At Work

How to Handle Temptation at Work

LinkedIn Email Print

A committed church member, Rob couldn’t believe the situation he now faced. Sitting in the pastor’s office, he found himself confessing a significant moral failure. After a one-night stand with a co-worker, she conceived and would soon give birth to Rob’s daughter.

“I just don’t know how this could happen to me,” Rob said. “I thought I was a strong Christian. My witness is blown. Everyone at work thinks I’m a hypocrite. Obviously, my plan is to support this lady and be a father to my daughter. What else can I do? If only this whole situation could have been avoided.”

Christians at work can find themselves surrounded by sexual temptation. Perhaps it isn’t surprising considering we all look, smell, and act our best at work.

According to the Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, “Infidelity is one of the most common presenting problems for marriage and family therapists.  It is devastating to relationships and can be one of the more difficult problems to treat.”

Inappropriate relationship temptation is not the only illicit allure on the job. People struggle with various sins, including gossip, compromising beliefs, theft, lying, overeating, and many other avoidable behaviors.

James tells us that faith without action is dead (James 2:14-26). If our belief in Christ cannot lead us into better behavior, something is definitely wrong. Beyond diminishing our witness, moral failures weaken our trust in the Lord. Many believers question their faith when they give into their sin nature. So how can we have victory when we’re faced with temptation at work and beyond?

Three Ways to Resist Temptation

Scripture provides many paths to resist temptation, from putting on God’s armor (Eph. 6:10-18) to simply fleeing entrapment (1 Cor. 6:18). Three prominent ways to resist include living in the Lord’s presence, seeing the big picture, and relying on God’s strength when our human ability is exhausted.

  1. Remember the presence of the Lord is always there for you. The Holy Spirit is living inside us. As we walk in God’s spirit, we won’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. (Heb. 13:5, Gal. 5:16-18). We can walk in the Spirit by purposefully bringing God with us to work. Pray as we begin each day. Read short passages of scripture or inspirational materials during breaks or on lunch hour. Thank God and worship him for successes at work and accomplishing daily goals.
  2. Recognize the larger plan that only God knows and controls. Our small actions today affect our lives tomorrow. When faced with temptation, consider the potential damage to your career, your future, and your family. Embracing God’s larger plan for your life will help you stay strong when temptations arise.
  3. Rely on God’s power to fight spiritual battles. Sometimes, all of us feel weak. Realize that God wants to help you fight your daily struggles. Let him into your weak places by asking him to remove or render powerless those things that tempt you. The Psalmist declares, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121:1–2). As we see victory over self and over temptation, we strengthen our faith and build a track record of putting God first.

Commit to Purity

Taking God to work is about a heart change that leads to behavioral change. If we allow, God uses work to refine our character and to help us grow spiritually. Make up your mind that you will follow the Lord into a life of holiness.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor (1 Thess. 4:3–4).

As we grow in Christ, a world of kingdom impact opens up to us at work. If God can count on us, he will use us to love our co-workers, our customers, and our bosses. Purity makes us eligible for his greatest blessing: a life of service to others.

Editor’s note: Living out your faith at work starts with understanding the biblical meaning of work. Learn more in How Then Should We Work? Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work.

Help empower Christians with the biblical and economic principles that lead to human flourishing! Support IFWE today.

Have our latest content delivered right to your inbox!
  • I love this post! I don’t think people do #2 enough, looking beyond the temptation and seeing the possible outcome of its folly. Truly, you are spot on in how to avoid this difficult challenge in life. Sexual temptation is everywhere, without the power and grace of Jesus living in and through us, we are sure to fail at some point. Thank you for covering this topic! Very needed for today’s people!

  • Beth Bingaman

    “Recognize the larger plan that only God knows and controls.” I fear this is a missing piece of faith for many. God is the god of Sunday, not everyday. We are hearing such a low view of God taught that we forget that He is the God of every area of life. Thanks for this thought provoking post.

  • Julie Loos

    Thanks for giving us these tips! My pastor had some good words about this…he doesn’t meet with a woman without other people in the office. The door is never closed if he’s meeting with a woman. He doesn’t meet any female for lunch alone!
    By putting up these boundaries, he keeps himself accountable!

  • Jessica Goyette

    I have been reading “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges for the past two weeks with my sister and this blog post brought to mind what he mentioned in a chapter we recently went through. We must have the determination to not sin, realiziing how important holiness is, absolutely vital. We must have a game plan if we are under temptation. We must avoid temptation as much as humanly possible. God is wonderful. He gives, as the Word says, “grace upon grace” and we know that grace is empowerment to live holy (not to use cheaply, sinning willfully then running to 1 John 1:9)

  • Jessica Brodie

    This is such an important post. If we could all just step back and understand all temptations in the light of God’s master plan for us, I think we’d make better choices.

  • Nancy Elizabeth

    What an important message! Temptation is all around us. And resisting it is so hard at times. Thanks and God bless!

  • Melissa Henderson

    Excellent message. Temptation can be found anywhere. We must always be alert and go to God when we are in these situations.

  • Linda Samaritoni

    The news had been so quick to criticize America’s vice-president for planning ahead to avoid temptation, but his Biblical view is exactly right. If only every professing Christian would plan ahead.

  • Peggy Bodde

    “Embracing God’s larger plan for your life will help you stay strong when temptations arise.” This is powerful! I think it’s easy to forget about the big picture of His kingdom when we’re tempted. It’s as if we think our decisions stay inside a bubble.
    “As we grow in Christ, a world of kingdom impact opens up to us at work.” I’m freelance now and work from home but worked in corporate for over 20 years and found this to be so true! When God finds us faithful, He can use us in countless big and small ways in the workplace.
    Thank you for this practical, biblical post!

  • Stephen Lewis

    Truly a much needed post for all of us to remind ourselves to stay focused and to be aware of temptations and avoid certain situations. Great Post thank you!

  • Chloe Flanagan

    This is an excellent post about living out faith in the workplace. It can be challenging, as you’ve pointed out, but God gives the victory.

  • Stephen De La Vega

    These are great suggestions, David. God is right there at work with us whether we acknowledge it or not. I have an hourly chime in my phone to remind me of God’s presence. This was a suggestion from Chip Mattis. It has definitely helped me refocus sometimes. Thank you for this post.

  • Russ McCullough, PhD

    While I like much of what you wrote, I feel compelled to add that Jesus’ sacrifice is good for all the sinful shortfalls you have. Even those with a strong sinful nature should not lose the faith when you fall short more than others seems to do. Your lack of ability to uphold the law is God’s way of telling you that you need him.
    God knows how pathetic you are too and loves you no matter how badly or how many times you mess things up! When you believe in Christ, you are a part of the eternal family (Luke 15:11-32).

Further readings on At Work

  • At Work
Is Networking UnChristian?

By: Taylor Barkley

4 minute read

Is it possible to network to the glory of God, or is all professional networking just an attempt to manipulate…

  • At Work

One of C. S. Lewis’s most memorable essays is entitled “The Inner Ring.” It describes the experience and desire of us…

Have our latest content delivered right to your inbox!