What’s Even Worse Than a Bad Boss?

May 1, 2018 • Life for Leaders

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

Ephesians 2:1-3


At some point in life, you may have had a bad boss. Perhaps your boss was unfairly demanding and demeaning. Perhaps she was a terrible listener and never cared about what you thought. Perhaps he was inappropriate in things he said or insinuated about you. Perhaps your bad boss always took personal credit for your accomplishments and shared none with you. It could be a combination of these things or something altogether different. No matter the specifics, it’s no fun to have a bad boss.

An ominous storm cloud.According to Ephesians 2:1-3, we have all had a bad boss, one more worrisome and pernicious than what I’ve just described. Here’s how Ephesians 2 begins: “As for you, you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air…” The original language of this passage makes it clear that we once lived according to [kata in Greek] the ways of this world and according to [kata] the ruler of the kingdom of the air. In yesterday’s devotion we considered “the ways of this world.” Today we focus on “the ruler of the kingdom of the air.”

Who is this ruler of the kingdom of the air? Elsewhere in Ephesians, he is identified as “the devil” (4:26) and “the evil one” (6:16). Saturday Night Live’s Church Lady might ask, “Could it be… Satan?” Paul’s answer would be, “Yes. Satan. That’s exactly right.” (For example, 1 Thessalonians 2:18). The “kingdom of the air” over which he rules is the domain in the cosmos where we live, the lowest level of Heaven, if you will. Even though Satan’s ultimate defeat has been assured through the death and resurrection of Christ, in this present age, he continues to wield authority over the earth, within the limits established by God.

To put the matter bluntly, we who live on this earth have a bad boss, an evil, deceitful ruler who seeks to hurt us, ruin this world, and dishonor God in every way possible. Of course, in many segments of the western world today, belief in personified evil is mocked as antiquated and naïve. Yet, biblical teaching is clear that evil does not reside only in human hearts and human cultures. It is concentrated in a supernatural being who, though in no way God’s equal, has the power (and the powers) to influence our lives. Before we were set free from this power by God’s grace, we lived under it, even if we denied its existence.

This is not good news, of course. Nobody wants to have a bad boss, let alone a supernatural one. Yet, the bad news of Satan’s dominion over the world prepares us to hear the good news of God’s victory and deliverance through Christ. We’ll get to that good news soon.

Something to Think About:

What are your thoughts and feelings about Satan?

How might acknowledging his power make a difference in your life?

Something to Do:

One of the main things Satan does is to tempt us to turn away from God. Take some time to consider the temptations of your life. What are they? Why are they powerful? What helps you to resist them?


Gracious God, honestly, the existence of Satan is something I would rather ignore. It can feel so old-fashioned to speak of Satan, so un-hip and naïve. Plus, I’m not at all happy about the idea that some supernatural being has the power to influence my life. Yet, I am committed to trusting Scripture, even when its truth is something I’d rather avoid. Help me to know and believe what is true.

Lord, as I am confronted today with the reality of personified evil, I am grateful for the implicit good news, namely, that I once walked according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, but do so no longer because of your grace in Christ. Help me to live as a free person, free from evil’s grasp, free to serve you fully in every part of life. Amen.


Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary:
The Beginning of the Gospel (Mark 1:1-13)



8 thoughts on “What’s Even Worse Than a Bad Boss?

  1. Guy Troup says:

    “My chains fell off, I’ve been set free,
    My God my Saviour has ransomed me.
    And like a flood his mercy reigns,
    unending love, amazing grace!”

    – Chris Tomlin, “Amazing Grace”

  2. Jim Beesley says:

    The first thought I had regarding the identity of the bad boss was that it has been me, dead in sin, thinking of self, ordering bad choices, etc. When I in my sinful nature run things and I listen and submit, it is not pretty. Praise the Lord that I am crucified buried and raised with Christ and can be a new boss in the Holy Spirit, and am taught not to listen to that other bad boss too.
    I have been strengthened through these devotionals, especially the Easter series. It has helped inform my preaching through April and the next two Sundays.

  3. Scott Gaddie says:

    So many people, both inside the church and out, foolishly gloss-over or outright deny the power that Satan wields over this earth.
    We, as believers, have been set free from the power of the evil one, yet the world around us has not. Understanding the dichotomy that exists on this front is, in my opinion, absolutely crucial to being an effective representative of Christ in this age and culture.

    Thank you, Dr. Roberts, for another excellent commentary!

  4. David Akognon says:

    Amen. I really like this . Expecially the prayer.
    Thank you lord for the life the grace and protection.
    Help me wolk in your son Jesus steps

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