God at the Office

by | May 4, 2011 | SpiritLed Living

Working Woman

Christ is marshaling an army of professional women to advance His kingdom in the corporate world.

 Someone
once said, “People of vision see the invisible, hear the inaudible,
think the unthinkable, believe the incredible and do the impossible.” No
one better exemplifies this adage than Christian women in the
marketplace.

These visionary
women are discovering their call from God to affect every arena of
life. They are setting high standards of integrity and morality in their
places of work. They are using their spiritual gifts and anointing,
which have traditionally found expression only within the walls of a
church, to bring success and favor in the secular world.

For
women to succeed in this arena they must be willing to give up their
old mind-sets. Hanging on to the old will keep them from the success and
purposes God has for their lives.

What
does this mean? If we aspire to be fruitful for God’s kingdom in the
marketplace, we must begin by exchanging our congregational mind-set for
a biblical worldview.

For
too long, Greek thinking has influenced Christians. Historically, the
Greeks possessed a worldview that divided the spiritual realm from the
created realm. This view of reality saw church—that is, one’s faith—as
separated from life and work.

Writings
from Plato, the famous Greek philosopher, teach that the created world
around us is not the “real” world. The real (ideal) world is in the
eternal and is detached from the temporal. This real world can be known
only through concepts and perhaps only after death.

Contrasted
to this Greek thinking is a Hebrew, or biblical, worldview. Hebrew
tradition based upon the Word of God holds to the truth that God is
everywhere. He is omnipresent and desires for us to come into
relationship with Him through His creation.

According
to this view, the spiritual or unseen realm is one with the created
realm. The spiritual realm does not exist in a separate or removed
dimension. Therefore, God is in union with all of life in creation.

The
Bible tells us that “[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the
firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created: things
in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers
or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Col.
1:15-17, NIV).

God did not
intend for us to inhabit the earth with a distinction between the
heavens and the earth, between divine things and natural things. All
things are to express and manifest the attributes, nature and power of
the Son of God.

THE HIGH CALLING OF WORK
Marketplace women are to manifest the image of the Lord in their places of business. Their work is a high and holy calling.

In fact, the word “work” in Hebrew means “worship.” Your work is to be an expression of worship to the Lord.

God’s
people have been assigned the task of being His stewards on the earth.
They are to represent Him by being His image bearers and tending the
earth as His representatives. Their job is to bring transformation
wherever God sends them.

When
marketplace women do this, God’s glory is released through them at
their places of work. “‘As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him
who sent Me,'” Jesus said (John 9:4).

I
remember growing up with a Greek mind-set, one which held that the only
“holy ground” was inside the church building. I had the idea that when I
left church, I was going into the devil’s territory.

And
the devil was big and bad! I needed to brace myself for an onslaught
from the enemy. The only safe place for me spiritually was inside the
church walls.

In our church
we read a Scripture that said, “Come out from them and be separate” (2
Cor. 6:17). Attempting to be obedient, we misapplied this verse to our
lives, abandoning our responsibility as Christians to impact the
government, the educational system, the financial institutions, the arts
and media. We did not understand that Christians are to bear the image
of God in our places of work. We did not understand that we are to
steward the earth and help bring transformation on the earth.

Thankfully,
God has opened our eyes, and today He is raising up powerful women in
the marketplace who have a biblical worldview. These women are using
their God-given gifts and abilities to demonstrate, not only for
Christians but also for the world, how good God is.

Diane DeJoy is one of them. She, like so many women today, is making a difference in the workplace.

She
knows she has a high call of God on her life. But her call is not to
preach from behind a pulpit. Her call is to implement kingdom principles
in her sphere of influence.

Fulfilling
it has not always been an easy task. Diane paid a great price to stand
for righteousness and integrity in the workplace.

While
working as a controller for a large corporation, she discovered that
someone had made false entries in the financial journals of the company.
Diane tried to deal with the situation but was told by the CFO that she
had to “cook the books.”

After
refusing to cooperate with the scheme, she was fired. As hard as it was
for Diane personally, the Lord strengthened her, and one day, her
supervisor at the company, the divisional vice president, came to her
with tears in his eyes. He had watched how she conducted herself at work
during that devastating time. Now he wanted her to know that her
example was instrumental in his receiving Jesus as his Savior.

Diane,
along with other professional women, is courageous in her calling. She
embraces a biblical worldview and understands that God can give her a
strategy for success in the place where she works.

Women
in the marketplace often contend with a number of difficulties. Some
face lack of promotion, sexual harassment or other challenges simply
because they are women. Yet these professionals are making godly
decisions as a result of their understanding of the call of God on their
lives.

WILLING TO TAKE RISKS
God
is also raising up women in the marketplace who are risk-takers. These
women are willing to step out of their comfort zones and do what few
women are willing to do.

My
friend Dr. Betsy Neuenschwander went through medical school when few
women were being educated to become doctors. To be accepted in her
field, she felt she had to work harder, make higher scores on her exams
and curry the favor of her professors.

But
Betsy did not allow those obstacles to stop her from pursuing her
career. She realized the Lord was preparing her to help transform
nations. She knew she had a God-given destiny to fulfill.

To
be a risk-taker, a woman must be willing to face the unknown. She has
to deal with the fears designed to hinder her from her destiny.

Fear was a major stronghold in my own life when I was young. Name a fear, I had it!

But
after I became an adult, I attended a meeting in which a woman spoke on
the fear of the Lord. She made a statement that changed my life
forever. “You will never walk in the fear of the Lord until you lose the
fear of man,” she declared.

At
that moment I realized for the first time in my life that I was
consumed by the fear of man. Revelation opened my heart to realize that I
had spent my life trying to please people more than trying to please
God.

Immediately, I fell on
my face and cried out to the Lord. “Forgive me,” I wept. “Help me to
want to please You more than I want to please people.”

Walking
out that commitment to the Lord has not been easy for me. In the early
days of fulfilling my call, it was difficult for me to speak to more
than three people at a time. I could not get a sound out of my mouth.

Clinging
to my commitment to the Lord, I would sense the gentle nudging of the
Holy Spirit: “Is this the fear of the Lord or the fear of man?” I had to
make a choice. “I choose the fear of the Lord,” I would reply.

I
had to run into my fear rather than running from my fear. I could not
reach my destiny and do what I am called to do if I still had fear in my
life.

Today, traveling to
the nations and often speaking to several thousand people, I never
experience fear. In fact, it is hard for me to remember I was fearful at
one time. I am one of the boldest women around!

God is faithful to deliver us from all our fears (see Ps. 34:4). He wants His women to be all He created them to be.

Often
women business owners and employees in the marketplace are fearful
about expressing their faith at work. They are not sure what they can
legally say and do.

Getting
legal counsel can help business owners remain safe. An article appeared
in Fortune Small Business magazine several months ago, in which Ellyn
Spragins described the “dos and don’ts” for business owners regarding
the application of their faith in the work environment:

“Civil
rights legislation bars employers from making any employment decision
based on religion, but it covers only firms with 15 or more employees.
Smaller companies are free to use religion as a reason to hire, fire, or
promote an employee—as long as they’re not located in a state whose
laws cover smaller businesses.…Smart business owners know the law and
find ways to make employees of all faiths—or none—feel welcome at their
companies.”

Women in the
marketplace are God’s instruments to capture the attention of those
around them and to demonstrate kingdom principles in their spheres of
influence. God wants the workplace to be a microcosm of His kingdom on
Earth. From that place, change can come to the rest of society.

It
is no longer enough just to plant churches. Humanity has a great need
for women to influence business, education, the arts, the media,
finances, the government and every other arena of society.

Women
in the marketplace have an opportunity today to be part of the solution
for the many problems found in society. With the help of the Lord, you
and I can make a difference.

I once read, “When your life is over, the world will ask you only one question: ‘Did you do what you were supposed to do?'”

In
whatever sphere of influence God is calling you to, you can make a
difference. You can “do the impossible” and help bring His kingdom to
Earth. So throw off your old mind-sets, cast off your fears and become a
risk-taker for Him.

Read a companion devotional.

Barbara Wentroble is the founder of International Breakthrough Ministries.

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