Office politics circuit breaker

Everyone who has ever worked in a white collar job would have had to deal with politics at some point in time.

The easiest trap to fall into in office politics is make enemies of your colleagues. Common symptoms include gossiping, rumour milling, backstabbing, taking vengeance, blaming a scapegoat… And the list goes on.

“It’s always easy to play a person rather than to play an issue and if you can find a ‘culprit’ to blame all of your woes on it enables you to avoid actually confronting the issues at hand,”
– Kim Williams former head of News Corp

But the bible gives us a different view of how we ought to relate to one another, whether in an office or at home.

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it the the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, for by so doing you ill heap burning coals on his head” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
– Romans 12:17-21 (ESV)

These behaviours are enacted “in view of God’s mercy” (Romans 12:1). These actions are deliberate and come from the inside; they are not just rules to follow or behaviours to act out. Overcoming evil with good needs to come from a genuine heart.

It might not always be easy but these things that glorify God are worth pursuing and even enjoying.

See also: Philippians 2:3-4

Christian life

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:27-29 (NIV)

Some people say the Christian life is easy – no striving, no tiresome labour, just bask in God’s great love. The picture that Paul paints of his own life and ministry differs greatly from this picture of a luxurous easy Christian life. Granted Paul is an apostle, he isn’t just any run-of-the-mill Christian. In today’s context, you might see him as a church planter, missionary or senior pastor. One who puts His whole life forward to the call of Christ as a servant of the gospel. But wait, aren’t we all? Paul talks about “you” and “your” in verses 21-27 and then says that “He is the one we proclaim” verse 28. He gives the effect that “we” isn’t just Timothy and himself, but the readers as well! We are all commissioned to be disciple-makers and reconciliators (Matthew 28:16-20). We all lay down our lives to be used solely, purposefully and entirely for His glory and purpose as believers. We are not so different from Paul afterall.

Our goal, as is his, is to present ourselves and others “fully mature in Christ“. It is interesting that Paul doesn’t measure success in ministry as large conversion numbers or big church buildings or attendance. But what does it mean to be spiritually mature? It seems that everyone has different definitions of what being a mature christian means. Have a read of this article:

Ephesians 4:13 tells us that maturity is “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Simply put, everything that Christ is, you are. It is much more complex than asking “What Would Jesus Do?” It is being at every moment what Jesus is. Think what Jesus thinks, love what Jesus loves, hate what Jesus hates, do what Jesus does. Everyone knows that this doesn’t necesssarily happen the minute someone accepts Christ, instead it is a process of working through our faith in our walk with God. When Paul says “fully mature in Christ“, he really does mean “in Christ“. Spiritual maturity is how deep we are “in Christ” or how reconciled we are in Christ (Colossians 1:22; 2 Corinthians 5:20-21). The closest practical term to describe this is Christ-likeness.

To such an end, Paul labours. The words used in this passage to describe the nature of his labour are not easy words. NIV translates the meaning of the words as “strenuously contend with all the energy“, the ESV translates the words as “toil, struggling with all his energy“. The NKJV uses the words “labour” and “striving“, words that any modern preacher of grace would seldom (or never) say to their congregation. These words seem to have been given a negative connotation these days. But Paul uses them with confidence to describe the work required to bring people to maturity in Christ.

It would be a shame if the word had ended there, but it does not. Our labour is but a drop in the ocean compared to what Christ is doing in us, through us. All that Paul does is because of “the energy Christ so powerfully works in” him. Paul is only the channel, the real work happens elsewhere. Sure it isn’t easy for Paul or us, but the work is partnered and empowered. Becoming mature and bringing people to maturity in Christ is not something that we can do, but work that God does continuously in us and others (Philippians 1:6). We are not promised an easy ride in Christian life, but we are promised that persevering will produce maturity. James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

What we need to do in life is to learn to be tenacious in our Christian faith. Be tenacious with discipling ourselves and others. Be tenacious with humbling ourselves before difficult leadership. Be tenacious with growing the fruit of the spirit. Be tenacious when life throws lemons at you. My youth pastor, Doc John once said “the key to a successful Christian life is… (pause for dramatic effect) perseverence”, and how true he is. Stay in the boat, get up when you fall and keep going.

We aren’t earning brownie points in heaven or earning our salvation by labouring, we are responding in the best way we know how to God’s gift – “the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” It isn’t easy, but Christ has already made it worth the labour.

Christ in us, the hope of glory

“In nihil ab nihilo quam cito recidimus”
Ancent epitaph

It reads “How quickly we fall back from nothing to nothing”.

Nothing life to nothing death. No hope, no future. That is the outlook described in Ephesians 2:12, “remember that at that time you were separate from Christ… without hope and without God in the world.”

But we are not “like the rest, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13), we have Christ in us, “the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Even death is filled with hope because He has risen (1 Corinthians 15:16-21)!

A meaningless life isn’t one that is filled with tiring strenuous labour, but one that is lacking hope in Christ.

Working class Christianity

Working class Christians. You don’t see them at church events held during the week. Some of them might be serving once a month in a low involvement ministry. Many of them used to be fervent Christians in their teens but seem to be caught up with their own life now. Work, houses, cars, children and hobbies seem to take up so much of their time that God takes the backseat. Church is thrown in the boot.

The working class Christian is often disregarded as unspiritual. They are labelled as bench warmers or sleeping christians. They are shunned as worldly, uninvolved in the work of the church and overly comfortable in life. They seem to have lost their first love for Christ and are more concerned with secular work.

The story sounds different when you ask many (not all) working class Christians. They would say that they are trying to glorify God in their workplace, reach out to their collegues and be a positive influence in their various companies. Some of them are workplace evangalist and pastors, spreading the good news over cups of coffee and email. Their main contribution in the church might not be time and effort, but finance. 

So why aren’t some in the church more thankful of people like that? What is this disgruntled mumbling about working class Christians not doing their bit?


Wiktionary defines it as “Any practices of Christianity that are viewed as placing a larger emphasis on the habits of church life or the institutional traditions of the church than on theology and spiritual teachings; The quality of being too church-focused.

The church is God’s vehicle of choice for advancing His kingdom, but we forget that the church is God’s people. The church is ordinary people, in their ordinary lives, doing their ordinary jobs but with the extraordinary Spirit. Church happens when people come together on a Sunday, but also when they go out on a Monday.

I was speaking to a pastor friend of mine months ago and he shared with me a problem in his church. “No one wants to go out and work in the secular job, too many young people want to serve the church”, he says. What a strange phenomenon. It isn’t hard to see that working class Christians have a place in the church – right beside the pastors who work in the church, the students who make learning their work, retirees who enjoy the fruits of their work and housemakers who work in their homes.

So are we Christians or Churchians?

The Body

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
Romans 12:3-8

What Paul says there, he says to each person individually. I am not to think “I am everything”; I play a part in a bigger picture. I am not to think “I am nothing”; I have a gift and function in the body. These verses explain themselves. It sounds like a simple solution to a complex problem in the church. But that is exactly what it is. Do what it says and we will start to see others in a whole new light.

What strikes me about this passage is when he says “each member belongs to all the others”. 

Think about that.

When we say that something “belongs”, it depicts possession, natural affinity and acceptance.

We belong to each other.

Gruesome work

I’m back after a long break. Its been a crazy two weeks of none stop action. I was posted to another position to fill in. Just a little favour for my boss who is uber nice.

Killer job. Crap pay. I’m just thankful that its only for 2 weeks and I go back to my original job. Plus, I don’t suffer the crap pay.

Anyway, more on my life in awhile. Right now, I need some sleep.