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What does the concept of "subdue" mean? How does this apply to us as Kingdom businesspeople?

Let's explore this topic together in today's devotional: 


Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  --Romans 8:37

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”-- Genesis 1:2

To subdue means to control. This simple word gives man the authority to harness the earth’s resources and to take control of ideas, instruments of production, and instruments of distribution.  God’s original intent, however, was not that we are to use those resources, ideas, production and distribution tools solely for our own benefit, but rather as children and stewards of God. We are to use them for His glory and pleasure.  

This idea to subdue has been misunderstood among Christians for centuries. It can bring to mind questions of – how much force does one use in this pursuit? What happens when there is resistance as we attempt to subdue a territory or a market?  How do we handle the conflicts that come up in our efforts to subdue?  Should Christians be interested in conquest and expanding business or personal territory?

In the Kingdom of God, when a son or daughter of God exercises authority over creation, he or she is taking hold of the gift that God gave at the beginning of the world. Like any gift, the receiver can choose what he or she does with it. God’s heart is for us to take His gifts of ideas, resources, tools, systems, etc., and to bring them into the light of His governance system. This is a key part of the process of co-creating with God, and is essential to our mandate of being fruitful and multiplying.

In business, to subdue means to establish your business as a clear leader and/or influencer in your industry or in the places where you are doing business.  Without this last phase, your influence will be short-lived and you will have limited impact.   It is difficult to steward something of God’s when you do not have legal possession of it or full control.  Our Christian influence at times is limited to the things that we have direct or indirect control of.  To subdue, or to conquer, is the final stage of fulfilling the dominion mandate.  

How do you subdue through business to the glory of God?

  1. Learn to subdue in the rhythm of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Be wise as a serpent and gentle as a dove. 
  3. Be diligent in business. 
  4. Whenever possible, take legal possession of the place where you live and do business. This includes making sure that you have the correct intellectual property protections in place (i.e., patents, copyrights, trademarks).
  5. Use all the resources you control to honor and glorify the Lord. 
  6. Keep in mind that you cannot subdue people, only things. 
  7. Everything you subdue should be in a better state after you leave it, compared to when you found it.

There have been historical abuses of this concept that has led to some of the greatest inhumane tragedies committed by Christians. However, this does not mean that we should shy away from this mandate, but rather approach it with a spirit of humility and meekness. 

My prayer for you today is that you would ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you bring God’s governance system into your business or organization.

Reflection: Are you taking dominion by consistently growing and establishing your business?

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Contribution by: Patrice Tsague – NPIM
Posted on Monday, 23 August 2021

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