The Christian Professional: How Do You Respond?

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I originally thought about putting the word “react” in the title. But based on what I’ve learned in our bible study group, there’s a difference between “respond” and “react.” In a situation, when you choose to react, emotions come into play first. Whereas with responding, you think and analyze first what is the situation on hand then that’s when you act. The former is usually regarded as negative and the latter as positive.

Too often we neglect responding when driven towards tight and tense situations. I must admit there are times wherein I reacted with anger and we all know what happened next – more consequences came along with it. Yes, reacting ends with regretting.

When I became a Christian, I have learned so much about self-control and discipline. It applies on all – the way I speak, the way I think, the way I act, and even with the way I decide. I cannot say I’ve done it perfectly now but it was a long grueling process of transformation. I am not sure if you’ll believe me when I say that before I got saved I am a cynic. Sarcasm’s my favorite language.

A person from my past once told me, “Tin, you don’t need a knife or any weapon to kill someone. Your words are enough.” At that time, I glorified in it. Yes, it gives me that sense of power when you crush someone’s ego and pride.

But my sarcasm ended there when part of my spiritual transformation involved I, myself, experience how it feels to be on the other end – the recipient of that sarcasm. That’s how I learned that God indeed punishes as part of His disciplinary actions as a Father to make His children better. So I’ve learned how painful it is. Only then did I realize I needed to change it completely.

Changing is hard if you’re doing it alone. You cannot change if you don’t know why you need to change and what is it that needs changing. When I was starting to immerse myself in the Bible back in 2013, I have found everything I needed to help me with the transformation – letting go of the old self and ushering in the new one.

You will find in the bible everything about forgiveness, about unconditional love, patience, understanding, gentleness, about not retaliating and so much more. So I got to say to myself that indeed, these are what it takes to learn them.

I am at this age (31) where I have been in different work settings since I started as a working professional back in 2008. I have seen the different work cultures and the diverse people I have worked with. I have also heard stories upon stories about their ordeal in the workplace and the struggle of having to live with those challenges day by day.

I have observed how crab mentality, favoritism, abuse of authority, wrong accusations, taking the blame for someone else’s mistake, bullying, and persecution are all present in every workplace. The workplace showcases the complexities of the human behavior which we have no control over and why there is a need for Christians to be the “salt and light” and set Christlike examples.

If we are to react in all the situations I have given, these are what will come out – irritability, anger, bitterness, hatred, and retaliation. I am sure you will agree with me there. That’s perfectly understandable – part of our fallen nature as a man is being corrupted with sinfulness such as greed, envy, jealousy, hunger for power, discontentment, rage, and all other sins. These are the same reasons why Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden.

And yet, those sins are part of what the Cross is for which is also part of our own crosses that we have to carry each day. But because Jesus already paid a price for those sins, we should claim free and uncorrupted lives.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

So what does God require of us now? Instead of retaliating, leave it all to God. I have long learned that we do not have the power to change people. In the same way that it was only God who helped me change, the same goes for others. Instead, what He instructed us to do is to lord it over to Him all these things and pray for others.

Instead of letting bitterness and anger take the best out of you and make your life miserable, choose to forgive. This way you’ll also learn to empathize with people. You’ll learn to understand why they have so much anger on you, why they are behaving that way or why they’ve done this to you.

Maybe they went through the same thing and their anger made them into the person that they hated. Maybe they are having relational problems at home. Maybe they are depressed. We really don’t know the reason why but only God sees the hearts of each and every one of us. He knows and sees everything so take heart in that too. Do not fear these people even. As God says,

“Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.” – Proverbs 29:25

Don’t take it personally either. Why? If they haven’t been saved, we all know they are still under the stronghold of the enemy. They don’t know anything yet about the loving grace of God and how great His love is. So maybe that is the reason why God put us there so we could show them that.

Forgive and do not retaliate….answer with gentleness…submit to authority…follow without grumbling…and so on and so forth.

“Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the Word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” – Philippians 2: 14-16

I have seen numerous cases wherein when you leave everything to God, God always acts and would do something about it. He is the ultimate judge so to speak and has the ultimate power to do everything. In the same way that I have been disciplined for my wrongdoings, the same goes for those who have wronged others. I do not glorify in it because I also felt how painful it was when God disciplined me. However, I am grateful because I know this will be the start of a new chance for a new life for them too.

For the record, I am grateful to God I am working with a great team. Yes, it is not a perfect team but I appreciate all my supervisors’ work and the effort of the rest of the team members to work cooperatively despite our different backgrounds. I have no assurance it will stay this way forever but as always, it is in my prayers.

But for those who are going through the opposite right now, always believe in your heart God did not put you there for no reason. He has a very good reason why you have to be exactly where you are now. It might be painful but the best way to respond to it is to pray and ask God this:

“Father, what do you want me to learn from this adversity/season/trial?”

Then ask Him to lead you and your ways so you won’t go astray, you won’t be tempted, and you won’t fall to committing any sin and face the consequences.

I will end this article with a bible passage and I hope it will encourage you to fight the good fight of faith may it be in the workplace or anywhere else that He has called you to be.

Lastly, always pray not just for yourself but for the people around you too. ❤

Have the Attitude of Christ

“Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,[a]
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges[b];
    he took the humble position of a slave[c]
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,[d]
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

    and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Shine Brightly for Christ

Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.

Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.”

– Philippians 2:1-18

P.S.

If after seeking for God’s help God has told you to leave a toxic company and all the negativity around it, it is best to take heed. Remember, it is not your boss who gave you your job, he was just used by God as an instrument for you to get that job. Bottomline is that, if God takes away that job from you, most likely He’ll give you another one according to His plans in His right time. 🙂

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

 

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Understanding a Young Professional

 

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Indeed, August is understanding – understanding the will of God, understanding yourself and others. 🙂

At my age of 31, I can say I have been through all seasons when it comes to job opportunities in search for the one that God says as “the right one.” These decisions aren’t easy to make because I also need to value what my spouse thinks on what is best for us both.

These seasons brought me to short term employments, some even lasted for just a week, some brought me to a standstill for a long while and some lasted for a couple of years. I always seek God’s counsel on these matters because let’s admit it, giving up a job and hopping on to the next is crucial.

We all need money to survive. Getting rich, however, is a different story and something I do not fully support. Money is the root of all evil if it becomes your god and your life revolves around it. This includes anything that makes you “great” as well. It will destroy this hierarchy of priorities mandated by God:

  1. GOD
  2. Spouse
  3. Children/Family
  4. Career
  5. Ministry

How? When we don’t find the right answers to these questions:

  • When was the last time you opened and read your bible consistently?
  • When was the last time you took a quiet time, prayed, and made it a habit?
  • Do you have enough time for your spouse on a regular basis?
  • How about for your children?
  • When did you last visit your parents or talked to them?
  • How about your siblings? When did you last check up on them?
  • When was the last time you attended church? 

We’ve always been reminded to never place any idols before God and that anyone who disobeys will face the consequences:

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,…” – Exodus 20:3-5

Are our possessions our god? Are our finances our god? Are our careers our god? Are our achievements our god? Are our children our god? Is our ministry our god?

If we fail in even one of the things I have mentioned above, we know that we are guilty. We always have to be on our guard because the enemy is always in the corner prowling around looking for that next victim to deceive. Everything may seem to be smooth sailing but little did we know that we are already heading towards destruction. If everything is going smoothly in our lives, we should already wonder.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

There may not be any external atrocities happening on the outside but the enemy is already going for the most vulnerable spot inside you – your heart and your soul.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23

As the adage goes, “A river that is quiet usually has looming falls at the end of it.”

Your heart and your soul may have remained placid but they were not given the opportunity to build a shield which is the armor of God and strengthen your faith.

The Whole Armor of God

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” – Ephesians 6:10-18

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5

Don’t be tempted to get that next promotion or for that next “big thing” to add to your resume or attach at the end of your name right away. Don’t be tempted to sign that 6-digit salary or the millions that you’re being asked to take without confirming the responsibilities attached to it. Don’t be tempted to say “yes” to any promise of a better life other than the gift of salvation.

No, don’t be tempted with these things. That next promotion might be a temptation to spend less time with your spouse and family or a temptation to sacrifice your own health and wellness. That 6-digit salary might tempt you to drown yourself in the physical pleasures of this world which equate to even more worldly temptation. That promise of a better life might be masked in the form of easy money and the black market.

Review your priorities instead (single or married), ask for God’s leading, seek His counsel, and pray for discernment towards the right path.

If you will ask me why, then consider the following:

  1. Why is quality time with God important? The Scripture will guard your heart against any temptation. This will prepare you for any trial you’ll go through. Thus, it is the #1 priority.
  2. Why is quality time with the spouse important? Marriage is a holy matrimony, it is also a room for the enemy to attack you or your spouse with temptations. Communication is important between a married couple. If you are too tired to even ask what went on in your spouse’s day, it might be too late when you realize your spouse is drifting away from you and eventually leads to a divorce.
  3. Why is it important to spend time with your kids? Your kids will only be young once. They will appreciate the time you’ve spent with them more than the toys or gadgets you gifted them when they grow older. The percentage of depressed teens are getting higher every year. You don’t want them to end up growing up a teenage rebel or being with the wrong group of friends just because their parents are always “absent.” It is as important to your child that you become his/her first best friend other than just being a parent.
  4. Why should you not place money as the top priority? Money is the root of all evil. It sparks jealousy, greed, selfishness, death, among all other negative things.

I am not a licensed counselor but I have learned these nuggets of wisdom from mentors who went through the same thing and shared their experiences, combined with my own personal experience as well as knowledge lifted from my graduate study which is special education.

You might add that they are all a case-to-case basis but consider this verse:

“What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.” -Ecclesiastes 3:15

If you are to ask me why, this might suffice as an answer:

“And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” – Ecclesiastes 3:14

Going back to all those career shifts, I can say that I have met wonderful people who have touched my life. I’ve learned a great deal of wisdom from them and formed a special bond through the memories and experiences we’ve shared which I am forever grateful.

On the one hand, I have touched their lives as well one way or the other and continue to influence as they add me on social media, check out my profiles or read my blog articles (oh, it’s you). 😀

I never viewed it as a waste of time, this shifting of careers, though it brought me to a slight and temporary instability in my priorities, marriage, finances, etc. as seasons change.

But no, I remained steadfast because I am clinging to a Rock and I know I have a God who is forever faithful. I viewed these instead as a time of GREAT TESTING.

How? It is only in times of drought and famine that your faith in God is truly tested. It will answer the question “how far are you willing to trust God with your whole life?”

So much of this testing didn’t test my character alone but it also built the foundations of my marriage and refined the characters of the people around me too. They, too, have learned to rely on God along the way.

I have always relied in the TRUTH that God is the ONLY ONE who provides for all our needs from finances to material things; who gives us a career; who provides our salaries; who closes one door of opportunity and opens another; who keeps things steady though everything may be shaky; who keeps my marriage intact; who binds the relationships I have with others; and who reminds me of my priorities.

What matters is we stayed obedient to His instructions, obeyed His laws, and pursued His will and plans for our lives all throughout.

As I write this journal entry, all I can ever see are the lives of those great people recounted in the bible who withstood all trials because of their unwavering faith even to the point of death: Daniel; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; David; Joseph; Job; among many others.

They say it takes fire to yield a beautiful sword ready for battle. Without fire, the sword will be blunt – ineffective and of no use. Yet it also takes the time to forge a sword. It takes effort and a great force to yield it. On the other hand, too much heat will cause it to melt.

As a young professional, you’ll receive so much of this fire which could either destroy you or mold you. Choose, however, to consult God’s plans over your life more than being dissuaded by what this world expects and wants from you.

Do not break away from the vine, cling to it. Let God use the fire to mold you for a better purpose. But never let the enemy use it to consume you and head for destruction.

In the end, it is important to keep in mind that even when you have to close a hundred doors and open a thousand, it still is God who decides what is the best door to keep open. You’ll never really know in which seasons will God forge you to become one of His mightiest swords. But, learn to trust Him instead. 🙂

Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9

As my spiritual mentor and Victory group leader said with her life verse and God’s promise:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

For this article, here’s a video from Hillsong that’s one of my all-time favorite Christian songs:

freelancer

Be Protected as a Freelancer

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Since I have given you opportunities about doing remote work, teleworking, telecommuting including freelancing, I believe it is also my responsibility to provide a list of websites from my research on how to protect yourself should you decide to be a freelancer aside from having your full-time job.

I found these articles very helpful. But just in case I encounter similar problems in one of my (future) freelancing stints, I believe I would need to sit-in in one of the Torts and Damages classes of my brother-in-law who is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines (Diliman) College of Law. 😀 He used to work as a company lawyer for Baker and Mckenzie, a multi-national law firm, and it would indeed be a privilege to learn from him given the opportunity. 🙂

The following are the articles which you could read if you are a freelancer or just planning to become one:

However, if you’ve already experienced any drawback from your freelancing stint though you did the right thing, took the necessary steps, and followed the agreement, don’t be discouraged but take this verse by heart:

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before His eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13

Just pray, let go, and let God take the lead from there. The battle is not yours anymore but His to take. Be fearful of God and not of men – let God be the judge and be the one to give justice. 🙂