by William J. Stewart
There are a number of different circles which the Christian’s life intersects. In each setting, we are involved in relationships, whether it be with our brethren in the local church, as an employee or employer in the workplace, as a citizen in a community, as a friend or acquaintance in social circles, or as a husband (father), wife (mother), son or daughter in the family unit. Regardless which setting we are in, it ought to be our determined desire to show the same manner and conduct, walking upright as a child of God.
Of His people, Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We have a responsibility, regardless what company we are in, to show forth the character of God in our lives, so as to affect others for good. Paul commended the brethren at Philippi for their holiness, but then urged them, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27). Whether we are with fellow Christians or with people of the world, our calling as God’s people does not change, nor should our attention to holiness.
Within the local church, we are to be a source of edification (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12, 26). A great bond exists among those who are Christians, for we are people of the same spiritual body—the body of Christ. We should seek to do good to our brethren (Galatians 6:1-2). We are to be concerned with regular assembly with the church, for the mutual benefit of all (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-26).
The Bible does not specifically address the relationship of employee to employer, but there is instruction given for servants and masters which parallels the workplace of today. Servants (employees) should be obedient to their masters (employers), not rendering eye-service, but diligently accomplishing their commanded duties (Ephesians 6:5-8). When we work, it should be done “…heartily, as to the Lord and not to men…” (Colossians 3:23). Keep in mind, at the workplace, we are still the servant of Christ, and a representative of His people, whether for good or for bad.
Again, though the workplace is not mentioned, the relationship of servants and masters serves to give appropriate instruction for such. Masters (employers) are to treat their employees fairly, not threatening (Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1). Paul reminds those in such authority that “…your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him” (Ephesians 6:9).
As a citizen of a community or country, we have the right to benefit from the various services which are made available to those with citizenship. Paul benefited at times from his Roman citizenship (Acts 16:37-38; 25:10-11). However, it is noteworthy that Paul did not value his earthly citizenship above his heavenly calling. Though he enjoyed the benefits of Roman citizenship, his determined purpose was to display in his life and preaching the benefits of a heavenly citizenship, and to call others to that high call (Acts 26:26-29). Peter describes our walk before those who are outside of Christ, stating that we should “…as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:11-12).
In our homes, each member of the family has a God-given responsibility. Husbands are to love and honour their wives (Ephesians 5:25-30). Wives are to love and obey their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24; Titus 2:4-5). Fathers are to build up and train correctly their children (Ephesians 6:4). Mothers are to love their children and manage the home (Titus 2:4; 1 Timothy 5:14). Children are to obey and honour their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).
Friend, whatever the setting we are in, whomever it is that we are with, wherever it is that we find ourselves, God’s word directs us to live righteously and exemplary lives. We are to have the light of Christ shining through us, so as to affect all who surround us, whether Christian or not, for good. May it never be said of those who serve the Lord that they are two-faced or hypocritical. Friend, be sure to have the same face in every place; be a faithful Christian in all settings. To do otherwise is to harm the cause of Christ and to jeopardize our own soul and the souls of those who see us.