Why I Quit Working for God

I quit working for God. And I hope you will too. How could a Christian worker make such a declaration? Because, I’ve found something better.


When we work for God we make mistakes in “His name.” We bruise people. We become resentful, proud, or worn out. We may even hurt His kingdom instead of build it.

These biblical examples illustrate what I mean.

  • Misguided: Moses thought he was working for God when he murdered an Egyptian taskmaster.
  • Working against God’s kingdom: Saul of Tarsus thought he was working for God when he threw Christians into prison.
  • Resentful: The hardworking elder brother resented his father when he celebrated the return of the prodigal younger brother. (See Luke 15:11-32)
  • Proud: The Pharisees and religious leaders believed their work for God put them in His inner circle. (See Luke 18:11)


How do those of us who love Jesus and want to serve Him, quit working for Him? We start to work with Him. Those who work for God ask Him to bless their ideas. Those who work with God join Him in His plan. They look to Him for guidance and strength.

  • Moses learned to rely on God. “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here” (Exodus 33:15 ESV).
  • Saul of Tarsus was transformed into the Apostle Paul who said, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV.)
  • Jesus who said, “No longer do I call you servants, …but I have called you friends” (John 15:15 ESV) also said “ I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5 ESV).

photo-1445628680538-19da88adb5bbI used to beat myself up when I failed to meet the expectations I put on myself. Now I believe my job is to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. That in no way translates into passivity. It simply means I believe Jesus is living and working in me. I work with Him. He works through me.

When we serve God by working with Him, He gets the glory. His plan, through His power and in His time, builds His kingdom.

Who do you think makes a better ambassador for Christ, the one who works for God or the one who works with Him?

Click here to comment.


Debbie W. Wilson

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  1. Ella

    Love this TRUTH. If Jesus himself said He could only do what the Father showed Him and join Him in the work (John 5:19) then we need no other example. Lots of worn out weary Christians working “for” God.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ella, that verse sums it up perfectly. Thank you, my friend.

  2. Amy Nowak

    Your words remind me of the fishermen who caught nothing until they heard and obeyed Christ. Thank you for this great reminder!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amy, that is a great biblical example! Thank you for that.

  3. Kelsie

    Hmm…haven’t really thought of working with versus for. Good perspective! I think being used by him is the best thing!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks for reading, Kelsie. Unfortunately, a lot of good people wear themselves out working for God and miss the joy of a relationship with Him. I think that explains the older brother syndrome in Luke 15. Bless you, my friend.

  4. Ann

    Debbie that is a very important distinction that all too often we confuse! Thanks for pointing out the differences.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. I think it is too.

  5. Pam

    Very well said, Debbie! I think too many of us have worked for Him too long and I think it also can become so time consuming that it gets in the way of growing intimacy with Him as well as being available for some non-scheduled ministry such as stopping by a neighbor. Thanks for this! (Liked the photos you used!)

    • Debbie Wilson

      Pam, that is a great insight! Like the religious leaders who passed the man who’d been beat up by bandits. Only the Samaritan stopped to help. I think we have similar taste in visual beauty! Thanks so much.

  6. Tai East

    Oh Debbie, I love this message! Let us not work for GOD, but with HIM! Thank you so much for sharing such a powerful word, Love! GOD bless you, beautiful friend! 🙂

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Tai!

  7. Michele Morin

    Such a great perspective and I loved the biblical examples you gave! We do forget so often that it is God who is at work — and we are privileged to be an instrument in His hand.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen, Michele! His hands accomplish the work. We are instruments in His hands. Love that picture.

  8. Horace@pleasingtothePotter.com

    What an insightful and thought provoking post Debbie! I want to work with God…letting him take the lead of course instead of working for God. You are so right when we work with Him, He receives the glory as we help to build His kingdom! Thanks for sharing what God has laid on your heart. What a blessing! May He continue to bless you and yours in 2016!

    • Debbie Wilson

      I do too, Horace. Thank you so much for your encouragement!

  9. ~ linda

    Thank you for this insightful post!…one most of us need to read and pay attention to! Trying…that is my word that gets me in my own way. I want to step aside and let God lead me in all I am and do!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Linda, I do too. When I feel that tightness in my neck or stomach, I know I’ve put myself in the wrong position. Bless you, my friend.

  10. Kerrian Adebanjo

    Its’s not uncommon for Christians to take their plans to God and ask God to bless their plans as oppose to praying and waiting on the Lord for His will for their lives.

    When you work for God you can utterly go off track even though the intentions might be good. I further believes that working with God is an act of obedience. If you remember the story of Saul in 1 Samuel 15, you can see a typical example of “going off track”.

    Lovely post I believe you are led by the spirit. God bless.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kerrian. The example of Saul you highlighted is a perfect and sobering. He went from humility and seeing himself as unworthy to prideful insolence.

  11. Carolyn Moseley

    Thank you for sharing this today. Instead of the ” striving”, focus on Him, listen to Him and obey His voice to work WITH Him rather than FOR Him. He has it already worked out

    • Debbie Wilson

      Amen! Thanks, Carolyn.

  12. Susie Browne

    What an powerful message! This one sentence you wrote says it all: “When we serve God by working with Him, He gets the glory. His plan, through His power and in His time, builds His kingdom.”

    God doesn’t need us to work FOR Him. God wants us to work WITH Him. What a gracious God we have. To Him be the glory!!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Susie. And, amen! May He get the glory in all we do!

  13. Tasha Medellin

    Thanks for such a refreshing post! What a relief to know that we get to work with God and not for Him. We are co-laborers with Him! Blessings, Tasha

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