I Found Something Better Than Working for God

by | Jan 12, 2021 | Faith, Ministry | 32 comments

Have you become worn out or disillusioned working for God? Sometimes we need an attitude shift. When we work for God, we make mistakes in “His name.” We bruise people, become resentful, proud, or burned out. We may even hurt His kingdom instead of building it.

Moses thought he was working for God when he murdered an Egyptian taskmaster. Saul of Tarsus thought he was working for God when he threw Christians into prison. The Pharisees and religious leaders believed working for God put them a notch above everybody else (Luke 18:11).

A Better Way

What’s better than working for Jesus? Working with Jesus.

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. He leads; they follow.

  • 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).

I used to put standards on myself and beat myself up when I failed to meet these expectations. I’m learning my job is to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading. Trusting Jesus to lead takes effort. But faith is the work that pleases God.

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

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

Four Ways of Working with God

  • Ask God to show you if and where you’ve substituted self-effort for faith.
  • Admit your inadequacy and surrender your will, your way, and your time table to Him.
  • Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and to teach you how to rely on Him in every area of your life—not just in ministry/spiritual areas. If you are trusting Him in every area but one, you’re still striving.
  • Thank Him for leading you.

When have you experienced the difference between working for and working with God?

Click here to comment.


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  1. Michele Morin

    We do need a perspective adjustment. I love verses in the Bible that remind me of all.the ways God works FOR and WITH me!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Me too, Michele.

  2. Brenda Flowers

    Thank you for these reminders to tell if we are working with God. Thank you for your prayers as that is my desire.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Mine too, Brenda. It’s easy to leap before we check to see if He’s calling.

  3. J.D. Wininger

    What a great question to ask. As soon as I read your title though, I must admit I responded with “living for”. I love how you turned my thoughts with your probing question Ms. Debbie. Thank you so much!

    • Debbie Wilson

      J.D. I like that one too! Maybe you can write that blog!

  4. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. Working with God. Yes, Yes! Glorify Him in all our words and actions. Shine His light so others will come to know Him.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes, we need His power and restraint. Thanks, Melissa.

  5. Ann J Musico

    What a big difference one little word makes!!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Isn’t that the truth! Thanks, Ann. I know you walk with Jesus.

  6. Karen Friday

    Debbie, what a difference two small words make. “For” and “with” makes all the difference in the world! This statement in the introduction drives home the point so well: “When we work for God, we make mistakes in ‘His name.’ We bruise people, become resentful, proud, or burned out. We may even hurt His kingdom instead of building it.”

    • Debbie Wilson

      Karen, I think those responses can serve as good barometers to make sure we’re following Jesus and not trying to lead Him! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  7. Katherine Pasour

    My first reaction was, “What a strange title for your post!” Of course, after I read it, I realized that you are right on target. This is something I struggle with so I’m grateful for your message. I am going to write down those four strategies to “work with God.” Thank you, Debbie.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Katherine, it is a strange title that I hope will make us think! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  8. Sylvia A Schroeder

    “Those who work for God ask Him to bless their ideas. Those who work with God join Him in His plan.” Loved that Debbie! Thank you.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Sylvia!

  9. Jeannie Waters

    When I’ve assumed roles or made my own plans, I thought I was “working for God.” When He calls me to a task and I trust Him, it feels like “working with God,” which yields peace, even if the task is hard. Thank you, Debbie, for pointing out important differences.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Jeannie, I’ve felt the difference too. And I know I can start with God and try to take over too. 🙂

  10. Kristen Parnell

    I loved this line: “What’s better than working for Jesus? Working with Jesus.” Thank you for sharing this timely truth!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kristen! Blessings.

  11. Maree Dee

    What a difference a word can make. I find that I start out working with God.
    It is His idea and plan, but then I frequently turn into working for God. And then He so kindly whispers in my ear, no wonder you are exhausted; that is not what I had in mind. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insightful questions. I am going to feature your post this Friday for our Grace & Truth Link-Up. I hope you have a great week. Maree

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Maree! I’m delighted you want to share it. And I do the same thing!

      • Maree Dee

        I made a graphic of one of your quotes to include. I hope that is okay? Drop me an email if you don’t want me to use it. I put you as the author.

  12. Kunene Theodorah

    Thank you for the lesson, working for God and working with God. I thank God for such a lesion we tend not to make a difference. May God give you more insight and be blessed

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Kunene. God bless you too!

  13. Barbara Harper

    It’s so easy to get caught up in all the “stuff” we’re doing and get our focus in the wrong place. I love how just one word can sometimes shift that perspective back where it needs to be. I think I have that book on my shelf–I need to read it!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Barbara, I love how Jesus invites all who are weary and heavy laden to come and find rest! I think that says it all. He never meant for us to carry the loads we pile up on ourselves.

  14. Pam Ecrement

    LOVE this, Deb! Couldn’t agree more!!!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Pam! So good to hear from you.

  15. Theresa Boedeker

    We were just talking about this in our small group. Not working for God, but working with God. Yes, one word can make such a big difference.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Yes it does! That is wonderful your group sees the difference. Thanks, Theresa!

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