Submission To Authority

I’ve been wrestling with something as of late.  I have been noticing more, and am guilty of, the non-submission to the authorities that God has placed over us.    God has been convicting me of this over the past month or so.

The Bible is chocked full of passages about submitting to authority.  Romans 13:1 says, Everyone must submit to governing authorities.  For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God (emphasis mine).  He is not just speaking of our government leaders (police, firemen, president, etc), but he is speaking of authority in our homes and in our churches also.  When we do not submit to those that God places in authority, we are not submitting to God.  I love the quote from Eddie Rasnake.  It says, “When I submit to the leaders God places over me, I do so not in trust of them, but in trust of God who placed them.  My trust is not that they will always make the right decisions, but rather, that God is able to work in their hearts and in my life even in their mistakes.  The bottom line of submission on every level is not “Can I trust this leader,” but “Can I trust God to work in, through and in spite of this leader?”  Our lack of trust in someone does not give us an excuse to not respect them or submit to their God-given authority as a leader.  Our homes, anymore, are filled with children who have no respect for their authorities or elders.  1 Peter 5:5 says, In the same way, you younger men must accept the authority of the elders.  And all of you, serve each other in humility, for “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”  The sad thing is is that normally the parents are not teaching them to because they themselves have no respect for their elders.  Not to mention the lack of humility.  We have become a very self-serving nation where chaos and confusion run amuck.

This attitude is even infiltrating our churches in how we submit to our pastors and ministry leaders.  I love John MacArthur.  He is an awesome author and teacher.  He says this about the lack of submission to authority, “In many churches today the congregation rules the leaders. This sort of government is foreign to the New Testament.” and “It is a serious (and all too common) thing for stubborn, self-willed people in church congregations to rob their pastors of the joy God intends faithful pastors to have. Failure to properly submit brings grief rather than joy to pastors, and consequently brings grief and displeasure to God, who sends them to minister over us. Grief (stenazontes) means an inner, unexpected groaning.  It is a grief often known only to the pastor, his family, and to God. Because lack of submission is an expression of selfishness and self-will, unruly congregations are not likely to be aware of, or care about, the sorrow they cause their pastor and other leaders (Heb. 13:17).”  The scripture that he has written there (Heb. 13:17) says, “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say.  Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God.  Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow.  That would certainly not be for your benefit.”  Those in leadership are held to a higher accountability because of the authority that God has given them.  John R. Muether says, “Contrary to contemporary wisdom, the Bible teaches that one cannot yield to the authority of the Word without submitting to the authority of the church.”  Now, if the authority over us is conducting themselves in an non-Biblical manner (see Exodus 20:1-17 & 1 Timothy 3:1-13), that is different.  But if the issue that we have with submitting is more about what we want and is selfishly driven, then WE need to be the one held to accountability.  If it is offense or hurt that is causing our unsubmission, then we need to find the root of the offense and dig it out.  Why would the world be willing to submit to God’s authority if the example from the church today isn’t one of submission?  A “free-for-all” mentality within the body, where everybody has a say in everything, is a breeding ground for chaos.  It’s the “I want, I want, I want” monster.  It’s the same thing that the world says anymore, “I want more of this.  It will make ME happy.”  James 3:16 says, for wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.  Something to chew on.  Romans 12:2 says, Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.  We are to stand apart from the world.  It has gotten to where the lines are blurred between the two.  When we seek to please people (ourselves) more than we are seeking to please God, that is when the downward spiral begins.  We might as well kick the door open and lay out a welcome mat for Satan.  Submitting to our authorities isn’t a bad thing.  God places them there for OUR benefit.  We need to strive to build our leaders up instead of tearing them down by our selfish demands.  If we can change our attitude of submission within the church, then that will carry over into the home.  It can be done if we are willing to be honest with ourselves and willing to be held accountable.

My goal is to start taking a daily inventory of my attitudes for the day.  Did I submit to those God places over me or was I combative and difficult?  I have some apologies that I need to be making and yes, I am going to have to come to like crow, cause I have several of them to eat (so to speak).  It’s all part of the growth process.  So, let me ask you.  How submissive have you been to those God has placed in authority over you?  =)  Be Blessed!

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