All of us have seasons where, if we are being completely honest with ourselves, we don't rely on God's strength, but our own. And it can be very difficult to look in the mirror and know that I could have handled things at work in a much better way than I did when I dealt with a difficult situation.
Isaiah 30 reminds us of a season where Israel refused to do what they knew was best and turned away from God's ways. And the verse which always jumps out at me to redirect me back to God is this one:
“You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you were not willing." (Isaiah 30:15 CSB)
Most often, the first line is what is quoted or seen on social media posts, but it's the second bolded line which shows the heart of the matter. Unwillingness is a symptom of rebellion, which humanity has been struggling with since the fall in Eden. And I don't think it started out with an all-in-one full turn away, but with a buildup of moments that kept them moving further from God with each failure to ask for His help.
There are five things which I believe can help us turn things around so our faith in action can remain on course in the workplace.
"Let them [the repentant] come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness." (Isaiah 55:7 MSG)
1. REPENT - when we feel regret over our rebellious attitude or wrong doing, by bringing them in prayer to God with genuine sorrow, this is true repentance. When we repent, God is faithful to forgive us, and restore us.
"If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God." (Matthew 5:23-24 MSG)
2. RESTORE - when we have wronged someone we work with, it causes a separation between us, whether we sense it or not. Especially when we are business owners, store managers or team leads. When we have hurt a coworker's feelings or added to their stress when we didn't need to, we need to apologize to them by revealing we now know we handled things in the wrong way and ask their forgiveness. God requires us to humble ourselves to ask, and even if they do not forgive us, they will know you have admitted you were "in the wrong."
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.." (1 John 1:9 ESV)
3. RETURN - Now that we have asked both God and the person we wronged for forgiveness, we are able to return to our walk of faith with a clear conscience and a clean slate with God.
"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
4. REST - Now that we have turned towards God, asked for restoration of relationship with both Him and the person we hurt, we can rest afresh in His care for us. Bringing every concern to God before we act helps us to demonstrate His ways as we follow His lead.
"But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." (John 14:26 NIV)
5. REMEMBER - last but not least, we can take these teachable moments from our past and remember them, asking God to remind us of His faithfulness, strength and care for us when we are having a rough day or facing a hard situation. The Holy Spirit will remind us what we need in our moments of need, so we keep focused on maintaining our relationships His way.
We are all invited to remain in Him, as part of His flock:
"Remain in Me, as I remain in you. Just as a branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in Me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without Me you can do nothing." (John 15:4-9)
TAKING THIS TO GOD IN PRAYER
God, Your Words are sharper than a double edged sword and get straight to the heart of a matter when we invite You into it. In this case, my tendency to stray instead of remaining in You. I am sorry for the fallout in our relationship and those in my workplace when I respond without first asking for Your wisdom, guidance and discernment. I repent, and ask Your forgiveness. Restore me as only You can. Renew my spirit to seek You first. Rekindle the fire within me for Your Word, and to follow Your ways. Bring to mind the Words I need when I am in need of help, Holy Spirit. Thank You that You are always part of me, and willing to help me at any time and in every situation. In Jesus's Name, I pray. Amen.
May we be reassured by Your presence as we walk into our workplaces, knowing You are with us, strengthening us in Your power, and calming our emotions with Your love.
Karla, Christian Women at Work