Working in a secular work environment means you work alongside with coworkers who don’t worship God and stay on their sinful, worldly paths. I’ve felt led to write an article on this topic because for the past year, I’ve been working in a secular workplace. Although I’ve noticed very, very few coworkers who are believers living righteously (myself included), the majority of them are still in the world. This made me feel alone and isolated for a while, especially when I first started there. I noticed that I was naturally more optimistic and agreeable than most of my coworkers because I worship God. In no way am I stating that I’m better than them–because I still sin every day, just like they do–I’m just on a different path.
I would wonder why God put me right here in this place. To plant seeds of salvation? To show mercy? To intercede for someone? Whatever the reason may be, I trust that God is working His purpose through me.
So if you’re feeling like God has purposely put you in a certain secular work environment, here are some ways to survive and glorify God at work.
Pray before you clock in…If you’re in a secular workplace, it’s important to stay covered in prayer. Pray for patience, peace, and that He is present in the workplace. Pray that He works through you when interacting with your work family and customers. I always talk with God right before I even leave home and go to work. I pray for God to be with me as I work. I ask Him to be my patience, my joy, and my peace no matter what unfolds during the day. I also ask God to help me overcome any challenges that arise in a Godly manner. I also pray for strength and courage because my job can be hectic!!
Pray for your boss/supervisor. Now, I know this may not be the funnest thing to do if you dislike your boss. Remember our leaders are people and they need prayer too! Asking God to forgive them is a great way to start! Ask God to soften your boss’s heart and that He will give them patience.
Stay obedient to your boss…even if they are harsh and unreasonable. This sounds super strange…yes! But as servants of God, we must work for others as though we are working for Him. This is pleasing in God’s eyes and He will reward us for doing so (1 Peter 2:18-19).
Pray for your work family because you never know what they may be going though (if they’re going through something). As often as you may talk to them, they may not let you in on their personal lives. So if God leads you to pray for them–whether you’re with them or alone–do it (because He knows what is going on in their lives). He may be telling you to intercede on their behalf. Pray for their salvation! Especially if you know that they’re living in sin. Pray for God to open their hearts to receive the Good News. This brings me to my next tip.
Don’t be afraid to talk about Jesus in front of others. Don’t even be afraid of saying His name! Even if someone asks, “how are you?” You may say something like, “blessed…God is good!” If they ask how you’re so positive and joyful all the time, tell them it’s because of Jesus. He is the source of your joy and strength. I know evangelizing at work is scary. You may be afraid of other people’s reactions. But when faith naturally slides its way into general conversation, you never know when God is using you to plant a seed of salvation in someone else. I know I get a lot of strange looks and reactions when I randomly say something positive to my co workers! Something that I also do is tell my work family that I have a Christian lifestyle blog for women. That way, they get a general sense of who I am and what I stand for. 🙂
Talk to God during your entire shift. He is with you constantly throughout the day and genuinely cares about your job and your performance. Pray even when your boss is being unreasonable. I know sometimes we just wanna talk back to them and shout at them, but then remember we have bills to pay and a stomach to fill! But when our boss is rubbing us like sandpaper, it’s not the time to get loud. It’s a time to pray and ask God for patience and forgiveness. (Hey, being in such an environment may help build self-control!). This is tough to do, but pray for the strength to deal with your boss calmly and gently. (Proverbs 15:1)
Encourage your work family. There are so many ways to do this. Someone may express that they are having a “bad day” and did not feel like getting out of bed that morning. You can encourage them by saying something like, “God doesn’t create ‘bad days'” or “it’s just a blessing to be alive.” They may look at you strange, divert the topic, or they may just become silent. Don’t ever feel bad for making unbelievers uncomfortable when you talk about Jesus. As firm believers, this will happen often! But it’s a good thing because you are showing them a better way and they may not even realize it. It’s good for others to feel convicted sovereign they can be led to God. You may think that God is unhappy with you for not making an impact right away. That’s not true! God is pleased when you make even the smallest effort! What doesn’t please God is when you refuse to open your mouth to tell the other person about Him.
Your fellow workers may not even be having a rough day. They could be talking to you about their future goals but may sound indecisive. This is a good moment to tell them that God has given them a gift to bless the world. Let them know that God will take their passions, interests, and abilities and combine it to create their calling. Pray that God reveals their passions and their calling and that they be led to fulfill it.
Do not conform to their secular ways! Instead, continue to let your light shine before others. Act in such a Godly way that makes others notice and keeps them wondering why. In a secular workplace, people around you will notice how different your words and actions are compared to what they normally see. They notice the way you treat your boss, other workers, and customers. Maybe they notice the fact that you don’t cuss or lose patience with difficult people. You may be the only one who always sees the beauty in every situation while others only see the ugly. Maybe you tell them that you enjoy going to church every Sunday. What if you’re the person who gives lots of encouragement every day? Keep them guessing and wondering why so that when they finally ask you, you’ll be ready to give them your answer (1 Peter 3:15). Stay in God’s word and talk with Him constantly to stay filled with His character.
Invite someone to your church or Bible study. After making a connection with some of your coworkers, you may feel led to invite them to go to church with you. I just want to tell you that if God is telling you to invite any of your fellow workers to church–regardless of how long you’ve known them–by all means, do it! Going to church or a small group study may give them the blessing they are praying for.
Whip out the Word of God on your break. You may be having a hectic day and need to refuel with Jesus. Make your break a prayer/worship break! This is a great time to read scripture on your smartphone or in a small compact bible. If you need to, take the time to listen to your worship playlist. Ask God to give you strength to get through the rest of your day.
Hebrews 12:14–“Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.“
Romans 12:2, 9-15–“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” “Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.
Colossians 3:17–“And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.“
Ephesians 6:5-8–“Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. As slaves of Christ, do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will reward each one of us for the good we do, whether we are slaves or free.“
1 Peter 2:18-19--“ You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment.“
1 John 4:8–“But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love“
One final thing that God wants me to add: God places us in dark places so we can be His light. We cannot grow if we are comfortable all the time. We cannot see the power of God if our circumstance is always perfect. Remember that Jesus was often put into dark, corrupt areas so He can save the lost. Mind you, the world was always a corrupt place clothed in lost souls. Perhaps He wants to work through you to sew a seed in the workplace.