Authority…It’s Good for Us
Spring Break…a time for kids to be free! Not free from all authority however. As much as we all might have issues with authority (parents, teachers, bosses, government, etc.), Seth reminds us of the truth that God has set all authority in place, and it is for our good that we submit ourselves under His authority!
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:13-15
Sometimes I wish I could see the reaction of the first century Christians when they read these words from the apostle Peter. Maybe they thought there was a typo or Peter had a mind lapse when he encouraged the early followers of Christ to submit to the pagan leadership over them. Why would Peter encourage people to submit to someone who is not “good” or “godly”?
- Respecting human authority has nothing to do with the goodness of that authority. Christians are to respect human authority simply because God made them the authority. We see throughout scripture that God places leaders in their positions for His purpose and when we submit to the people he has put us under we are submitting to God’s plan (See Daniel for great examples of submission as well as respectful disobedience of authority). Take our kids. Do we want them to submit because we are always right? I hope not. The same goes for all the authorities in our lives.
- Respecting human authority has nothing to do with the ability of that authority to lead. Nor does it have to do with how “good” that authority is at leading. As Christians we respect authority because we recognize God is in control. God places all authorities, and He knows what He is doing. Reading through scripture we see how God orchestrated a beautiful tapestry to accomplish His tasks (check out how God used a wicked and murderous King Herod the Great to fulfill prophesy of his Son’s birth – Matthew 2:1-18)
- Respecting human authority is a faith issue. When we struggle with authorities the real issue we have is recognizing that God has placed all the authorities we have over us. Do we really believe that God knew what He was doing when He appointed the authorities over us? But scripture reminds us: Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows (Galatians 6:7). Or sometimes our issue is seeing what good is coming out of poor leadership and we must remember that God has the most amazing ability: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20).
There will always be authorities we do not see eye to eye with, and so we must trust God and respond as He encourages us: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers (Galatians 6:9-10).
What authority do you have the hardest time with right now? What is a first step you can take to trust God’s over all plan and respect their authority?