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Practicing Periodic Disobedience

When you were a kid, did you ever find yourself saying, “You’re not my boss”? Hopefully not to your parents, but perhaps to a bossy older brother or a bossy neighborhood kid? Believe it or not, saying “You’re not my boss” is a great habit to get into.

Let me explain. There are all sorts of candidates for boss over your life. Think about all the things which will control your life if given the chance. Money, pleasure, entertainment, friendships, and social media will all be the overriding voice in your life if you let them. One candidate for boss of your life is one we can all relate to: food. If given the chance, food will dominate our choices so that we will begin to eat any and every time our body feels like it. We will need periodic trips to favorite restaurants. We will need dessert after every meal (especially after getting used to it during the Holidays).

You and I have wannabe bosses that have the potential of controlling our lives. So how do you show a wannabe boss that it’s not your boss? The answer is this: you disobey it once in a while.


“How do you show a wannabe boss that it’s not your boss? The answer is this: you disobey it once in a while.”


This is one of the things Jesus did during His temptations in the desert. Jesus was able to go forty days without food, and by the end of those forty days, it was pretty clear: food was not going to be Jesus’ boss. So, in the desert, when the Devil tempted Jesus with food (“Command these stones to become loaves of bread,” Matthew 4:3), Jesus wasn’t going to waver. “It is written,” Jesus replied, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Food wasn’t Jesus’ boss; God was.

If you don’t make it clear who is and who isn’t your boss, you will find yourself being controlled by things like the compulsion to binge watch Netflix, the “need” to buy the latest gadget, the compulsion to fit in, the drive to feel respected by everybody.

Whatever is running for election to be boss over your life this year, if it’s not God, then you’ll want to learn to disobey it from time to time. If it’s screen time, then periodically fast from screen time. If it’s the compulsion to be respected, then periodically allow yourself to be disrespected without feeling the need to unsheathe your pride to defend your honor. If it’s the need to have things always go your way, then practice disobeying your desires and try to make someone else’s dream happen. If it’s the compulsion to argue for your political party on Facebook, then from time to time, find something the other party’s doing right, and say, “Even if I don’t agree with everything you stand for, in this case, well done.”


“If you don’t make it clear who is and who isn’t your boss, you will find yourself being controlled by things like the compulsion to binge watch Netflix, the “need” to buy the latest gadget, the compulsion to fit in, the drive to feel respected by everybody.”


Obviously, if we’re talking about a sinful habit or impulse, then I’m not advocating for periodically disobeying it. By God’s grace, kill it (see Colossians 3:5). But there are things in your life that aren’t bad in themselves, but they can be very bossy if left unchecked. So, as you allow God to renew your everyday moments, ask yourself if there’s something in your life that’s not trying to help you along, as much as it’s trying to boss you around.

And periodically disobey it.

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