Golf is a humbling sport. If you’ve ever played, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It seems really simple and straight forward. All you have to do is hit the little, motionless ball towards the flag right? For some reason, when I try to perform this “simple” task, I get mixed results. Sometimes the ball goes in the woods, sometimes it goes in the water, sometimes it goes in the sand, sometimes it goes in the tall grass, several times it will get lost, and every now and then it goes right where I want it to go. One thing I’ve learned about golf is how important sound swing mechanics are to making the ball go where you want it to go. The golf swing, believe it or not, is one of the most complex athletic moves in all of sports.
When I think of fully living out and experiencing the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) at work, I experience a similar anxiety. Who doesn’t want more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in their work? Shouldn’t it be simple to live these out and enjoy them? Just like hitting a golf ball straight is not as simple as deciding you want to do it and then swinging the golf club, having these spiritual fruits in your life is not as simple as just deciding you want them and going about your day.
We called out in a previous blog that you can’t manufacture the fruits of the spirit. They are a by-product of abiding with God. You don’t go to the grocery store and pull “gentleness” off the shelf. You have to be intentional in living a life that helps you and others experience these.
That intentionality is key. John 15 calls being intentional in your faith “abiding.” We’ve got a blog on that too. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just decide that we wanted to abide with God at work and “poof” we’re abiding? Just like our golf swing example, abiding at work is not simple. The fallen nature of our work is constantly attacking our ability to abide with God.
When a golf coach is instructing someone on how to hit the ball straight, he is looking at dozens of variables that could be the cause for why the ball is not going straight. Is your grip right? Are your feet aligned properly? Are your clubs the right length for you? Are you maintaining a proper swing plane? Similarly, when you aren’t enjoying the fruits of the spirit. You need to look at your “abiding mechanics.” Here are some questions that can help you assess how you are abiding with God at work:
Am I praying for my work? (Philippians 4:6)
Am I showing genuine brotherly love for each of my co-workers? (Romans 12:10)
Am I doing my work with the utmost integrity? (1 Peter 2:12)
Am I giving my work my very best? (Colossians 3:23)
Am I being intentional in the impact I have on others at work? (Colossians 4:5-6)
Am I serving others with humility? (1 Peter 4:10)
Am I in a role where my gifts, skills, and experience align with my vocation? (Romans 11:29)
Am I creating a sustainable work and life equilibrium? (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Any one of these you answered “no” or “rarely” to are likely the source of why you are missing some of these fruits in your life. Commit to work on your weak areas and watch these fruits come alive in your faith at work.