God's original intent was for man to rule and reign over the earth, together with Him, by the authority entrusted to them. "The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's; but the earth He has given to the children of men.1 God blessed them and said, "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."2
God extended His ownership over everything He created and over the people who lived on the earth. "The earth is the Lord's, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein."3
This is why Jesus prayed that whatever was in heaven would be manifested on the earth. He was wanting to restore all that had been lost. His desire for His people has always been for them to be at the top of every sphere of society, not because we are better than others, but because He wants to reveal His love in every human being in every aspect of society. He told the people of Israel this in Deuteronomy 28:13-14:
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
The context of this verse was in Israel's relationship to other nations. Israel had a problem with adopting the idols of other nations. God said, "Be faithful to Me, and you will be above the other nations."
An important understanding and distinction must be stated at this point. Dominion, or perhaps a better word to use is influence, is a result of our love and obedience to God, not a goal to be achieved. It is the fruit of our obedience. Otherwise we begin to use fleshly strategies to exploit and subjugate others to our way of thinking.
Jesus never sought to have dominion; rather, He encouraged others to love and obey God. It is better that we avoid the word dominion in our culture today due to the connotation that comes with this word of control and manipulation of others. It also reminds people of a flawed movement in the body of Christ called dominion theology that caused great harm to many.
On August 19th during a CNN Situation Room broadcast with Wolf Blitzer, Jack Cafferty attempted to tie Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry to dominionsim theology. He took their words out of context, yet the very word "dominion" brought out the worst in the secular media for fear that Christians want to rule the world.
When we operate from love and service, we will be attractive to the world. They will desire to follow. We become solution providers to the issues of mankind. Jesus solved people's problems, which resulted in greater influence in people's lives. Loren Cunningham once said, "Use your authority and you will lose your influence; use your influence and you will gain authority."
Influence without humility and relationship (with Jesus and others) means we operate from our individual personal agendas, which is what the evangelical church has done in many instances.
3. Psalm 24:1.
4. Gabe Lyons, The Next Christians, p 53.