Battlefield

Your Work is Your Battlefield

Your Purpose and Your Battlefield

Your workplace is your battlefield. God said, “Sir, you’re going to find your purpose, your career calling. Then you’re going to find Eve.” In most cultures, this is normal. Unfortunately, we live in a twisted culture in the United States that accepts unemployment as a norm. No father would have ever given his daughter to a man that did not have a career calling. In most cultures, this would not happen. But it’s happening to most of us in our twisted rendition of the American culture.  

If you think about it, low self-esteem and high levels of desperation push people into unnatural and unspiritual relationships. This false mindset is what the enemy is doing in our culture. Mighty men of God, no woman is going to despise you for not being able to get a job. But she is going to hate you for still being in bed when she’s gone out.  

Paul supports this Career Mandate. Paul tells us, “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). How can you provide for your household? You provide by having a job. If you don’t have a job, your full-time job is finding a job. Get up and find a job.  

Where is your battlefield? 

If there is a Career Mandate, this means that our Commander, Jesus Christ, has already revealed to you where your battlefield is. The work you have is where you conduct your wrestling match. Your workplace is your battlefield. 

God goes to work with His people every single day. If you work in a school, God goes with you there. Let’s say you work in a mall. God goes with you there. What if you work in a law firm? God goes with you there. If you work for the government, God goes with you there. Wherever you are working, God is there because you are there. 

Many of us want to go into full-time ministry with the church because our career calling is not equivalent to full-time ministry. Because of this theology of separation that we are used to, we see our work to be unrelated to ministry work for God.  

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Battlefield

Order of Creation : Calling Then Family

Calling and Family

God placed man’s career calling ahead of his wife and his family in the order of creation. Do not get me wrong. We are not trying to create a conflict between home and work life.  

If you are a single woman reading this, I am saying that God wants you to marry someone who has already discovered his destiny and purpose. I’m saying that the worst thing you could do is to marry someone who has no career calling with their life because that’s an unnatural state. Ladies, you are supposed to be with someone who already has a relationship with God and, secondly, someone who has already received his calling from the Lord. Gentlemen, before you go out seeking for your mates, seek God first and seek the calling you have in Him.  

It is unnatural to have no work. We find ourselves in this mess in society when we’re marrying people with unemployed, idle minds. We find ourselves in a mess when we settle for marrying people with no vision and purpose. Ladies, it is unnatural for men to live off you.  

God said, “It’s not going to happen. Adam, you are going to be working when Eve meets you. When Eve lays eyes on you for the first time, you will be working.” This picture was what God intended for relationships between husbands and wives. Please, do not use up the excuse that times are hard and you could not get a job. Suppose you cannot get a job or volunteer. Do not sit around and be idle, asking when God will show you your wife.  

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Work

Blessed to Have Work

When God made Adam, the first thing he does is work. During this time, the world was perfect because sin had not entered the world yet. The perfection that Adam and Eve had experienced was not reflected in the absence of work. There was work.  

Work was not the punishment. Hard labor was the punishment. The question is, what are you experiencing right now? Are you placing yourself in the position of fulfilling your career mandate or in the position of the curse of sin? 

Adam’s Job Was a Blessing

Adam had a job. He had a business. First, God told him to keep the garden. In fac hobby that God gave Adam to help him pass the time until game consoles are created. Have you ever tried to keep a garden or even just a single plant? You know it’s a job, especially when the garden is the size of a country.  

The second job Adam was given was to name all the animals. This is intended to be a mental exercise. Moreover, the task also requires a mental database. Similarly, God intended for Adam to exercise his creativity to name things, put them into categories, and label everything.  

If you think Adam had it easy, Scripture reveals to us how he had a lot of work to do. Nor does he wake up in the morning thinking, “Oh, what to do today?” Adam wakes up in the morning with a purpose.  His first thought of the day would be: “Got to get on with my work. Got to do like my daddy does. We’re going to rest on the seventh day, but I got work to do.”  

The purpose of Adam’s existence was to worship God. How did he do it? By working. Moreover, this is true that work is even the basis of his marital relationship. If you read on, we see that it is stated, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him help, meet for him (Genesis 2:18).” The whole idea here was to help.  

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God moves at a speed

God Moves at a Speed We Can Keep Up With

God is moving through these stages, working as though He is not the omnipotent God that He is. God is all-powerful. He doesn’t have to do it this way, but He is doing it stage by stage to show us how He materialized His idea. When He’s finished making it all, He rests on the seventh.  

Then the same chapter says, “And God made man in His image, after His likeness.” What is man? The Creator creates a creator.  

You are a creator

You are fundamentally, innately designed to make things happen. Having said that, creativity and industry are a part of your nature because you have this image and likeness of God. That’s what sets humanity apart from animal kind.  

Think about this. Humans write books for other humans to read. But humans are not satisfied with reading paperback and hardbound books. Moreover, we find a way to make it more convenient to carry around books. Then we found a way to make a Kindle or the iPad wherein we can bring dozens of books with just one tablet gadget. Once we’ve finished conquering the kindle mountain, don’t be surprised if we have plug-ins, from plug-ins to matrix to sticks at the back of your brains, so the book is just in your psyche. They’re working on it. Human beings have ideas, and we work on them. If we can’t make it physically, we’ll make a film about it and make it look like it’s real.  

It’s what we do as humans. In fact, it’s what we were made to do. Not working on, in, or through something is an unnatural human state. You are never designed to be idle.  

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God moves at a Speed

your-work-your-worship

Your Work, Your Worship

You Were Made for Worship

Work is our form of worship as human beings. Our purpose is to worship God. However, how come when the world was perfect, and sin had not entered the world yet, there was no worship service mentioned? There was no music. What was there for man to do? There was work. 

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 

20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. (Genesis 2:15,20)

Worship is an expression of adoration. Moreover, it reflects how much worth you attribute to someone. When Adam was created, how did he express his adoration for the Lord? What activity was present? There was work. After, God assigned Adam his “Career Mandate” and he worshipped God through his obedience. 

You’re now cutting against the grain of your very existence to not have something to work on. You are meant to serve. You are meant to be challenged. However, you were also created to take breaks from it. The Creator revealed to us your design. Resting is part of your career mandate. Plan, review, complete, and then rest. Then, go back to work. This is your nature. 

It’s Unnatural Not To Work

Sickness occurs when you go against your design. There is a connection between purpose and health. Moreover, you were not designed to be idle. Idleness causes you to abuse your design. 

My (Bishop Malcolm’s) mother worked in the national health service for 30 years as a nurse. When she came to retire, they called her in for counseling, in order to talk through the retirement process. She asked if I would go with her and I said, “Absolutely.” I went with my mother and we sat down. A lovely lady began to talk through the mechanics of retirement, the mechanics of the process, the pensioning, the forms, and all of that. I thought, “Yeah, this is really helpful because it helps you. You know what to do, you know what to expect.” 

Then the woman turned around and said, “So, tell me about yourself. How many children?” she said. “Do you have grandchildren?” 

 “Yes.”  

“That’s really nice.” Then, the woman started to really lighten up. She said, “Are you a member of any club or society or a group?”  

Mother said, “Yes, yes. I’m an active member of my church.”  

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Do you do things in church?”  

“Oh, yes. Yes, I have roles. I run the prayer group, you know. I do all of these things.” 

 “Oh,” and I’m seeing this woman lightening up. She said, “Do you have any other hobbies? Do you garden? Do you have plants?” 

Statistical Proof of Life Expectancy

As my mother was saying stuff, the woman was getting ecstatic. I’m like, “Excuse me. Tell me why are you saying this?” The woman looked at me and she said, “Because we have statistical proof that if you have nothing to do with your life after you retire, you are going to die within the first few years.”  

“What?”  

“They said your life expectancy drops dramatically if you have nothing to do.” Then a phenomenon that I couldn’t explain suddenly made sense. The phenomenon is one that I observed in the sunny island of Jamaica. We would drive through some districts. This was Beverly Hills. This was Hollywood. These were beautiful houses that had been built by people who were working in this country. They sent their money back home to build their dream house in anticipation of retirement. They would build their dream house, retire, go back to Jamaica and within two years, they’re dead and the house is empty.  

Absolutely, it’s a sociological phenomenon. How do you spend your life building for a dream and when you get it, you’re dead? Our bodies are interconnected with our minds. They’re all part of the same system. If your mind loses purpose, the reason is, your body has no reason to continue living. There’s none. You simply start packing up and dying. The whole idea that I’m going to retire one day and spend the rest of my life on a beach is the formula for death because it’s a totally unnatural human state.  

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The Career Mandate

The Career Mandate

Each one of us has a career mandate

You have a career mandate. Did you know that? Let me guide you through Scripture to show you what this mandate is about. First, let us start with the most obvious. Is there a difference between a human being and an animal? 

No matter how “human” an animal looks like, they won’t be able to write this book, not in a million years. Our intelligence, creative capacities, and dynamic nature set us apart from animals. 

No other creature has these debates because we are worlds apart from the nearest looking human being in terms of intellect and creative capacity. This is what the bible calls the image and the likeness of God. The Bible tells us that we were created in the image and likeness of God. We are God-like beings.  

Some passages will call you a God because you are His offspring. Your spirit came from Him. Your body was made from the dust. According to Scripture, although your body was made from dust, it was only through God breathing into Adam’s nostril that man became a living soul.  

Image & Likeness

It’s not our nose that makes us like God. It’s not our hair. It is our unlimited creative capacity. Our creativity makes us unlike anything else in the world 

The first chapter of the first book in the Bible opens with this, “In the beginning, God created….” How does God introduce Himself to us? At work. What clothes was God wearing when He introduced Himself to us? Working clothes. He is working on a plan to materialize His own idea in six days, representing stages. 

How do you represent yourself?

God has introduced Himself to you. Let’s focus on that. The opening chapter of Genesis is like God saying, “This is my introduction. This is how I want you to think of me.”  

When you introduce yourself, you’re telling someone how to think of you. “I’m introducing myself to you in work clothes.” He’s Almighty. He does not have to spend six days on anything. He could say, “That’s all there.”  

But He did that for us. He did that so that it could make sense to us. God was doing something foundational for us. God created the world and everything in it to show us something. It is like God saying, “No, we’re going to stage this out. We’ve got a plan. First things first. We will do what we have got to do in the first stage, then we review the first stage, and God saw everything he did and said, ‘It is good. Okay, now the first stage is good. We can move to the second stage.’” 

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The Career Mandate

Prevent-Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Prevent Contamination

Salt can lose its saltiness

Jesus gave us a warning:  “But if the salt loses its taste, how would its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men.”  This is not to say that we lose our salvation. Instead, he said, we can lose our saltiness. We can lose our purpose. When salt is contaminated, it becomes corrosive and poisonous. 

When salt is contaminated, it cannot even be used as fertilizer in the field. It needs to be thrown out on the road. The question here is, are you preventing moral decay, or are you allowing it to continue in your workplace? Worse, are you producing or speeding up the moral decay in your office? 

Allowing apathy, disobedience, carelessness, and indifference to rule our lives, especially our work lifestyles, causes us to eliminate our saltiness. There is a need for us to realize our roles so that we do not lose the purpose for which we are called. Let us not miss the primary purpose by which we are placed in the position we are placed in. We are in the companies or businesses we are in so we can be the salt in that company or business. Do not miss the point. Let us not lose our saltiness. 

Does your light shine bright?

Jesus also called us the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). As the “salt,” we counteract the power of sin. On the other hand, as the “light,” we illuminate where we are. When a place is illuminated, darkness ceases to exist. Whatever exists in darkness—the rulers, authorities, and powers—cannot survive in the light. 

Our lives and this widely includes our work lives, must testify to the reality of Christ’s presence. The light we possess is not our own. It reflects the Light of the World, Jesus Christ Himself.  

As Insiders, we represent Jesus. We are his agents in the world. We cannot reflect Christ’s light if we are not in contact with Christ when it comes to our day-to-day lives. The problem most Christians have is they compartmentalize. Jesus belongs in the Sunday and Church drawer. Thus, he cannot touch the Mondays to Saturdays—Work-Fun drawers. When this happens, when Jesus is not Lord over all of our lives, we fail to reflect His light into every area of our lives.  

Theology of Separation

We are taught a theology of separation. We separate our careers from our faith. Most of us struggle with the idea that our careers are in fact, our ministries. These careers we hold directly serve the interests of heaven on earth. However, we miss this point when we separate Career and God from each other.  

Most people say, “If only they were in full-time ministry” with the church then, they can help advance its mission. They see their jobs as a measure to pay their bills or get ahead in life. We can understand that God has placed us primarily in our workplaces to be His agents, His access, and His advert in the system. 

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Prevent Contamination

The Salt and the Light

The Salt and the Light

A Command for Believers

Jesus declared that those who follow him are the “salt” and the “light” of the world. These were not suggestions. These were not options. Jesus did not say, “You can be the salt” or “you have to potential to be the salt.” He is talking about your very being. Christ was describing your nature as a believer living in the world. He said you are the salt and the light. 

We cannot underestimate the value of salt. In the ancient world, the context by which Jesus used the term “salt” metaphorically refers to Roman soldiers who received their wages in salt. The Greeks even considered salt to be divine. God required all offerings presented by the Israelites to contain salt under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 2:13).  

When Jesus called the disciples to be the salt of the earth in Matthew 5:13, they understood the metaphor. They understood their job description as Insiders. Did you know that salt was not readily available in the modern world during that time? In the same way, what you offer as believers is not readily available in your industries. 

The Distinction of Salt

What are the characteristics of the salt that caused Jesus to use this symbol? Salt preserves food. Before people created the refrigerator, they used salt to keep food in ancient times.  

Salt had a property that stopped decay. The disciples were aware of the value of salt. Without salt, the fish they had caught will spoil quickly. They needed to pack it in salt to preserve it. Jesus intended you to work as an Insider in the industry you are in to stop the moral decay in the sin-infected world of that area.  

Salt needs to be lavished on the food to be preserved to stop the decay of this food. Salt, as a preservative, is only helpful if applied to meet that is riding. If you place to fish in one container and salt in another, the salt cannot preserve the fish. We see the pattern here, don’t we?  

Insiders

We see that Jesus intended for us to be Insiders. There needs to be close contact between the believer and the world to impact the world and prevent moral decay. Moreover, the spiritual health and strength of the Christian are to counteract the corruption in the system. As Christians, we were never intended to exist in our own “holy” bubble until the time when Jesus came again. Therefore, we are called to be the salt of the earth. 

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the salt

The System of the World

The System of the World

It’s all about systems

The city has a system. It is a mechanism that is made up of parts and components. It has culture and subcultures. Reaching a city means that you have a presence in every aspect of the city.  It does not necessarily mean that you have to be the most significant influence, but you need to have an impact in every area of the world. 

The Great Commission is about evangelism in the world. In the same way, the Great Commission is meant to be an “inside job” that starts with courageous believers going into the world. In this respect, we have to be in it to win it. We have to be in every area of society, every industry, and every aspect if we want to fulfill the call of the Great Commission truly. 

 At the end of the day, fulfilling this call is what we are here for. If we were not here for that purpose, we should have gone to heaven the moment we accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. We have a purposeful God. We are here on earth because we still have a purpose of serving.  

You cannot win a world for Christ if you are not a part of it. An outsider cannot beat the system. An outsider does not have enough influence to be able to win the system. You have to be in the system in order to establish a stronghold over it.  

Reflection

  1. Describe the rulers, authorities, and powers that exist in the darkness of your workplace. 
  1. How are you being the salt in that office or business? 
  1. How are you being the light in the industry?  

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close combat

Close Combat

Close Combat

Let’s go back to the verse from Ephesians 6:12.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (KJV)

Paul mentions a match between us and great powers. He describes a wrestling match between our enemies in the world and us and that of the spiritual realm. Wrestling involves skin-to-skin combat. It depicts close combat with your opponent. You cannot wrestle with another person by being a hundred feet apart. The most space you can have for a wrestling match is a circle that is 42 inches in diameter.  

To wrestle, you have to enter the arena. You have to be in the same wrestling circle. You cannot wrestle with an opponent unless you are where the opponent is.  

On the court or on the sidelines

Aryou’rein the same arena? Perhaps you’re scared to even be a spectator. What power would Christians have if we are on the sidelines? A lot of Christian are afraid to be judged as “unholy” or “ungodly” that they isolate themselves from the rest of the world. The world that they need to influence sees them as rigid or weird. They neglect to engage with the lost because they refuse to get into the arena.

The reason why your presence is needed in your workplace is that it is hidden in darkness. The only way by which the darkness in your workplace can be overpowered In order to wrestle, you have to enter the arena. There needs to be close contact between the believer and the world in order for the believer to impact the  It’s to prevent moral decay. It’s not just your career, it’s your calling. 

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close combat

Enter-the-Arena

Enter the Arena

Darkness in the World 

Darkness is the absence of light. It is not a force. It is simply an absence of something. We live in a world where there is no light. The reason why your presence is needed in your workplace is that it is hidden in darkness. You can go inside your workplace to be the light. You go inside the system for it to see the light.  

A verse we will discuss extensively in this book is found in Ephesians 6:12. Paul is revealing to us that a spiritual battle exists. For some of us, we already know this. But let’s look closer and see what this passage is telling us in the context of functioning in our workplace. Paul tells us: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). 

There are rulers, authorities, and powers in this world and forces in the spiritual world that are working against believers. Paul called this world “dark.” It is different from those spiritual forces of evil that exist in the heavenly realms. Darkness is not the force that we are battling with. Instead, it is what exists in the darkness that we are wrestling with (i.e. the rulers, authorities, and powers in this dark world).  

If you enter a dark house, it is not the darkness in the room that harms you. Instead, it could be an intruder hiding in the dark that could be dangerous for you. How do you expose the threat? You open the lights. Darkness cannot exist in the presence of light.  

Be the light

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Believers have the light of life because they follow Jesus. You have the light of life. The question is, are you bringing this light into your workplace? Does your workplace have life because of you? The only way by which the darkness in your workplace can be overpowered is when you bring your light there.  

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 14-16) 

The passage above may seem like it is ridiculous. Why would someone light a lamp and put it under a bowl? Wouldn’t it defeat the purpose of lighting the lamp in the first place? However, the lamp that Jesus was referring to was the light that he had lit within every believer who chooses to follow him. It was lit so that we can be his agents in the dark world.  

Is your light hidden?

The problem most Christians deal with is that they do not expose their light. They keep it hidden. They only reveal their light on Sundays when they are among fellow believers. However, what would the purpose of the lamp be when it is placed out in the brightness of the sun? The light of the lamp is supposed to shine in the midst of darkness. And if you dread going to work on Mondays, then that’s your first clue as to where you should shine your light on.  

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Excellence-Creates-Your-Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

Excellence Creates Your Influence

If you bring value to that field through excellent service in love, you have a right to talk about anything you want to talk about, and they are all going to listen and say, “Yes, please tell me more.” If you storm into your office and say, “Hello, everyone. I’m a Born Again Christian, and it’s about time that somebody heard the word of the Lord up in here,” then you have just made yourself a strong argument against Christianity.   

Are you walking the talk?

Have you ever seen these horrible drivers with a Jesus bumper sticker on their vehicles? There was one time wherein I wanted to stop one guy one time and tell him, “Listen, you can put Satan on the back of your car. Be an adverb for him because you’re not telling me anything about Jesus at all.”  

It’s about understanding a presence you are meant to bring into an industry. That’s the first key to ministry in the marketplace. It’s not a message that you get. Although, we have an important message to plant. You can bring the presence of Christ before you bring the message of Christ. 

Someone said, “I’m going to bring the message.” You say that because you don’t understand covert kingdom operations. You don’t understand that God does not have to be named to be present. He doesn’t have to be announced to arrive. That’s the real message of Esther. Did you know that?  

Esther is the one book in the Bible in the name God doesn’t appear. But God is all over the book because Esther is a covert agent who gives God access to the king’s bedroom. It’s covert and about bringing a presence into a field that establishes your credibility to speak.  

Then, there is Joseph the Dreamer. He brought so much value to the kingdom of Egypt. An archeologist said that they had identified a time, and that seems to match up with the Joseph saga chronologically when Egypt was monotheistic. These are just a few examples that we will go into deeper as we discuss insiders’ accounts in the Bible. 

How can you contribute?

You can add massive value to the people’s lives in your workplace. Once you do this, you can influence a person’s faith. They will be thinking, “You do not add any value to my life. Why do I have to care about you or your faith?” No one cares about why you value your faith until they know how much you care.  

When you approach them without adding value to their lives or showing them that you genuinely care for them, you are just creating a debate about religion. Get out of the business of debating religion.  

If I can feed you and clothe you, I can talk to you. That’s what Jesus did. You see Jesus bringing massive value into people’s lives, and that’s what made His words credible. Without the miracles, who would have listened to Jesus? Think about it. The purpose of the gifts is to give credence to your message. Think about how you are being an Insider to your workplace.  

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Excellence Creates Your Influence