From the age of eight years old, Josiah ruled Judah. Thrust into leadership after his father was assassinated, Josiah was wise beyond his years. The Bible tells us at age 16 that Josiah began to seek God. He started to initiate reform in Judah. By the time he was 20 he went to remove the idols, high places and asherim throughout his kingdom.
Josiah brought down idols and wicked places. He also removed the more insidious of the strongholds, which were the practices or religious habits. While those actions removed physical structures and creations they also represented mental and spiritual strongholds. A culture of idolatry. Not a culture in an ethnic sense but a culture in a corporate sense.
To combat this Josiah instituted worship and God’s Law back into the culture and at the same time removed the physical representations of the strongholds in people’s lives. His reign was characterized as good by the Bible. It’s said he followed the ways of his forefather David.
What Josiah understood is easy to miss a few thousand years later. He knew that it wasn’t enough to remove easily seen sins, but that they must replace a idolatrous culture with one that honors and worships God. He led by leading the way with worship, to create a new culture.
Culture is Collective Influence
Typically you think of culture as one of two things. Either you think about your ethnic culture, how people behave based on where they are from, or you think of a corporate culture, the way a company behaves. However, culture is a collective influence, or an influential atmosphere. To see what I mean ask youself this. When you go to work, do you behave differently than you do at home? That corporate culture is influencing your behavior. The same is often true when you get among different groups. You only have to look at how you act at church and how it differs from other places to see that the collective influence is pressuring you modify your behavior.
How does culture impact our behavior?
A company can’t say their core values are integrity and customer care, without highlighting the action part of that statement. In fact, one company founder threw out the word values and called them virtues because of that very struggle. Most mission statements fail due to this reason, there is no action associated with the statement. For a culture to be influential it has to be associated with actions. These actions are often repeated in this context and create habits. If your company culture is one that describes authenticity as being able to cuss at work and everyone is cussing (taking the action). This action repeated over time will likely lead to you cussing as well.
Why is this important?
Religion As A Corporate Culture
Religion, ” a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices”(Merrian-Webster Dictionary) is almost synonmous with culture. Notice, in order to institute change Josiah had to completely change everything, including the habits of the people. From top to bottom. From the symbols used, to the meeting and social interactions. He had to change their religion, literally and figuratively.
Most of us reading this won’t immediately believe we have physical, visible strongholds. However, I think it is worth taking a look anyway. There are physical ailments that might be strongholds, but maybe even worse are the physical totems disguised as busyness or perhaps masquerading as a hobby. Most of us battle with hidden high places and spiritual influences and don’t realize it.
Satan isn’t all-knowing, but he does know our biological design and our desires. He can clearly see what’s going on our life whether it be physical, mental or spiritual. The Bible calls him a “lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)” and calls him the “god of the air (Eph. 2:2).” He’s the ultimate spy. He has all the inside information about our Lord and about us. He knows more than we do and uses it against us.
To see how he uses our own design against us, we need to understand how easily we are influenced. If we understand these patterns to our life we can then have the tools to tear down the strongholds, heal our hurts and begin living truly like a king all through the power of Christ.
How To Change Your Corporate Culture
If you want to change your corporate culture you have to do a few things. Whether you’re a family, a congregation or a company, these rules still apply.
Remove The Idols
Just like Josiah remove the idols, you have to do that as well. For a family this might mean you look for places that are sucking up your time. This could be video games, screen time in general, or kid’s sporting events. Anything that has elevated itself over your family priorities could be an idol. In the corporate setting, it might be more hidden. In my experience company idols are typically promises that were made when the company was small that no longer make sense. Daily meetings, micro-management, a committment to overspend on technology could all be idols. You could be ‘known’ as a company that does “X” but God is telling you to shift to the less glamorous “Y.”
The key is saying, “nothing is sacred” except what God wants here. Be willing to tear down anything structure or ideal that is higher than God’s will.
Remove The High Places
Similar to idols, high places are often things that take up our time, talent our treasure in both our personal life and company life. Josiah destroyed the idols completely and removed the high places. High places are your habits or actions behind some of your choices. In order to remove the high places you have to redeem the time by becoming accountable.
At home, this might look like personal time. The habit might be browsing youtube or instagram while eating dinner.
I wrote previously about how I battled with sarcasm. Because of the way I talked (my habit of communication), I created a culture in our home of sarcasm.
In the workplace this will require the courage to call out the bad behavior. It might take some repentance on your part if you’re the leader for allowing it to happen. However, that could be a great opportunity to shine the light.
Change Your Religion
Josiah didn’t just run around and tear things down. He replaced those bad habits his people had with new ones. While forcing a new thing on someone is never readily accepted if you’ve removed any alternative it makes it a bit easier.
In other words, it’s great to remove negative influences in your life, but you must replace them with something positive. This means at home, you create structure, and implement new family rituals. For example, everyone eats dinner together and leaves their phones on silent.
In the workplace, after you’ve created this new religion of accountability, and called out bad behavior. It’s time to implement new behavior. The more systematic you make this at your workplace the easier it will be to change because you’ll be leveraging our natural tendency to form habit loops.
What do you think?
What are some religious habitst that need to be removed from your workplace or your family culture?