November 16, 2015

I have a confession: I like being in charge.

Before I started working for Bill Johnson, our senior leader at Bethel, I ran my own businesses for over 20 years and was used to calling all the shots myself. Transitioning from that role to serving Bill was one of the most challenging and painful things I’ve ever done. It took me several years to learn how to lay myself down and come under his leadership.

Bill is one of the most amazing and honorable men I know, and I am blessed to serve under his leadership. However, I know many of you out there are struggling with a similar challenge of learning how to submit your heart to a leader or a boss with the added disadvantage of your boss not being someone as incredible as Bill Johnson, and perhaps not even a Christian at all.

It can be tempting to let a difficult boss make you miserable, bitter, and resentful, but giving into that temptation will only make things worse and you’ll actually just become another part of the problem.

Another temptation is to join your colleagues’ in airing your frustrations. Venting to your coworkers can seem like a good way to alleviate your anger, but unless they are healthy, honorable leaders in your life who can speak true wisdom into your situation, it’s probably just gossip fueling the flames of frustration in your heart.

And even if you’re not airing your feelings out loud, it is still crucial that you’re taking your thoughts captive. Thoughts like, “I could do a much better job,” or “he/she is an idiot,” are only going to plant seeds of resentment, pride, and rebellion in your heart and the situation will continue to get worse.

While you may have valid frustrations with your supervisor, the fact remains that he/she is still in a position of authority in your life, and authority demands honor. It might be tempting to dismiss this relationship because it’s “only at work,” but God is very clear about honoring leaders all throughout scripture. In 1 Peter 2:18 and 19, Peter writes, “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor…” It’s easy to submit to “good and gentle” leaders, but God says to submit also to those who are unreasonable. This is not to punish you or make your life difficult, it’s to bring you favor! When we submit to our leaders, God honors us with His favor, no matter how “wrong,” “unchristian,” or “unreasonable,” the leader might be.

Honor and submission does not mean becoming a “yes man” or losing all of your boundaries. Honor is not simply a change in your behavior, it is a change in your heart that will manifest in your behavior. Honor is a characteristic of God, and because you were made in His image it is also part of your identity in Him. When you choose to honor another person, you are making a decision to acknowledge and agree with Christ in you instead of partnering with whatever the ruling spirits are in your office.  Honor isn’t about your boss’s character, it’s about your character.

This is how atmospheres are shifted. When you choose to believe God instead of believing the lies ruling your boss or workplace, you are taking spiritual authority and changing the dynamics of your office. You may not be the one in charge of the office, but you carry all power and authority in the name of Jesus, thus enabling you to make the powerful, atmosphere-shifting decision to choose honor when everyone else chooses to complain.

If you think you aren’t in a position to change the world because you’re not traveling the globe preaching to crowds you are sorely mistaken. When you rise up and take authority and behave out of your true identity in any situation—when you take your place as royalty—the spirit realm takes notices and the world changes.

Do you struggle with honor in the workplace? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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