And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Colossians 3:17
When we consider the importance of diligence and hard work, there is a very obvious reason why followers of Christ should strive to do their best in everything they do: they are representatives of the Lord to the rest of the world. If we proclaim to follow Christ, people are watching us. They want to know the difference He has made in our lives. One of the things they are paying attention to is our work ethic.
The apostle Paul understood the importance of hard work when he wrote the book of Colossians. In Colossians 3, Paul wrote of the new lives that believers have when they choose to follow Him. Our old lives have died, he writes in verse three, and we have new lives in Christ. As a result, everything changes. We are no longer living for ourselves. This means forsaking our tendency towards laziness. Instead of working for ourselves, Paul writes that believers are now representatives of the Lord, working for Him. Instead of working for our gain, the purpose of work is to glorify God and point others to Him. This is the result of our new lives in Christ.
If you are a follower of Christ, does the life you are now living represent the new life you have in Him? Are you living in such a way that points others to Him? Are you working hard, knowing that you are His representative? If you have a tendency toward laziness, doing the bare minimum to get by, let me encourage you to choose to work hard instead. Work diligently, remembering that your work is for the Lord and you are His representative. Work in such a way that you are able to point people to Him just by your work ethic.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that God is with us each day as we live our lives. This means that He sees how we spend our time and how hard we work. Take a few moments to write in your notebook or journal, answering this question: How does understanding that the Lord is with me in everything I do change the way I work and spend my life?
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.
Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.