowerment (Luke 24; Acts 1). As we work, we walk in the good works God has prepared for us (Eph 2:10) and offer all we do as grateful worship to God (Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:17).

We are people with growing faith. 

This faith is an ever-deepening trust in God’s character and love for his ways (Ps 119). This faith can move mountains when we trust God (not trusting our faith level). Faith grows and operates through love (Gal 5:6). Our growing faith helps us bless and pray for those we work with. Such faith helps us endure workplace challenges, from minor annoyances to serious injustices. As this faith will help us keep in step with the Holy Spirit and wisely offer insight and speak to needed changes.

We are people open to the manifestation gift of extraordinary faith.

This is often linked with other gifts and is part of God’s sovereign activity as we seek to edify the body and evangelize the world. These special works of the Spirit are not confined to our church gatherings but are part of God’s goodness as we join him in his mission of reconciliation and restoration. Sometimes this gift is paired with knowledge and wisdom and yields marvelous fruit.

One Sunday, months after I spoke on faith and work at our local church, a young engineer came to me and with great excitement shared a testimony of God’s goodness at work. For two years he and his team were working on a breakthrough technology that would save lives and reduce costs. They were so close for several months and he sought the Lord for insight. One day, he saw in his mind a piece of the equation he had not seen before. The Lord gave him a small part of the answer. He had been praying for others and a couple of colleagues mentioned that they had some new thoughts. In a matter of days, the plans for the prototype were completed. As he shared, tears in his eyes, he said, “God really cares about my actual work!”

Faith at work involves our intellects, affirming the truth of the gospel and a readiness to share grace at opportune moments. Faith at work engages our hearts as we walk in peace and love others with good intent. Faith at work includes openness to the Spirit, looking for opportunities for justice and wisdom. And faith at work seamlessly blends the natural and supernatural, laboring diligently and expecting divine revelation.

Each day, this is the faith we bring to our daily tasks. Whether at home or the office, laboring in the fields or leading in boardrooms, faith at work engages our whole selves and makes the world a better place.

Topics: Christian Life, Work and the Bible

About the Author

Charlie Self serves as director of learning communities at Made to Flourish. Charlie is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God. He has served as an associate and senior pastor in several congregations in California, Oregon and Washington, D.C., and has served as an interim pastor six times. He currently also serves as professor of church history at The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri, where he teaches courses in apologetics, church history, mission history, leadership development, and discipleship. He is also co-developer of discipleship dynamics, a new research-based tool for churches and individuals to assess the effectiveness of their discipleship programs. Charlie is the author of three books: The Divine Dance, The Power of Faithful Focus (with co-author Les Hewitt) and his most recent work with The Acton Institute, Flourishing Churches and Communities: A Pentecostal Primer on Faith, Work and Economics for Spirit-Empowered Discipleship. He has an M.A. in history on the church and social change in Latin America (1992) and Ph.D. in modern european history, with foci on Belgian Protestantism and studies in virtue ethics and the holocaust (1995), from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He also has an M.A. in philosophical and systematic theology from The Graduate Theological Union and Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, California. Charlie is married to Kathleen, a professional artist, and they have been married and on mission for 36 years. They have three adult children.