What you need to know before you get spiritual on your coworkers
I was out of the workforce for many years as I stayed home with two children. Their young hearts genuinely wanted to know Jesus more, and I loved getting to feed their curiosity.
But as they got a little older, my husband and I sensed the Lord bringing my season as a stay-at-home mom to an end. I stepped back into a work environment where people did not know Jesus, and quite frankly, didn't care to know about Him.
I found myself in a conundrum. How do you tell people, "God's got you," when they feel like God has let them down over and over? What do you say to someone who is repeating the same mistakes but doesn’t believe in sin? Do you tell people you’re a Christian when their experience of Jesus has been people who are judgmental, quick to preach, and slow to accept?
As I find myself surrounded by people who don't know Jesus for the first time, I’m learning there’s more to living out my faith than following “three easy steps to lead your co-workers to Christ.”
The journey has been eye-opening, and I’m still learning a lot. But there a few things Jesus is showing me that might help you, too.
What Your Coworkers Really Need From You
1. Pray for your sanctification, not just their salvation.
We need supernatural help if we want to see a supernatural change take place. Prayer is how we ask God for help, and it’s how we align our hearts with His.
Eventually, I realized I needed to be asking Jesus for more than their salvation. I needed Him to govern my actions, reactions, words, attitude, and interactions.
I want to be quick to say, "I'm sorry." I want my interactions and reactions to somehow, some way be a good reflection of Jesus. I want to be all those things I’m not on my own.
One of the best prayers we pray for our workplaces is, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24).
2. Be honest about your own shortcomings, doubts, and struggles.
You’re not letting Jesus down by being honest about not knowing everything. Jesus’ closest friends didn’t understand the kind of kingdom He was building (John 13:7). The Lord can handle our questions, and when we admit that we have questions, we make it OK for others to ask questions, too.
Too many people believe the lie that they have to clean up or understand everything before they can believe. But when we show how messy and imperfect we are, it speaks to their hearts and says, "God can reach me, too."
3. Work hard.
I know that seems a little odd. But when I have tried to go beyond what’s required to help others, they have a hard time knowing how to respond.
Working hard and helping others is selfless (Matthew 5:40-41). In a naturally selfish world, doing more than our part is a striking way to show other people we’re for them.
I have tried to make a point of asking others what I can do to help them. It’s awkward at first, but eventually, their suspicions die down as they learn we don't want anything in return. We just want to help. And over time, we earn their trust.
4. Listen — even to the messy stuff.
If we want to show people who Jesus is, we have to be willing to meet them where they are. And sometimes, that means listening to a lot of stories of sinful acts without butting in (James 1:19 and Proverbs 18:13). I was, and still am, torn about this sometimes.
Don't I need to preach Jesus to them?
Is listening enough?
Bravery and boldness are things that we are to humbly ask God for when it comes to sharing our faith with others. He’ll tell you when to speak and when to listen. And if you listen long enough, people will ask you what you think. It takes true humility not to portray that you are better, but to focus instead on how much the grace of God has changed you.
Jesus modeled great humility and grace with us. In the greatest act of humility and grace, Jesus died in our place.
5. Remember, people are not projects.
Psalm 5:7 talks of God's steadfast love. One way we make Jesus known to our coworkers is by imitating His steadfast love. Love them no matter what. Whether they give their heart to Jesus or not.
One day, your steadfast love might draw their hearts to God. This was Paul’s goal with the cities and churches he visited:
"And I, when I came to you brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Ultimately, only God knows whether your coworkers will come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Salvation is God’s job. Following His lead is our job.
God says in Isaiah 55:11, "... so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent." God's Word does not return empty. That means that every Holy Spirit-filled word you speak and action you take will accomplish what God designed it to do.
So let's be full of prayer. Let's be authentic, work hard, and be bold. And let’s believe in God's promises the whole way through.