This post was featured on Blogs by Christian Women, and was originally a paper written for my New Testament class.
As a third year Political Science student who is passionate about the intersection between faith and vocation, I have come to regard many passages of Paul’s letters in the New Testament as major compasses for my calling in my future career. In this post I will be discussing multiple passages, as Paul’s writings have significantly impacted my vocational journey thus far.
Growing up, my parents always kept CNN running on our living room television, and they had daily newspapers on the breakfast table every morning. I was raised and educated to be conscious and informed about my neighbors around me – those in my own backyard and those far away. From watching videos of protests in government-oppressed countries to personally experiencing the IRS knocking on the door of my own home, I found governments and political leadership fascinating from a young age.
For many years I doubted that I was a “good” Christian because I was so interested in politics and the systems of power in countries, especially in the United States. I suppressed the idea of a political career because of the stigma surrounding the topic. Politics is frequently considered an ungodly subject many Evangelicals evade. If bringing it up during dinner is already discourteous, then isn’t it worse if I pursue a career in the field? With that, I struggled with the seemingly disconnected intersection between faith and politics, and attempted to explore other areas of study.
The body of Christ Paul writes about in Ephesians 4 explains how we are wired so uniquely in all different facets of life, yet we fit together perfectly as a community in pursuit for the Lord and His Kingdom with the tools He has given us. It was interesting for me to realize that whatever class I took during my exploration, I always ended up relating the subject back to politics. IT was then clear to me that God had gifted me in this way, wiring me in the body of Christ as an individual who wants to represent Him in politics.
In my freshman year, I came across a passage in 2 Corinthians 4. “Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart…we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.” Paul’s words opened my eyes: Christians working in secular environments – especially broken environments such as the American government – are witnesses and soldiers fighting on the front lines for Christ…that’s ministry. It is difficult to be “Salt and Light” for Christ in a dark and broken environment that mocks Jesus, but we are called to do His work in the way that we are all individually wired.
Ephesians 6:10-20 is the reason I chose to attend a Christian liberal arts college rather than a large top-tier research university. I believe that if I am called to do the Lord’s work in a secular environment, that is, the government, I need to be sure to “put on the whole armor of God.” Before attending college, my godfather pulled me aside during a family dinner and told me that I had made the right choice. He said that the world out there is broken beyond repair; the world rejects Jesus and rejects those who follow him. My college is a school that equips their students with the armor of God, so that we may be able to “withstand in the evil day” and “stand firm” in the truth.
Last summer, God gave me the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the broken environment He is sending me out to after graduation. I interned in a Senator’s office in Washington D.C., and though I had the best summer of my life, I spent a lot of it lamenting the sheer brokenness of the leadership of our country. The Lord reminded me that I am not yet entirely equipped for His work; I was only halfway through my time in college. I am excited to put on the armor of God, let Him set me into the broken parts of the world, and allow Christ to shine his light in the darkest corners of society.
2 Corinthians 4:4, Paul writes, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is nor ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord…” Thus, the work that we as Christians do vocationally does not and should never exalt ourselves; rather it is Him who works through us for the glory of God.
Political institutions are trying to mimic the Kingdom of God – they are trying to establish a perfect leadership in a broken world. We know it is ultimately unattainable, until the day Christ returns.
Work in any form is important to me. Whether it’s in school or in the workplace, every little task we complete should be for the glory of God. It is, at many times, incredibly difficult to do the work of the Lord and to persevere. However, that is ultimately the life we chose as followers of Christ – to live for Christ, to carry our cross, to bear witness, all for His glory. It is by the grace of God that He sustains and strengthens us and allows us to fight for Him and His Kingdom in any kind of environment or career He calls us to.