One habit that has brought consistent good to my life has been that of reading a chapter from the book of Proverbs everyday.  Doing so allows me to digest the book every month, and it provides a tremendous diet of thought-provoking wisdom for meditation everyday.

This morning, reading Proverbs 29 leads me right into one of the verses that has been challenging me constantly for the past couple of years.

When the [uncompromisingly] righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man rules, the people groan and sigh. Proverbs 29:2 (AMP)

When the righteous are in authority... Prov 29:2

Naturally, it is easy to interpret this verse from its obvious political perspective.  It was, after all, written by a king.  There is, however, a deeper perspective that I think is far more significant and certainly more relevant — since most of us will not share Solomon’s political authority.

What does it mean for me to be in authority?

If I consider myself ‘righteous’ by way of covenant (certainly not based upon performance), how do I exhibit the quality of being “in authority?”

One of the most critical challenges this has presented to me personally is that of following orders.  How can I be “in authority” if I am not first in submission?  In other words, as I hear and live out the call of God on my life, I carry authority.  If I am “off post,” I have no authority.

We’ve all met people who exhibit this quality.  You can tell by the look in their eye, by the way they carry themselves . . . you can even feel it in the grip of their handshake.  It is as if everything about them says, “I know who I am.  I know what I am doing.  I am unstoppable.”  This is the mark of a person who is being who they were created to be.

As leaders in the marketplace, it is critical that we are in touch with headquarters to understand, in real time, who and what we are called to be.

If we work without authority, we lack effectiveness.  We spin our wheels.  We are prone to find ourselves adrift.

On the other hand, when we have allowed God to reveal to us who we are, and are in the habit of hearing Him, we are focused and productive.  We say “no” to the things that would divide our focus.  We attract those who can help us execute our vision.  People respond.

This isn’t to say that we won’t face challenges.  On the contrary, someone carrying authority will attract attention – both supportive and in opposition.  But, well-equipped and centered, we will rise to the occasion at every turn.

In your business or organization, which set of attributes characterize the way things work?  Are people focused or distracted?  Is the organization proactive or reactionary?  Are you fruitful or unproductive?  Are people rejoicing or goaning and sighing?  Is there a focused vision or haphazard trajectory?  Do people find work fulfilling or frustrating?

It might be time to examine our level of authority.

Note: this was originally published on August 29, 2006 on one of my now-defunct blog sites. I happened to stumble across it today and found it perhaps more timely today than ever. I hope you find it meaningful as well. -David

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