Next to your home, your job is where you spend most of your time. And because you spend so much time there, it gives you a wonderful chance to make an impact on unbelievers.

But I also know how discouraging a bad boss or job situation can be. When I was in the secular workforce, there were several times when I thought, Could this really be God's will for me?

Today I want to look at four principles about work that emerge from 1 Peter 2:18-21. I believe if you make these principles part of your work ethic, it will change your job life forever.

1. Work hard and work well. The apostle Peter wrote, "Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear" (v. 18), meaning respect. Two thousand years ago in the Roman Empire, slaves were considered property and had no rights, and their masters had absolute authority over them. But Peter was saying, "Even though slavery is wrong, use it in such a way that it compels others to listen to your message." This means you should be the kind of worker any employer would want to hire and keep. Don't be bitter and negative; work hard and work well.

2. Life is a mix of good and bad; use both to advertise. "Be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh" (v. 18). You're going to have great jobs and great bosses; you're also going to have jobs and bosses that are harsh and distasteful. But at least you have a job and get a paycheck. For the believer, gratitude is the attitude that sets the altitude not just for living but for working as well.

3. Take God to work with you. "What credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God" (v. 20).

In other words, if you're a bad worker and you get punished for it, so what? But if you're punished for doing right, and you take it patiently and endure, God is really pleased with that. And how do you take it patiently and endure? You take God to work with you. As Ephesians 6 says, "Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people" (v. 7, NLT). Be the kind of worker whose eye is on the Lord, not on the clock.

4. God's plan isn't that you just show up to work, but that you grow up. "For to this you were called"--to be treated wrongfully and suffer for it--"because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps" (v. 21). Following a suffering Savior means that from time to time, you're going to be called to suffer. But suffering can be beneficial; it keeps you pure, humble, and dependent on the Lord. Some jobs aren't just meant to satisfy and supplement you; they're also meant to shape you.

Whether or not you're in a difficult employment situation right now, I pray that the Lord would help you put these principles into practice as you don't just show up to work, but grow up in all things in Christ.

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