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No two people on earth are exactly alike. But there is one thing that can be said of every one of us: we have each been entrusted with three resources to manage. And your skill at exercising stewardship over these precious commodities has an incalculable impact on your quality of life, and your complexity of life.

Those resources are time, material things, and relationships. What may be the most important and impacting resource of all is relationship management.

Right now I want to look at the area of relationships in which believers seem to make the most mistakes and thus complicate their lives unnecessarily. We're going to explore two types of relationships involving authority.

We might as well face it; our most significant relationships always involve authority. Whether it's the authority we exercise or the authority we are under.

God uses different levels of authority to bring direction to the body of Christ. It's the way He produces cohesion and productivity in terms of corporate or group efforts. We are all accountable to someone else's authority.

There are five guidelines we can extract from the scriptures that will govern the management of our relationships when we're responding properly to authority:

Let Every Soul Be Submitted Unto Authority (Rom. 13:1)
First of all, we must recognize that any office of authority, regardless of the person standing in it, is ordained of God. The Bible makes this clear in numerous places. For instance:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
(Rom. 13:1-2)
God maintains order in society, the church, the family, and throughout creation by the establishment of different levels of authority. God ordains these offices to bless you.

He places the individuals in these positions, and expects us to honor, respect, and esteem both the office, and the person holding that office.

Servants, Be Obedient Unto Them (Eph. 6:5)
Secondly, we as Christians must obey the direction or instruction that comes from that office of authority. Of course, you must measure everything against the standard of the Word.

Submission does not mean blind obedience, but it does recognize the need for authority in order to avoid chaos and confusion.

Doing Service As Unto The Lord—Not Unto Man (Eph. 6:7)
Thirdly, give your very best effort to do your part, to make your contribution to the corporate effort. God is saying wherever you work, you give the 100% you're capable of giving. You put in more hours than are necessary.

You work harder than anybody else does. You be there early. Leave late. Give Him all you can possibly give Him. Not to please man, but because you're doing this as unto the Lord. You'll be blessed when you do.

Let Your Light Shine (Matt. 5:16)
Fourth, don't preach. Don't lecture your unsaved husband or wife. Don't preach to your unsaved manager or boss.

The Bible says if you live your life by the standard of God's Word, God can change the life of an unbeliever.

Your lifestyle will convict another person of their sin if you live by the standard of the Word.

Pray For Those in Authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
Lastly, the Bible calls us to pray for those in positions of authority. It doesn't matter who the person is. It doesn't matter whether or not you agree with their theology or political viewpoint. We are to pray earnestly for those we serve.

Remember, we are to respect, honor, and esteem that office of authority because God has ordained it. When you do so, God will bless you both for your obedience.

When somebody is accountable to you, whether it's a child, a spouse, or in the work place, you must manage those relationships well if you're going to get the most out of them and exercise the greatest degree of godly influence possible.

This is a very different dynamic than relating to somebody to whom you're submitted. As we look to the Word, we find four keys to managing this type of relationship:

He Who Wishes to be Great (Mark 9:35)
First of all, your motive in the exercise of authority must be to serve those under your authority. Today, most people in positions of authority try to exercise their influence through the strength of the position they hold.

This "positional authority" says, "I'm the boss; you do what I say." To be effective in influencing those submitted to your authority, you must have a servant's attitude. This is what the exercise of authority is all about, serving those that God has entrusted to your care.

But The Greatest of These Is... (1 Cor. 13:13)
Secondly, authority only works when submission is willing and from the heart. There's only one thing that makes that happen, and that's when the person who is submitting is confident that the one they're submitting to loves them.

Love is what makes authority work. When a person understands you have their best interest at heart, they will respond without fear to the direction you give.

Provoke Not Your Children to Wrath, But Bring Them Up in The Nurture (Eph. 6:4)
One translation says, "bring them up with affectionate care and attention." As you manage this type of relationship, don't threaten and intimidate those under your authority.

It'll only generate anger and hostility. Walls will go up, and schism and division will follow. Instead, admonish or exhort them with affectionate care and attention.

Train Up a Child (Prov. 22:6)
Lastly, you need to realize that a major part of your authoritative responsibility is to train those submitted to you. God expects you to cultivate the gifts of God within them and help them grow in the call of God on their life.

Whether we're talking about your children, your staff, or the people answerable to you in the work place, part of the authority you exercise is to help others realize the call of God on their life.

You have a responsibility in this training process. It's a responsibility given to you by God when He places you in a position of authority over others.

Time and money management are very important to a simplified lifestyle, but they pale in comparison to the need for us to effectively manage our relationships with others.

One man, Jesus Christ, was so influential in His day, that the world crucified Him in an attempt to stop Him. But when Jesus rose from the dead and sent the Holy Spirit, He opened the way for us to influence the world with the love of God.

Copyright © Mac Hammond Ministries
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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