CompassHaving learned that God’s purposes for ministry in the Workplace are about Him, it should come as no surprise that He has His own ways for accomplishing those purposes. If we hope to have His presence and grace in our Workplace Ministry endeavors, we had best do things His way. This lesson explores the ways God has prescribed for participating in His work, maturing Workplace Leaders, establishing His kingdom, and glorifying Himself.

Spiritual Exercise

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:9

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. 1Corinthians 4:1-2

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:20

The thoughts and ways of God have been given for the followers of Jesus Christ; along with the way He would have us search them out and faithfully steward them. The key is in gathering together in His name. I call this way: The “and” of searching in community.

The “and” way is different than the ways of the world. First of all, “and” requires community; the sharing of life and love with others. There are no lone rangers when it comes to being faithful stewards of the mysteries of God.

Secondly, the “and” way is not about debate. The winner is not the one who makes the best argument. That is the “or” way. The “and” way is about everyone winning, by finding the truth in community. Those that practice the “and” way come together in the name of Jesus Christ; denying their agendas, in order to follow His. In so doing, they find Him there; and they find that He has something to say about the mysteries of God.

Consider Paul’s encouragement to the church in Rome:

For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another… Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:3-18 (selected)

Coming together in Jesus’ name requires humility and a strong desire to be of the same mind with other believers. We have been given the mind of Christ. We exercise it in community.

Prayer

Father God, we come in the name of Jesus; submitting our agendas to that of our King. Give us grace for humility and same-mindedness; that we would lay hold of His mind. Grant us the understanding of Your mysteries. Teach us Your ways for kingdom stewardship. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Joining God in His Work

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10

We are not saved by works; but we must be careful not to miss out on the good works that He has created us to walk in. He prepared those good works “beforehand”, and has been working in us to will and do to His good pleasure through them (Philippians 2:13). He is the Grand Orchestrator. There are no coincidences for His children.

There are many good works that we will walk in during our lifetime; but, there is one work that is for the lifetime of every follower of Jesus Christ.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. Matthew 28:18-20

The One who has been given ALL authority has commissioned us to make disciples. This is God’s way for us to participate with Him in the work He is doing to restore what He lost in our rebellion.

We will talk more about making disciples in our next lesson. For now, consider a couple of things. First, making disciples is not equivalent to evangelism; it is more. Second, the Greek word for “observe” does not mean “obey” (as it appears in other translations). It means to watch over and protect; something very close to “steward”.

Your Role as Leader

God has called and positioned you to be a disciple maker of those that will make disciples. God anoints those that He appoints. The definition of leader is “one who goes before another, showing them the way”. You cannot be a disciple maker if you are not being made yourself. Who is Jesus Christ using to disciple you?

God’s Way for Maturing Us in Christ

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

The Biblical prescription for maturing in Christ is a process that occurs as we behold the glory of Christ (in prayer and meditation, in Bible study, in other believers, etc.), and allow the Holy Spirit to transform us from one level of glory to another. This new level of glory is a condition where more of the glory and character of Christ can be seen in the Workplace (e.g., love, joy, peace, patience).

It is interesting to note that the Greek word for transformed – metamorphoo – is only found here and in two other places in the New Testament. Another is in Paul’s letter to the Romans:

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

The transformation process involves the renewal of our minds, and a move away from conformity to the world. As we submit to His work, the Holy Spirit spiritually (and physically) changes our minds; aligning our worldview, desires and actions, with the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.

Understanding God’s intention in the transformation process may already be stretching your paradigm of the normal Christian life (that’s a good thing). It may seem too fantastic to be possible; but, it doesn’t stop there. Let’s look at the third occurrence of metamorphoo – found in Matthew 17:

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. Matthew 17:1-2

Do you see it? Jesus was metamorphoo-ed on the Mount of “Metamorphoo“. Could this be possible for us? Well, I haven’t seen too many Christians glowing like Jesus, but it has to make you think: Just what is possible? Consider the following:

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. 2Corinthians 2:15

Paul is not speaking of super Christians here. Every Christian is to sound, look and even smell of Christ’s glory. One of the most inspiring quotes I have ever read speaks volumes about the potential in those that will lay hold of the truth regarding our transformation:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Return to Love by Marianne Williamson, Harper Collins, 1992

Your Role as Leader

Reckoning these truths to be true about you will renew your mind to lead others in the process of transformation. Reckoning is an intentional act, facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). Ask God to affirm these truths in your quiet time with Him. Encourage another Workplace Leader in these truths. Hearing yourself say them will cause faith to arise.

God’s Way for Establishing His Kingdom

Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.
Psalm 37:4-6

The purpose of God is found in the desires of our hearts. These are the desires that He has placed there; with the intent to give them to us. His giving is conditional on our delighting ourselves in Him. The Greek word for “delight” is different here than in all the other Psalms. It is a hidden way of God. The word, `anag, means “to be soft”. Like clay in the Potter’s hands. When we surrender to God, our desires become His purpose; and no purpose will be denied Him (Job 42:2).

Once we have surrendered, God invites us to commit our way to Him. We must sacrifice our plans for His; trusting Him to bring it to pass – in His way. Jesus said it this way, “No one can be my disciple that does not deny himself, take up his cross and follow after me.” Being followers of the Way requires our sacrificing for His plan.

The purpose and plan of God is accomplished in the power of God. Jesus Christ is our righteousness (1Corinthians 1:30). His life is the light of men (John 1:4). As we submit to the working of God, in and through us, more of Jesus Christ is seen in our good works, and the Father is glorified.

Your Role as Leader

Jesus encourages us all to count the cost of following Him. This is particularly true of Workplace Leaders. God will not burden you with more than you can bear, in Jesus Christ; but, He wants you to consider what you are getting into. It is His way.

The Bride Making Herself Ready – Drawing the Lost to Himself

Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. Revelation 19:7

The wife of the Lamb will be perfect. She will not be dismembered. Somehow, some way, she will make herself ready. The Lamb has been praying for it to happen for over 2000 years.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. John 17:21-23

First, notice that Jesus did not pray for His Father to encourage or help us be one. Realizing that we were not up to the task (we have proven Him right over and over again), He prayed for the Father to make us one. Our responsibility is to agree with Him in this prayer, and surrender ourselves to the Father’s work.

Second, you will notice that our being made one is God’s way for drawing the lost to Himself. As we respond to His work in making us one, the world will see that He loves them and sent His son for them. Do you have a burden for the lost? Perhaps they are co-workers, or friends; maybe even family members. The best thing you can do for them is to be made one with other followers of Jesus Christ.

Your Role as Leader

Building the Kingdom is about cooperation, not competition (something we see a lot of in the organized church). Cooperation is also a fundamental principle in the Workplace. Consequently, a follower of Jesus Christ can more easily pursue fellowship with the brethren in the Workplace, without engaging in divisive sectarianism. In the process, God will honor our agreement with His Son’s prayer for unity by showing up in the work. The Workplace Leader has been positioned to create these types of fellowship opportunities.

God’s Way of Saving Us

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Many have been led to believe that they are saved “by faith”. As we can clearly see, we are saved “by grace” – the unmerited gift or favor of God. Even the faith that lays hold of that grace is not of ourselves; it is a gift of God. The gift of faith – which comes by the spoken (rhema) word of God – enables us to appropriate the grace of God that saves us.

Furthermore, did you know that the effectual work of Christ’s death on the cross did not save us? Believe me, you are not alone in your objection. Take a survey. Ask your Christian friends, “What did Christ do to save you?” Most will say, “He died on the cross.”

The Bible has something different to say.

For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. Romans 5:6-11

Now, there is no question that Christ’s death was required and effectual. His death justified and reconciled us to God. But, “much more, we shall be saved by His life”. Salvation is accomplished by His life, not by His death. Furthermore, there is “much more” to the effectualness of His life. Let me say it a different way:

As much as our Savior’s death accomplished, His life shall accomplish much more!

One of the greatest deceptions in the American church is that a Christian can live out of Christ’s death. We have allowed ourselves to settle for a ticket to heaven, bought by His death. The tragic and sobering truth is that His death will not get us there. Nothing less than His life will save us.

Your Role as Leader

Presenting truth that challenges others can be intimidating. It does not have to be. When we realize that God’s thoughts and ways are above our own, we can humbly say, “It may not mean what I think it means, but it must mean something.” Leaders are not required to have all the answers, nor address every challenge. Our responsibility is to encourage others to search out the truth for themselves. The courageous leader will share the truth that makes men free (John 8:32).

God’s Way for Glorifying Himself

According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. Let me ask you, how do you glorify your Father in heaven? If you asked me, I would have to say, “Not as well as He glorifies Himself.” Makes sense, doesn’t it. No matter how hard we try; no matter how good we are at it; we cannot glorify God as well as He can glorify Himself.

Not surprisingly, that is exactly what He intends – to glorify Himself. He certainly involves His children; just not in the way we might expect. Let’s take a look at God’s way for glorifying Himself.

For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him.
Isaiah 64:4

Our God stands out from all other gods in one particular way: By acting for the one who waits on Him. Let that sink in. Instead of waiting on us to do something that will glorify Him, God is waiting on us to wait – so He can act for us. Have you ever considered that the best way to glorify God is to wait for Him?

For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. 2Chronicles 16:9

The LORD is looking to show Himself strong; and He knows that we are the ones that need His help – not the other way around.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2Corinthians 3:5-6

We are in desperate need for God’s sufficiency; as Jesus pointed out:

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

It’s probably important to note here that the Greek word for “nothing” means… “nothing”. There is nothing we can do without the life of Christ. With Him, however, all things are possible.

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.  By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. John 15:7-8

The ways of God are higher than our own. They are better than our ways, and they stretch our imaginations. But, God would have us understand; so let’s look at one final clue to this mystery.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

First, it is important to note that this is a command of our King. Second, His command is not, “Go do good works that will glorify God”. God will glorify Himself. The command for us is to “let your light so shine before men…” What is this light?

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. John 1:4

The light of men is the life of Christ. This is the image Peter, James and John saw on the Mount of Transfiguration. That image was the life in Him, the glory of His Father. It will be the same with us.

Your Role as Leader

As Workplace Leaders, we have been created to walk in the good works of God. They are His works; works that will bring Him glory. Our participation requires us to wait, abide, be transformed, ask and walk. In this way, our God will be glorified.

Closing Thoughts

The thought of being used by God to lead others can be overwhelming. It is very important at this point to recognize that God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; that no flesh should glory in His presence (1Corinthians 1:26-29). He will be our sufficiency. He will be glorified in the work. We will enjoy His presence.

Assignment

  1. Review the Bible passages for this week. Share at least one of these “ways” with someone in your spheres of influence.
  2. Are there other ways of God that relate to Workplace Ministry Leadership? Share these with the group.

Humbly Yours and Forever His,