Establish | The Truth About Job Titles
What do you do? The classic opening line at interviews, networking events, church or at a party. Our answer quickly becomes how others define us. And yet I feel myself wanting to say that my job title is not the real me.
I am a daughter of my Heavenly Father, created by Him and formed in His image. What greater privilege is there? When we hold that as our primary identity, the ups and downs of working life need not distract us. But so often they do!
First and foremost, we are to glorify God in the job that He has blessed us with. When our desire to please man is greater than our desire to please God it creates insecurities in us. We rely on our own strength and efforts to achieve our goals, boost our professional reputation and climb the job ladder.
The greatest challenge to our true identity is the battle of the mind. We need to hold on to Biblical truth, not the voices of our peers or social media. We belong to God and with Him we are accepted, secure and significant. I would like to explore each of these with you now:
1. God accepts me just as I am.
This is the starting point. In Psalm 139 David reflects on how God individually created us in our inmost being, He carefully and lovingly crafted our body, mind and spirit, He knows our deepest thoughts and longings, everything that we hide from others and yet He still deeply loves us and wants to spend time with us. There are no conditions to His love. He does not condemn or reject us, he accepts us just as we, not because of what we do, simply because of His amazing grace. There is nothing we have done or can do to deserve it.
Knowing that we are all uniquely made with different gifts and personalities means that we can honour, respect and encourage others in their jobs without envy. We need not fear the loss of professional status. We have the freedom to step off the career ladder if called to without the worry of how others view us.
“The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all: he has compassion on all he has made.” (Psalm 145 v8-9)
2. My security is in God alone
Identity-envy saps our confidence and joy. It is a daily battle of the mind to resist a sneaky peak at Instagram or facebook, but focussing on other people’s achievements and lifestyles can so easily feed our own feelings of discontent and inadequacy.
David, the psalmist, faced all kinds of dangers and doubts whilst waiting years to be crowned the anointed King, yet through it all he trusted in God who had plans for him and promised His presence and protection. “Lord you have assigned me my portion and cup: you have made my lot secure.” (Psalm 16 v5). Our career path may go up and down through the different seasons of life, but our eternal security is in Christ and His daily help. This frees us to be true to ourselves and not try to be someone we are not.
3. God has significant plans for my life – to work for Him!
Does this mean that full-time Christian work is of greater value than secular employment? Not at all. The Bible states clearly that our purpose is to work. Whether paid or unpaid, we are called to be salt and light and to shine as stars in our generation, transforming our workplace by our good works. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10) So how can we bring the fragrance of Christ each day into our workplace and bring glory to God?
It can be hard to motivate ourselves in our jobs if we don’t feel that our work is of real value. Most of us like to have a job title that we can be proud of and good remuneration can be a powerful motivator, but ultimately, we all crave more than that as proof of our worth and identity. Even the mundane or menial task is quickly transformed when we are appreciated for what we do and we can see a higher end. When we work to glorify God, not to enhance our own standing in the eyes of our employer, then our words, actions and relationships in the workplace can have eternal value.
What is amazing is that God uses us no matter what our job title or status. My identity in Christ does not change, whether I get that coveted promotion or if I find myself stuck in a job not of my choosing. My job is to grow where God has planted me for now and trust in Him for my future.
Our identity can seem so fragile, battered by all the other voices and distractions around us. So arm yourself each day with the truths from the Bible, truths that build you up not fake truths that knock you down. Stay steadfast to these words of life and surround yourselves with friends and family who can keep you accountable.
Remember God loves you just as you are. He has good plans for you and whatever your current job or role, he is using you. Have faith!
Jessica works in investment management in the City. She lives in South West London and is a member of Holy Trinity Clapham.