T.G.I.F. – Temptations

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Work or the marketplace has its many temptations. Last week we said that we should see work as a platform to fulfill our purpose and honor God. It is easier to honor God at home and at church. To try and do the right thing in business, in marketing, in sales, in the flight industry, in tendering, and in the media is not easy. Am sure everyone here, no matter what you do, has faced ethical challenges and dilemmas.

What is your most common office or work temptation?

Here are some of the temptations we face in the marketplace:

  • Stealing time from the employer to do personal errands, watch movies, do face book or WhatsApp or look for a job
  • Lying about products, lying about witnesses in court (that he is unwell yet you have not contacted him), lying about what happened with a delivery (truck broke down), cheating on taxes, lying about meetings or location… etc
  • Compromise on standards and quality – construction materials or paper quality
  • Inflating costs to make higher margins
  • Undeclared side hustle or business that is contrary to contract/ethics or in conflict of interest
  • Kickbacks, bribes, legal fees, facilitation fees …
  • Misuse of company resources
  • Call in sick and take a trip to Coast or Dubai
  • Falsifying invoices to boost profit margins
  • Inflating cab fees and cheating on per diems
  • Sexual temptations: just pleasant connections at work or for alliances for career or job benefit (sleep your way up)
  • Giving an unjustified sick leave as a medic
  • Use company credit card for personal entertainment

They say that the good boy/girl finishes last – true or false? Is it possible to hold on to values and win in the world of work? How do we, as Christians, navigate the murky waters of ethics and morality at work?

Some will be quick to say: that’s the only way to do business; its just business; ethics are relative and I’m not really hurting anyone; everyone else is doing it; I do not work in a church – this is reality!

We know that we should avoid these temptations, but we fall into them often. Why? Why do we find ourselves trapped? They are attractive, advantageous (gain or convenience) and sometimes due to association –pressure from others (way we do business).

Last week we saw that Daniel and his friends were posted by God to work in a wicked culture. Let us see how they dealt with the temptations of Babylon – a system devoid of the fear of God; Daniel 1:8, 3:1-30

The one lesson we learn from these courageous Hebrew boys is this: When tempted, take a stand and let God!

Daniel refused to defile himself. He took a stand for his conscience and God fought for him and his friends. (Daniel 1:8 – he resolved in his heart) A decision was made in the quiet – he would be a man of principle. He did not wait to figure out what to do in the face of temptation, he had resolved in his heart long before that he would honor God by doing what is right in His eyes.

In chapter 3, the 3 refused to bow the knee to an idol. Their boss had crossed the line. They were ready to face the consequences (roast to death), but God in his mercy delivered them. Deliverance or destruction, they stood for God and refused to compromise. The decision made before Ashpenaz was now in display before the King and the crowds. You have got to refuse to compromise in private before you resist the pressure in public.

See verse 17, 18. They knew what they stood for and they were willing to die for their convictions if necessary. They defied their earthly boss to obey the ultimate one, God. Remember our reference verses: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ Jesus you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23,24) This matter was beyond their contract.

The 3 refused to worship Babylonia gods and gold! Greed is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Many have compromised on their values to pay homage to the golden idol of materialism. But these men refused to be impressed. They were upwardly mobile, but there is more to life than career. When tempted, take a stand and let God!

When you answer to a higher God, you care less what a misguided king or boss says. You only get your instructions from the King of Kings. Did God show up for the 3? Big time. In fact, everyone saw him. It was no secret. People get to know whose you are when you take a stand for your king in the sin-invested workplace.

We learn from this text that we should take a stand against what is wrong and for what is right when:

  • It is against your conscience/convictions (Daniel 1:8)
  • It is an instruction to do wrong – whatever the consequences (King’s decree). Chuck Swindoll says, “If you have to do wrong to be on the team, then you’re on the wrong team.”
  • Evil is happening around you – do not be an accomplice of evil. Do not adopt the ‘See no evil, hear no evil’ philosophy. When it is within your power to speak or act against evil, God expects you to.

The king referred to them as servants of the Most High God! (Verse 26) That’s who we are! When we honor God, he shows up alongside us. God is at work in us through the temptations to reveal in our lives the fourth man – Jesus. People will see Jesus at work as his followers take a stand for him in the midst of temptations.

If you are a business leader or department head or an influencer at work, have clear ethical core values and enforce them. Build a culture of honesty and integrity. Let other players in your industry and in the market generally know that you do not bribe or take short cuts on quality.

Do not compromise for gain or convenience. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” – Proverbs 22:1 When tempted, take a stand and let God!

Three steps to taking and maintaining a stand amidst temptations:

a) Convictions: Clarify your convictions. What are your 3 ethical core values at work? I suggest integrity, fairness and compassion. (God is holy, just and loving). Ethical behavior is seldom a last-minute decision. Decide in advance what you stand for before the temptation arrives. Remember, truth as found in God’s word is the internal foundation for our ethics. “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11)

Where will you draw the line? The brave take a stand when things heat up, the rest cave in…never to stand out.

b) Courage: It takes courage to refuse to compromise whatever the cost. You may loose or gain business, loose a job or loose friends. But character – who you are and what you are becoming – is greater than ease, convenience and gain. Live fish swim upstream. Courage is the strength of virtue.

c) Community: You need the community of likeminded people to encourage you and pray with you. Find other Christians at work and take a common stand. Share with your life group and friends for prayer, counsel and encouragement. We must stand together as the community of the fearless.

When tempted, take a stand and let God!

Romans 12:2, 21 states: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

Conform not. Live by different standards. Honor God by discovering and doing his will. Overcome evil with good. Tell truth, even it is not convenient. Flee like Joseph from workplace sexual temptations. Pay your taxes like a patriot. Denounce corruption and live straight. When tempted, take a stand and let God!

Some of us have been caught in the marketplace culture of evil: lies, corruption, immorality, shortcuts and partying. The prophet Jeremiah has a word for us: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

Remember: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Let us follow Jesus into this way and standard of truth. Let us follow the God of holiness, justice and love in the workplace. Let us take a stand and let God do the rest.

Is it easy to take a stand for God when tempted? No. It was not easy for Daniel and his 3 friends. Fire was a real threat. But we are promised grace: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.” (Titus 2:11,12) Hold on to that grace.

The software of this country and continent has been a great hindrance to our transformation. If we can’t change the culture in the marketplace to a decent one, we have no chance in changing Kenya. Let us change the way we do procurement. Let us denounce corruption in all its forms. Let us speak truth to each other. Let us refuse to tolerate injustice around us.

God is calling you to step out and impact your workplace with the right values. When tempted, take a stand and let God!

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6 Responses to “T.G.I.F. – Temptations”

  1. Very relavant to the world we live in… How much more real can this series be?? Thank you pastor, for teaching us it is indeed possible to hold on to christian values and be successful in today’s world. The common cliche’ It’s nothing personal it’s just business has got no place for a Christian! My prayer? That we all follow our conscience and convictions with the wisdom that the Almighty God controls all the chips; much as it might look and feel that the good boy/girl finishes last. This is easier said than done – and hence the prayer.

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  2. To me the sermon was more of ”Moral ethics Vs Lets get practical”…which to me were not inclined to religion(christianity) in any way but rather to a professional way of reason i.e if an opprtunity presents itself and you didnt ask for it ..why not grab it.! But as you dug deeper into the word the writing on the wall read ”I YOU STAND WITH ME(GOD) I WILL STAND FOR U.

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  3. Hi,

    I really felt for the guy who shared concerning his boss who point blank told him he hates him. I have a boss who uses words to tear us down,from last year it’s been an uphill climb. I have got to experience shades of grey I never knew existed. When this sermon begun it sounded like a mock moment. During service I wonder how am I supposed to honor God & it feels like the devil’s camped at my desk. My ability has been challenged & I just wonder what’s God’s agenda? Honestly Pastor Sy, it’s a hard place am in & am quite uncertain at how this will end. I only hope that God does something soon before the shades of grey consume me.

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  4. TGIF is going to be my song fro this week. But at the same time it is not because I serve a great God. We have just gotten into an argument with my boss after I hesitated to work longer hours they had suggested until late in the night. God move her away from here. I told her I was going to work as usual and finish my work within this time. The rest of the work I will do tomorrow. The corporate world is not fare and you will easily get milked for everything you have. Especially if your efficient in your work. You will always have more responsibility swept your way without a salary to reflect the work.

    There is no God like Jehovah.

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  5. Thank you for this post.It is encouraging to know that when we stand up for God He will surely cover our backs.Praise be to the living God.

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  6. Thank you for this fine message..At the end of the sermon, there was a prayer you prayed advising everyone to be recited every day at their work place. I would really appreciate seeing a copy of it. Thanks

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