What does it mean to work WITH God?
Recently a friend gifted me a copy of “The Story of With” by Allen Arnold, and I devoured it on our family vacation in January. I had heard Allen interviewed about his story and the book by Jordan Raynor on his Mere Christians podcast in the fall of 2022, and having mentioned the book to my friend, I was pleasantly surprised when I received her gift!
As I usually do while reading books, I underlined passages, wrote in the margins, and found so many truths about what it takes to work with God for myself. As also usually happens, the Holy Spirit got me thinking about how to apply these concepts to business, not only for myself, but for the Christian women in business I serve through my coaching, writing and my podcast.
I loved it so much that I decided to make WITH the theme of my Q1 2023 half-day retreat for guiding women to integrate faith and business.
Now, like me, you might think that we surely know how to work WITH God in our businesses because, duh, He permeates all areas of life with His sovereignty. It’s also logical because we know how our relationship with God works, and we know what to do in business, so naturally that works together.
Yet what I heard time and again in the room that day is “I know what to do with my faith, and I know what to do in my business, but I don’t know how to put them together.”
A gap exists between faith and business that often leads us to overwhelm, overachievement and missing out on the clarity, serenity and fulfillment that comes from living out the abundant life Jesus promises.
What I realized is that God is always inviting us to His more, His plan, His work, and to be His co-laborers, but He doesn’t force it on us: we have the free will to choose working with God.
To quote Allen Arnold from the book: “we can either run with God or run from God, but the only way to experience His miracles is to put ourselves in position and to operate from a posture in which we actually need him.”
I believe we often lower and limit our expectations based on what we know we can do, and because we like to be in control. However, that’s leaving God out and trying to fit Him into our box. Let’s stop doing that by truly committing to working WITH Him.
So how do we work WITH God?
I used my 4 Keys framework to guide retreat attendees in answering that question:
What does it mean to work WITH God? How does this shape my identity?
Let’s start with defining WITH from a standard dictionary:
- In the company of
- In addition to, or as an accessory to
- In close proximity to
- By means or agency of
- Being chosen as His co-laborer
Here’s how the Bible defines doing anything WITH God (applicable to your business too)
You are His chosen co-laborer and ambassador. (1 Corinthians 3:9)
He defines the fruit you will yield in the marketplace. (Psalm 1:2-3)
The Holy Spirit has equipped and qualified for this mission. (Ephesians 2:10)
And your identity in Christ can never be taken away, no matter what you do or don’t accomplish! You are not defined by This identity cannot be taken away from you or defined for you by:
- Your achievements
- Your results
- Your progress
- Your failures
Remember who you are and WHOSE you are!
To quote Allen Arnold again: “WITH God, the priority is presence over performance, intimacy over independence.”
How are we directed for working with God by God’s own directions, and how do we lean in more to understand and accept His direction?
You let God direct you by surrendering YOUR vision, goals, action and results. Which means surrendering control. GASP! I know!
It means you tune out the world, tune into God’s Truth and turn up your F.O.C.U.S.:
Trading your “good” for His best:
Your knowledge for His.
Your way for His.
Your strength for His.
Your power for His.
Your performance for His Grace.
And most of all, replacing your earning for receiving His love, grace and mercy.
How do we actually “do” work with God? It takes discipline:
Discipline of seeking Him first daily (and throughout our work time) – these questions will help:
- Where are you working that I may join You?
- Whom can I serve today who needs my services & expertise?
- How can I best glorify You in my work today?
- Lord, help me find one more…
Discipline of obedience = taking action. These daily disciplines will help:
- Start and end your day in prayer
- Build your schedule around His direction
- Take the action He’s directed
- Use the Focused 15 Minutes exercise: set a timer for 15 minutes and work on only one task until the timer goes off
Disciplined focus – when you get distracted, stop and ask yourself these questions:
- Am I being productive or just active?
- If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied?
- What is the one thing I can do right now that will make everything easier or unnecessary?
Working with God takes development, because it doesn’t come naturally. So let Him develop your WITH muscle!
- Commitment and Consistency takes development
- Surrender takes development
- Obedience takes development
- Discipline takes development
- Working with expectancy takes development
When you work WITH God, you’ll experience the abundant life Jesus promised in John 10:10! That looks like:
Yielding your visible, identifiable fruit
Calm, peace, enjoyment
Impact/encouragement of others
It will often look abundantly more than you could think or imagine! (Eph 3:20)
You will also experience fog sometimes as the enemy seeks to get you drifting off course. And when you do, go back to these 4 keys. Download your copy at https://erinharrigan.com/4Keys
Here are a few questions to ask God as you pray over working WITH Him more consistently and effectively to honor Him:
- Define: How is my identity misaligned to your definition of me? Am I allowing achievements, productivity, and “success” to define me?
- Direct: What gets in the way of me hearing and obeying your direction?
- Discipline: Where do I need to be more disciplined? What is distracting me?
- Develop: What stops me from allowing you to have your way in my business? How can I be more attentive to what you’re developing in me?
In the end, the key is WITH. As Psalm 27:14 in The Message version tells us: Stay with God. Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again, stay with God.
If building a Kingdom business is your priority, the right coach can help you align your strategy to work WITH God, keep you accountable and focused in doing that day in and day out, and to encourage you along the way. And that coach could be me! Let’s chat about it – DM me!