7 Ways to Work as for the Lord

Colossians 3:23 tells us to “work as for the Lord”. But, what exactly does that mean? Let’s explore some ways we can put this into practice, according to the Scriptures.

7 ways to work as for the Lord

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Work, work, work… I think in modern society, we are plenty good at working! In fact, some of us might even call ourselves “workaholics”.

You know how it is… we derive so much of our identity from our careers, or raising kids, or whatever the case may be. And it becomes all too easy to chase after money, reputation, and other such things… or perhaps we simply work to live up to others’ expectations?

Yes, I’ve certainly been there! Have you?

I’ve worked hard(er) because I wanted to prove myself, make good money, and be “successful”. Or just because that’s what I thought I’m “supposed” to do as an adult. (Never mind that my “working” hasn’t really worked out all that well!)

But, the Bible tells us that as Christians, we are to work for a different reason… FOR THE LORD! My favorite work for the Lord verse in the Bible, is Colossians 3:23…

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Which sounds great, right? Work as for the Lord, and receive an inheritance. Woo-hoo! Or, as the Amplified (AMP) version puts it, “the inheritance which is your [greatest] reward”. That tells me that this inheritance is not just another perishable earthly reward—it’s a heavenly, eternal, beyond-our-imagination reward!

Which is wonderful! But of course, I do believe there are also ‘rewards’ to be gained in this life, too, as we work for God… such as seeing the fruits of our labor, the result of helping people, of putting others first, etc.

open Bible

What does it mean to work as for the Lord?

To put it in the simplest terms, working for the Lord is about honoring God. To work as for the Lord is to work according to His values (chief among them = LOVE). I mean, after all, if He is my top ‘boss’, then I should want to work in a way that pleases Him. Does that make sense?

Suddenly, things like honesty, diligence, and quality become WAY more important in terms of the work we do! Everything we do can work for the glory of God (translation: make God look good, which can in turn bring others to want to know Him!)

Think about this way: If you do good work, it makes you look good, but it also reflects well on your supervisor. And if you’re a poor employee? Well, that might give the impression that your supervisor didn’t train you well, or didn’t communicate company expectations very well, didn’t provide you with the time or resources you needed to get the job done, etc. (Of course, it doesn’t always shake out like that… sometimes it’s purely the employee’s fault… or the employee does a great job, but their manager is slacking off. But you get the idea!)

Likewise, how children behave does reflect good or bad on the parents. So, if God is your Heavenly Father, how does your work reflect on Him?

Bible journaling - work as for the Lord

7 Ways to Work as for the Lord

Now that we’ve established what it means to work as for the Lord, HOW do we actually go about doing that? What does it look like in real, everyday life?

Like an employee relying on your manager to train you well for the job, you need to rely on God’s teaching. So, let’s explore what the Bible says about how to work as for the Lord…

1) Commit your work to God, and depend on Him

Now, let’s get something straight here: You probably already know that none of this will be easy. You’ve probably, like me, experienced days where you feel crummy, you really want to cut corners, or maybe even do lousy work on purpose just because your manager is driving you bonkers (been there, done that).

But, God! Part of how God wants us to work, is by depending on Him for help. He knows the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11), and He alone directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9). So, the FIRST and foremost way we can work as for the Lord, is to simply commit our work to Him, and depend on Him throughout the process!

Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.

Psalm 37:5-6 (NIV)

But now, you might be asking “How do I dedicate work to God?”. Great question! Simply by
praying continually, entrusting your plans to Him, and seeking His guidance (and actually listening and being obedient), you can commit your endeavors to Him as Psalm 37:5 says.

Working in a way that honors God is not always easy for us, in our human weakness. But the more we depend on God, on His Word and prayer, the better workers we can become.

2) Work with love

These next three ways to work as for the Lord, are inspired by the first three fruits of the Spirit, starting with LOVE:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

And of course, it should go without saying, that LOVE is a major way we can do everything as if working for the Lord. Love leads us to be kind to our co-workers, be patient with customers, and generally do right by everyone. Even just producing a quality product and giving great customer service, because you know it will make your customers’ life that much easier, is an act of love.

3) Work with joy/cheerfully

The second fruit of the Spirit, joy, is also a great way to work as though you are working for the Lord! When we work cheerfully, without complaining, we give glory to God and spread love and light to those around us.

A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

This is the day that the LORD has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

Yes, I know, easier said than done (speaking from experience here!). It’s not easy to be cheerful on a bad day, or with a person who tries your patience, but that’s why we need to pray continually and lean on God for strength. Even just repeating a memorized Scripture verse like Psalm 118:24 above, can be a great help when you need that reminder to work joyfully!

working as for the Lord - laptop and coffee

4) Work peacefully

Moving onto the third fruit of the Spirit, which is PEACE! What a blessed (and sometimes rare) thing it is, to be a peacemaker in the workplace. Whatever we do, we should strive to maintain cordial and agreeable relationships with managers, coworkers, or just our own families. Being a peaceful person—slow to anger, quick to listen—is a great way to work for the glory of God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Matthew 5:9 (NIV)

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18 (NIV)

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 (NIV)

Sometimes, that might mean keeping our mouths shut, and responding with grace even when others speak unkindly towards us. Or maybe it looks like avoiding controversial topics that you know will push someone’s buttons and lead to an argument. It could also mean being flexible and willing to compromise, to reach a solution that benefits everyone involved.

5) Work diligently, with perseverance

Have you ever thought about HOW you do your work? Like, do you work diligently, and not constantly goof off (you know, checking Facebook, etc.)? And do you persevere through difficulties, rather than giving up as soon as things get hard? Displaying diligence and perseverance like this is a wonderful way to work as for the Lord.

After all, how inspiring is it to see someone else doing these things? I don’t know about you, but I find it encouraging and inspiring, and seeing them work with diligence makes me want to do that too. Not to mention, it tells me this person is making an effort to contribute, and that they care about the work they do.

wait patiently for the Lord - Psalm 37:7

6) Work with integrity

Dictionary.com defines integrity as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty”. So then, the question is, what does the Bible say about doing honest work? These verses explain why honesty is so important to work as for the Lord…

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 7:12 (NIV)

Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body.
Ephesians 4:25 (NIV)

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.
Ephesians 4:28 (ESV)

The LORD detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.

Proverbs 12:22 (NIV)

Better to be poor and honest
than to be dishonest and rich.

Proverbs 28:6 (NLT)

We are careful to be honorable before the Lord, but we also want everyone else to see that we are honorable.
2 Corinthians 8:21 (NLT)

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15 (NLT)

At the end of the day, working with integrity is just the right thing to do, to please God and do good to others. So, be honest and upright in all your dealings with people, the products you create, the money you handle, and so forth!

7) Share your faith

And lastly, to work for the glory of God, it’s important to share our faith whenever opportunities arise! This doesn’t mean shoving it down someone’s throat, or making them feel uncomfortable. It just means being authentic, and stating where our hope comes from.

I don’t know about you, but when I was a new believer, I mistakenly thought that “sharing” my faith was to “convert” or “convince” someone to become a Christian. But, I now realize that it’s not our job to convince or convict (leave that part to the Holy Spirit!)… but it IS our job to SHARE. And in sharing, caring, and modeling Christian faith to others, hopefully they will want to know more about Jesus!

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.
1 Peter 3:15-16 (NIV)

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.
Colossians 4:5-6 (NLT)

So, in summary, to work as for the Lord is really all about pleasing God and bringing Him glory! And, at the end of the day, it also goes a long way towards inviting others to know and experience Christ for themselves.

Like everything in Christian growth, learning to “work as for the Lord” is a work in progress! Each new day brings new opportunities to commit your plans, activities, and goals to God, and to work for His glory and for the good of others. I certainly don’t have it all figured out, but I’m committed to getting better, and I hope you are too!

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