Recognizing the Religious Spirit in the Workplace
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
Living according to rules and regulations and by our own human efforts is a trap set by the religious spirit in the workplace that we can all fall into. Do you know the signs of the religious spirit when it is operating in the workplace? The religious spirit discourages a genuine move of God and will thwart the activity of God under the banner of religious righteousness and dogma. It also motivates believers to live out their faith in legalistic and rigid ways. We need to be aware of how this happens in a workplace. Here are some characteristics of how the religious spirit manifests itself in believers in workplace situations:
- Workers may have difficulty praying and applying God's promises to everyday work encounters.
- Workers may believe that biblical truths apply only to their personal lives, families and churches, not to their jobs.
- Workers may focus on evangelizing coworkers, but fail to do their work with excellence.
- Workers may give greater priority to religious activity and events than to relationships with others at work.
- Workers maintain a "us" versus "them" attitude when relating to non-Christians in the workplace.
- Workers may refuse to join a workplace prayer group or Bible study because they feel that it is trying to replace the role of their local church. Workers don't see a need for such activity in the workplace.
- Workers feel the need to compartmentalize faith activities to their local church alone.
- Workers discount the idea that Christianity could transform a workplace, city, or nation as "overzealous," "naïve" or even doctrinally wrong.
Beware of this when trying to encourage faith in your workplace. Remember, Stephen was the first martyr in the early church at the hands of religious leaders. You will find your greatest resistance often comes from those in the religious community.