How I respond to the position, not the person reveals a great deal about my view of the sovereignty of God. And I believe He watches my interactions with my boss, my pastor, my co-worker, my neighbor, my husband, my children, and sometimes, even complete strangers very closely.
The Sovereignty of God
The Holy Bible tells us that God removes kings and sets up kings (Daniel 2:21) and that He puts up one and takes down another (Psalm 75:7). Therefore God is completely, and absolutely in charge of who is in position over you, who is in position at the same level as you, and who is in position below you.
In other words, it is God’s world. He created it. He ordered it. And He gets to say what happens with it. Not you. Not me. And not anyone else. So when we buck a situation, or a person, we aren’t really bucking the situation or person, we are bucking the Almighty, All-Powerful God.
This concept might be difficult to accept, but Biblical example substantiates God’s sovereignty, and what happens to those who try to challenge it.
- God sent King Nebuchadnezzar a dream, and made him live like a wild animal in the woods, so that he would let go of his pride, and embrace the absolute sovereignty of God. (Daniel 4)
- Joseph’s brothers thought they had thwarted the sovereign hand of God on Joseph’s life by leaving him in a pit to die, but God raised Joseph up to be the 2nd in command of all of Egypt. (Genesis 41)
- Pharaoh ordered that all male Hebrew children be put to death. But God saw to it, that Moses survived and thrived right under Pharaoh’s nose. (Exodus 2)
If you are still not convinced, here is a link to a deeper study on God’s sovereignty throughout history. CLICK HERE
Position, Not The Person
Sometimes in our day-to-day life we get frustrated with people. Maybe they said something unkind. Or maybe they didn’t value our opinion. The reasons are many, and varied, but the bottom line is that what they did, or didn’t do violated us, angered us, devastated us.
And so we look to the God of glory, with a hint of bitterness in our voice and say:
“How could you?” “How could you let them treat me this way?”
But what we don’t realize is that God is looking back at us and responding:
Why don’t you trust me? Why don’t you trust my intentions? Am I not sovereign over all? Did I not place this person in your life? Have I not chosen the office of a boss, spouse, neighbor, child, stranger to bless you? Why do you question my ability to place in position, those that I feel are best for you? I am watching you, and am deeply interested in your response to the position my sovereignty has placed in your life, and my choice of the person filling that position.
God holds me accountable for how I respond to the position, not the person. The office, not the individual.
Since God sets kings up, and takes them down, my resisting or complaining about how someone is fulfilling their position, is rebellion against God’s authority.
O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. (2 Chronicles 20:6)
Respond to the Position
So whenever I get in a maddening situation, I remind myself to act and respond to the position, not the person. By removing the personal and emotional ties that reacting to an individual represents, and focusing on the position, I able to keep my reactions in check.
For example, my boss may deny my time off request for no good reason, and this upset me. But instead of retaliating or getting an attitude, if I will pray and ask God how He wants me to respond to the boss’ position in this matter, I am calm, unemotional, and can hear clearly from God about whether to address the matter or not.
In contrast, if I have a fit and yell at my boss, I affect my credibility, dishonor God, and reveal a great deal about the condition of my heart.
The same formula applies if it was my pastor, or my daughter-in-law, or my neighbor. Instead of reacting to Johnny, or Suzy, or Omar, I am responding to the position of friend, co-worker, mechanic or any other positions that the Lord God has chosen to place in my life.
Yes, it can be. But when you start to realize how very grateful you are to have a spouse, a child, a boss, a neighbor, a grocery store clerk, a dry cleaner, a co-worker, a fellow Christian laborer, etc, and you realize how very lonely and overwhelmed you would be if they were suddenly taken away, and you had to fulfill all these roles on your own, your perspective changes, and it becomes very easy to praise God for the positions He has placed in your life, and the individuals He has sovereignly chosen.
Lord Jesus, forgive us for getting attitudes with those that you have planted in our lives. Forgive us for rising up in anger and self-righteousness, thinking somehow that we know better than you do who should be in position. Help us to see each position we interact with today as you do. Grant us Your mind, Your Heart, and a willingness to completely and absolutely submit to your sovereignty. In Your holy name, Amen.