A Christian’s Work Ethic
You have commanded us to keep Your precepts diligently. Ps. 119:4
According to Merriam Webster’s dictionary, ethics are “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally good and bad.”
Christianity offers the foundation of ethics. By becoming familiar with the Bible and what the world teaches as ethics – you’ll find that even the world borrows ground from what God has established. The teachings of morality, were God’s idea. The differences between good and evil are defined and given meaning in the Bible. Justice, honesty, wisdom, prudence, diligence, integrity, moral conduct, fair dealings, laboring with good work, respecting superiors, structure of rank and leadership, restraint in conduct, etc. – all of these attributes defining an excellent workman are based in God’s moral law and the bedrock of Christianity.
The work place is a Christian’s daily boot-camp for being renewed in the mind of Christ and having to apply Christian ethics. Looking at the reality of some job situations, what can stretch our fortitude? Real dilemmas, difficult co-workers, stressful encounters with the public, personal mistakes, frustrations of “red tape,” low wages for work performed, unjust misunderstandings, management breakdowns, lack of support, having to work with people that don’t have good ethics, fielding complaints, fixing other people’s mistakes, having to do the “dirty work” – the list goes on. The common response to the on-going of such challenges is demoralization, an apathetic attitude, bitterness, giving up, finding relief in “drinking it off,” a belligerent, complaining spirit and a “me” attitude. This is consistent with 2 Timothy 3:1-5 concerning the last days: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
God’s standard of ethics are much higher, tried and successful than what the world tries to enforce. As Christians, our lives are to be ruled by Christ’s Holy Spirit. We are not alone in our efforts, though surrounded by a sea of people that don’t usually share our same high standards. It’s not because we’re “super humans” or can achieve this in our own effort. Our ability to work with Christ’s ethics is because He enables us through His Spirit to achieve His standard and to even strengthen our areas of weakness. “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” Eph. 2:20
The Christian should be a “stand out,” a gleaming bright light providing an example of Christ by the way we work and conduct day-to-day business. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matt. 5:16
When governed by Christ, we make the best workmen, provide the highest standards of ethics and give the most diligent effort in whatever task presented—because we reflect Christ’s life in application, not just profess it.
The Bible’s Code of Ethics
Here’s a few characters traits that are the definition of a Christian’s ethics according to God’s word:
Hard Working: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…” Ec. 9:10
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” Col. 3: 23-24
“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.” Prov. 10:16
Diligent: Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. Prov. 22: 29
“The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.” Prov. 12: 24
Just in Business/Wages: “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is his delight.” Prov. 11:1
“Moreover they reckoned not with the men, into whose hand they delivered the money to be bestowed on workmen: for they dealt faithfully.” 2 Kings 12:15
Not a Man Pleaser: “But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.” James 2:9
“But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.” Col. 3:25
“For there is no respect of persons with God.” Rom. 2:11
Thankful: “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18
Prudent: “Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.” Is. 52:13
“Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.” Prov. 13:16
Honoring: “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” 1 Peter 2:17
Teachable: “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.” Prov. 13:18
“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” Prov. 9:9
“Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.” Prov. 8:33
Circumspect: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28
Upright: “He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.” Ps. 15:2
Discrete in Conduct: “The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.” Prov. 19:11
“I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way…” Ps. 101:2
Careful in Speech: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Col. 4:6
“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works…sound speech that cannot be condemned.” Titus 2:7
“The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things.” Ps. 12:3
“Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.” Ps. 34:13
“The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” Prov. 10:32
“Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath…if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.” James 1:19, 26
Blameless: “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:7-8
Meek: “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” Titus 3:2
Humble: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.” Prov. 22:4
“Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.” Prov. 18:12
Wise: “A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” Prov. 14:16
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Prov. 13:20
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
Faithful: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man's, who shall give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-12
“Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” 1 Cor. 4:2
Equipped by God for the Task: “And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, see, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee.” Ex. 31:1-6
“As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Dan. 1:17
“Behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart, so that there has not been anyone like you before you, nor shall any like you arise after you.” 1 Kings 3:12
“ For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10
Do We Measure Up?
We all fall short of God’s glory (Rom. 3:23). Each one of us in day-to-day serving the Lord do not measure up completely to Christ. Yet, it’s not an excuse for us to stop allowing the Lord to grow us and stretch us in new ways. Our job is not eternal (we will not always have the same physical job), but the character we build, the works we perform and how we do them do have far reaching, if not eternal value. Our co-workers need to know we are Christians by our code of actions. They need to know we are different by the way we work. Anyone should be able to define what is most important in our lives is Christ by our actions. There should be evidence that we are for God’s ways that end up being for the very good of our employers. Like Joseph in the Bible, we too can have the favor of unrighteous men in our servitude when we serve them as unto Christ. God can help us to do this. It’s not forgotten. Scripture tells us that God is not unjust to forget our labor. He also tells us that He preordained the works that we need to accomplish in our life time. He makes a stream in the desert (Is. 35:6), even if it seems we are stuck off in a desert alone sometimes, trying to survive and get to a fruitful plain. By living for Christ behind our computer screen or the controls on an excavator or wiping little dirty faces of children, we can trust that we are doing Christ’s work today.
Stay encouraged. Stay in the Word. Stay singing His praises. Stay faithful. Stay in prayer. And allow God to work out all the other details—He is faithful!
“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” He. 6:10
“Nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” 2 Tim. 1:12
The Christian Equestrian’s Path to Authenticity
“He will bring me forth to the light, and I shall behold His righteousness.” Micah 7: 9
Today our four legged friend, the horse, has become a form of entertainment, recreation and therapy generating a 112 billion dollar industry in
Romans 1:22-23 tells us that a spiritual imbalance and tendency toward idolatry can be expected on earth, “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”
Though it may be touted that our era is an “enlightened age”, the Bible tells us that those who embrace in doctrines contrary to scripture are living in darkness and are devoid of the only source of Light –the Triune God of Christianity. “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:5-7).
The Lord further directs Christians to disassociate ourselves from and reprove the works of darkness2 bringing every thought into harmony in obedience with Christ.
"Casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5).
Photo by Mary Holt
Choosing Joy in Singleness
Originally Written in 2010 for a Women's Newsletter
Rebekah L. Holt
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11
Many of us can get pretty discouraged when we focus on being single. We wonder:
- What is wrong with me?
- Why has marriage not happened?
- Am I too picky?
- Are there ANY righteous men out there?
- Am I not attractive enough?
- What am I to do with life?
- How can I survive another year or 5 years or 10 years like this????
Some of us can identify with these questions or have heard them expressed by other young women rowing along in the same boat of being unmarried. This burden of being unwedded really does—at times—lurch large and is an agonizing dread to consider going through life carrying.
I too have had my bouts of great fears of being a stale, leftover old maid ...to not have someone to fix meals for, or iron clothes for or to pick up the dirty socks after... to not have the pitter-patter sounds of bare little feet running through the house. All my life, I have been prepared to be an excellent wife and mother, seeking the Lord as the center of my life, obtaining practical life skills, investing in resources, collecting tools for the future, being thought "strange" for desiring this high, Biblical calling of "wife, mother, homemaker, homeschooler, etc." over a sparkling career. And now, like many other young women in the Christian sphere, I have to WAIT on the Lord and completely thrust every desire, every concern and every fear at the Feet of the One Who only can make anything happen.
Those who wait on the Lord, He does renew their strength (Isaiah 40:31). At the very worst moments of my past grief or discontent over my circumstances or even those of others, who's stories caused me great fingernail biting anxiety, the Lord rushed in and revealed some priceless, very timely truths that He offers us all—promises so specific, so tender, so close to heart to many a "damsel in distress:"
- Jesus Christ is our Knightly King on a White Horse. He will return to claim His "bride" on a white horse—overcoming all obstacles—victorious! (Read Revelations 6 & 19)
- Jesus Christ is our Protector and Champion. He laid down His very life for us that we might live with Him in eternity and He continues to protect us from the wiles of the devil. (1 John 3:16; Revelation 5: 8-10; Nahum 1:7; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:11)
- Jesus Christ offers us a Gown of White, that we might be beautifully adorned, reflect His purity and be His bride. (Revelation 7:9; 21:9)
- Jesus Christ offers us a New Name. Thus our name will change. (Isaiah 62; Revelation 2:17; 3:12)
- Jesus Christ invites us to a Marriage Feast where we will celebrate in the union and no more sorrow. (Matthew 22; Revelation 21:4)
- Jesus Christ is building us a Mansion custom built to meet our needs, far more glorious than we can imagine. We are promised a home of our own and it is prepared by the very nail scared Hands of the Creator of the boundlessly beautiful universe! (John 14:2-3)
Now this is just a sampling of the promises that Christ's peculiar treasures have in store for them. Perhaps I was just "slow" to see the correlation. I had always thought how "unrealistic" or "silly" it was for girls/women to have this "knight on a white horse/Prince Charming" viewpoint of the man in their life and yet, we do find that Jesus Christ comes to claim His "bride" on a white charger! I smiled despite myself! Here I began to see these promises were so specific to what so many women express anxiety over never obtaining in life. I stood in awe, once again, over the sovereignty of our Lord Jesus and how He overlooks nothing of meaning! He has never missed a detail and regardless of what we experience or are denied in this short, vapor of earthly life—we have the most complete, secure promises of receiving the finest of everything in our eternal, blissful life with Jesus Christ.
I discovered a very timely message from Elisabeth Elliot on one of her radio series, "The Principles of Joy"1. She shared a quote,
"Contentment requires humility, which requires a willingness to receive what He gives, to relinquish what He takes, to suffer what He sends, and to do what He says."
By applying this Biblical viewpoint everyday, I found greater, unadulterated peace in my day to day. I started to count the blessings where I originally only saw sorrow. I began to see all the many beautiful Fingerprints of my Savior in my circumstances where I originally wondered fretfully, "Where is God's Hand in this?" By completely relinquishing "my rights, my desires" at His feet, my eyes were further opened to see His orchestration of my life in the past, how He has strategically moved me within His will for my betterment and His glory. Yes, I even saw how the "blessings denied" were "blessings received" of the Lord's protecting me from what was not His best! Such revelations have been like a sunrise for the soul!
"For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him. For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?" 2 Samuel 22:30-32
Many young women have expressed apprehension of feeling this terrible longing, aching of heart and lonely emptiness for years and years and years—like having a heart wasting disease or being living martyrs just succumbing to a miserable life. We have heard of women well in the later years remaining single and we ask in gasping fear—"How can I LIVE like this for another 15 or 20 years?" At the moment, YES, the reality is rather foreboding, however, we must again remember the attributes of God. We must take every thought captive and cast it at the feet of Jesus.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5
We must allow and want our minds to be continually renewed, our hearts recreated and our joy restored (Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:10; Psalm 51:12). It is a choice we have to make for ourselves. (Isaiah 7:15; Proverbs 1:29)
Can we trust God? Can we have faith that He knows what He is doing with our lives? We must chose to believe that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is capable of being true to His Word of being all knowing, all wise, all powerful and all creative. To doubt this would be as calling God a liar, which He is incapable of (Hebrews 6:10-20; 2 Timothy 2:12-13). If we are truly submitting ourselves to the God of the Bible, we will understand and recognize that we serve a God that is not the God of shattered or empty vessels—instead He is a God of a chosen generation, a peculiar set apart treasure! He is not going to leave us empty. No, our Lord desires to heal and fill our lives to full and overflowing abundance—that we may be whole and others may be completed in Christ by coming into contact with our redeemed lives.
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." Colossians 2: 9-10
"He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
"But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:18-19
What is important for every Christian is to accept that God is enough to meet our needs. We can verbalize this—yet it must be ours. We each have to individually apply this to our lives. In many ways, if we cannot learn to accept God's will for our lives today without the blessings we desire, then any desire, whether husband or home or children, etc., will likewise prove to be unsatisfying and a disappointment when they too present struggles, unknowns or stretching circumstances. One way or another, God is going to have us learn to trust Him and it will be easier to learn our lessons of trust and contentment now than when our lives are more complex later. Now, this does not means we no longer desire for being a wife or mother (or whatever), however, we accept God's will—and rest in His will—for today and live as if today is all we ever have.
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him..." Psalm 37:7a
We are not given tomorrow yet—but today. We do not have to grope in fear of the future—it is safe in God's Hand (Isaiah 41:10). If we can trust Jesus Christ to atone our sin and to grant us eternal salvation from eternal damnation (John 3:16), then we likewise should be able to trust Him with our temporal lives, our heart's desires, frightening or bleak circumstances, baffling questions, etc. Nothing is too great or too small for His ability to work on our behalf.
"Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee." Jeremiah 32:17
There may be a weeping in the night, but there is joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5). Hold on to His promises, saturate yourself in the scriptures, pray unceasingly at His feet—and when all this is done, then stand fast and wait on the Lord (Ephesians 6:13; Isaiah 40:31; Psalm 37:7). Unless God is enough in our lives—what He gives, what He takes, what He sends, what He says to do—then NOTHING will satisfy us and we will rob ourselves of perceiving the blessings He has for us to experience today.
"For he saith ...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." 1 Corinthians 6:2
Remember in His presence there is fullness of Joy—and it is real! Go partake, be satisfied and Live (Hebrews 3:14; Psalm 17:15; 22:26; 36:8)!
"I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalm 27:13-14
"The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow. And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy. And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD..." Jeremiah 31: 3, 9, 12-14,16-17a
1. I HIGHLY recommend this series, though I have found that "Gateway To Joy" is no longer available for sale except through used copies on online auctions. Visit www.elisabethelliot.org for other resources by Elisabeth Elliot.