At Work

How to Handle Temptation at Work

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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.

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