I have worked a very long time. I have had gainful employment for almost 50 years. I finally stopped working for a company in 2017. Over that period, I learned many things. One of the most important things that I learned is not everything you expect to happen, happens. You might say that this revelation isn’t something that would surprise you. The longer I worked, the longer I understood that no matter how hard you worked, no matter how hard you strived to learn all about your job, it wouldn’t matter. There were obvious reasons, but the most obvious is that people are different.
People can listen, they can view, and they can study the same things. They can also have the same opportunity to excel. But what almost always happens is that they respond so incredibly different. This is generally what happens to those who are promoted to a level of leadership. Now, I’m not making a global statement here regarding leaders. I am speaking on my experience in the workplace. How a leader responds to areas of enforcement, accountability, and team work is very important. Without consistency, there is chaos. Chaos is a killer to team work. In the work that I did, we called the differences “silos”. Working within a silo keeps the leader from learning anything except what they think is important. It’s a kinder way of saying, “My way or the highway!”
We have been studying for the past few weeks Gospel-Centered Living. In other words, living our lives in accordance with the Word of God. This week we discussed the question: “How do we please God?” Another way of saying this is what does it take to be right with God and be accepted by Him. It’s a big question when you think about it. But the book of Galatians, Chapter 2 gives us some basis to answering, “How do we please God.”
There are three areas of thought in answering our question.
- Legalism – (Galatians 2:1-10) Paul’s purpose in going was to see if the message he preached was consistent with what the other apostles, Peter, James, and John, were preaching. If his message was not consistent, then he knew that the fruit of his ministry was in jeopardy. Legalism is working in our own power, or according to our own rules. Legalism can be defined as right behavior with wrong belief. My work for the most part was defined in a standard of operation. Those standards were created by people and leader’s way before I was part of the organization. The standards were time tested. They worked if they were not compromised or changed. It leads to consistency across the board no matter who was doing the job.
- Hypocrisy – (Galatians 2:11-14) Hypocrisy is right belief with wrong behavior. Peter knew the Gospel, he believed the Gospel, but his life was not reflecting the Gospel. He knew that all men are accepted before God, regardless of whether they’re circumcised, Jew or Gentile, whether they eat this food or that food – he knew that they were all accepted before God. But Peter was not living what he believed. In my work, if I knew my responsibility in accordance with the standards of operation and chose not to work that way, it would be bad. I could be subject to suspension or worse, termination.
- Faith – (Galatians 2:15-21) A picture of faith is right belief with right behavior. True faith in Jesus Christ brings about a transformation in our lives. When I was able to find favor with my bosses and co-workers over the years, it was due to my understanding of the standards of operation and obedience to those standards 100% of the time. The way we live in Christ reflects the faith that we have. In other words, our life is a demonstration of Christ Alive in our lives.
Friends, what areas do you find yourself sliding into?
Sometimes we need to re-center our lives and look at the way we think in order to answer the question, “How do we please God?” My prayer for you this week is that you define your faith and that you find that you are Gospel-Centered. This is driven by Faith in God and in the truth of the Word of God. May God and the Holy Spirit direct your path.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6