What does it mean to work for God?
1. Colossians 3:23-25 "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. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality."
Whatever your job is, whether it is the CEO or the janitor, you are to work as if you are working for God with all your heart. We all face difficult people and sometimes have to work for an evil-spirited boss or work with a mean co-worker. While we can't change someone else, nor can we control how someone else treats us, we can control ourselves. We can control our actions, words, attitude, and thoughts with God's help. Yes, sometimes we may fail miserably in this area and let our emotions control us, but we are not left alone to our own weakness. God knows our weaknesses and knows what areas we struggle with. We need to seek God's help and ask Him to give us strength where we are weak, to give us the self-control to be master over our emotions, and to give us a heart of love towards others. God keeps His promise of helping us in our times of need. Now, this is not a "Jesus take the wheel" situation where you ask God to help you but put zero effort into being transformed by the Holy Spirit. You have to work each day to make the right decision and respond the correct way, listening and obeying the Holy Spirit's guidance and accepting God's help. We need to work with our focus being on God, knowing that what treasures we store up in heaven far exceed the temporary treasures we gain in this world. Always remember, you are a witness of Christ and what He has done! People do watch you, are you living the life of a person who has been set free from the bonds of sin and transformed by Jesus' blood being adopted as a child of God?
2. Philippians 2:12-16 "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain."
How we act, think, and talk around others matters but even more importantly, how we act, think, and live when we think no one is around or when we are by ourselves, reveals our real character. If we are doing good works at church or in the community but then coming home complaining, gossiping, or not living in a Christian manner, then what does that say about our character? We cannot serve two masters, either we serve God with all our heart, strength, mind, and soul, or we serve the world. Doing good with selfish intentions or misguided motivation defeats the whole purpose of good deeds. God knows our heart, He sees what we desire, think, feel, and say. Make sure you are working with the right intention and motivation both around others and when we are alone.
3. Ephesians 2:8-10 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Good works, no matter how good or how much, will never save you. We are to work for God but that is an action we do after we are saved, it is not the method by which we become saved. Even on our best day, we are not good enough for heaven. Think about it, heaven is a perfect, holy, pure, righteous place filled with God's light, love, and glory. No sin is able to be in heaven, not one. When we sin, it stains us, it is not a washable marker that we wipe away by doing something good. It is a stain that remains set deep in the threads of our soul. The only stain remover that is able to permanently remove that wretched blot is the blood of a pure, holy, sinless God. It is with Jesus' blood that we are able to be washed and cleansed from our dirty sin. By accepting Jesus' authority, death, burial, and resurrection we submerge ourselves in His blood and come up a new person in Christ. That is why baptism is essential in expressing our salvation, it does not save you to be baptized but it demonstrates outwardly, physically, and publicly the glorious and miraculously gift that has been received in your life.
4. 1 Corinthians 3:7-15 "So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire."
Good works are not a boosting or prideful show but a humble and servanthood action. Not a single person can save another human, only Jesus saves. However, we can plant the seeds of salvation into the heart and mind of someone. This is the best work we can do because it may lead to a soul being saved from hell!
5. Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." & Hebrews 6:9-12 "But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises."
Some work may be hard, tiring, or seem impossible, but we know that "with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). Our work may not get appreciated, recognized, or accepted, but God is watching and He sees everything you are doing. Remember that God has your best interest at heart. He knows every detail about you, the number of days you will live, and has prepared a purpose for your life on this earth. We work for God to bring Him glory and honor, to advance the kingdom, and to help others. God sees your pain, sorrow, loneliness, exhaustion, heart-ache, struggles, and intentions and He will reward those who are faithful until the end. He has promised that while we are on this earth, He will comfort us, help us, never leave us, and care for us. You are not working alone, He is right beside you all the way. You are not unnoticed or forgotten, He sees you and hears you. You are accepted by your Creator and you are greatly loved and adored by your Savior! You are His beloved!