Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Authority

Authority keeps things in order. We stop at the red light, we obey the speed limit, and we follow the rules. Or maybe we don't. "I'll do what I want; nobody is going to tell me what to do." Follow that person and I guarantee you will see heartache and destruction. Things won't turn out well.

Authority is everywhere. As a self-employed person, I know there is no such thing as being your own boss. My boss is the customer. I have to please them and do what they want in the way they want it done.

Years ago, our kids had a youth pastor that had a firm grip on what authority was all about. He respected parental authority and was very careful never to contradict it. If he thought you were making a mistake he would speak respectfully and in private. I knew I could trust him with our kids.

When Jesus was on earth, He was under authority. Consider these words: So Jesus said to them, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. John 8:28 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment--what to say and what to speak. John 12:49

What about government? Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Romans 13:1

Church: Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. Hebrews 13:17

Family: Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Ephesians 5:22-23 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Ephesians 6:1

Work: Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 1Peter 2:18

All of us are to be under authority. We don't get to make our own rules and we don't get to bend the ones that exist. Authority brings peace in our lives. It makes things go the way they should. It brings order.

Sometimes we have a hard time doing what we are told. We think we know better or have a better way to do something. Maybe we are convinced the authority is wrong. There are respectful ways to appeal and sometimes it's good to ask questions. Being obedient and submissive is never an excuse for doing something wrong

The apostle Peter in Acts 5:29 said, "We must obey God rather than men." There are times when authority can be wrong. Does something violate God's word? If so, you follow God. Is someone telling you to do something that is sin? If so, don't obey.

We should always respect authority even if we disagree with something. We should also be very careful before we violate authority. Is our motivation pride or something that we want?

I think the main thing to remember is that God is the author of authority and He places authority over each of us. Ultimately, we are following or not following Him.

Philip

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