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In Colossians 3:1-17, the Apostle Paul offers up these Rules for Holy Living. As we read them, we are reminded that, as Christians, we are chosen and assigned by God to our places and positions of work. These scriptures offer a roadmap to getting along with our cohort’s, who are also divinely-assigned, and to thriving in our careers God’s way:
"Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things . . .
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
Unity is important to God. In order to achieve it in a work environment, we must work out issues that arise with others through forgiveness, truth and love. Simultaneously, we must overcome our own fears, insecurities and baggage and lean into God to remove the obstacles that are out of our control. Our attitudes and commitment to God’s ways, along with the levels of dysfunction within us, others and the organization, can determine how hard and how long our journey will be.
When God assigns us to usher new order and breakthrough into a work environment, our roles will require fortitude and perseverance. Oftentimes, this feels like anything but God’s way.
But if we commit ourselves to remaining in our divinely-assigned role, moving forward in God’s purposes, we will witness Him break obstacles and make a way to unity (God’s finest), which can involve changing people's hearts and attitudes, promoting people or reassigning those who are not willing to cooperate.
Therefore, unity is often a process. And in this process, God forges us, our co-workers, our leaders and our organizations often through the heat of pressure. The reason He has us in this vice is because He's trying to teach us, purify us and position us for promotion. But are we willing to be teachable? Are we willing to die to the limitation of self-centeredness?
I love the NIV note for verse 15, which tells us the peace that only Christ can give us is to prevail in all human relationships, like an umpire over an attitude of bitterness and quarrelsomeness. Where there is disunity, there is disconnection, fragmentation, a loss of synergy, of power. It is a place where the enemy thrives to hinder the plans of God.
The path to unity is through repentance, forgiveness, cooperation and a commitment to process God’s way through the circumstances that surround us by His leading, no matter what.