Submitting to Authority in My Life

Matthew 8:5-13 – The attitude of this centurion towards authority is impressive. Jesus was impressed by it, and when we see Jesus being impressed we should sit up and take notice.

This centurion was humble. He knew that his bloodline didn’t make him part of “the people of God.” We also see that he had a genuine concern for his servant. He believed that Jesus’ word could heal his servant.

No matter where we find ourselves in life we will find ourselves under some sort of authority. There are a number of ways we can look at authority. Today we are going to focus on how we respond to the authority that God has placed in our lives.

Let us remember that whatever authority is over us has been placed or allowed by God. When God does something there is always a purpose in his plan and way.

We have a responsibility to fulfill our role under whatever authority we find ourselves under. Think about this in a personal way… how do I respond to the authority that God has placed in my life?

Satan opposes God’s authority. We see it at the very beginning of scripture as he attempted, and successfully convinced Adam and Eve to refuse to submit to God’s authority. He is still in the business doing this.

God is very interested in how we respond to authority. How we respond to authority says a lot of where our heart is.

Philippians 2:8 – Jesus is the example that we need to follow in submission.

1 Peter 2:13-17 – Submit for the Lord’s sake. Think about Peter here. Who was the government authority in his day? Nero… a wicked, brutal fellow who used Christians as torches to light up the night. Yet, we see Peter here saying that we need to “honor the king.”

Romans 13:1-7 – We tend towards rebellion. We don’t like authority. We like to do our own thing. Because we are naturally proud and naturally selfish we naturally want to do our own thing.

God is much more interested in my attitude towards authority. Much more so than making our authority figure be a “perfect authority figure.”

There is a time to stand up for what is right. However it is only with utmost care and the leading of the spirit that we should come to that place.

As we think about authority we tend to go to the extremes. We desire the place of authority. Or we resent the authority that is over us and we desire to rebel against the authority.

Rebellion has been a problem throughout history. The tower of Babel. The Children of Israel. The Kings of Israel. and many, many more.

Jesus never participated in rebellion. He cleansed the temple. He challenged the religious leaders of the day. Jesus never lead a campaign of rebellion.

Had Jesus chosen to lead a campaign of rebellion it is very likely that would have gained an instant following. The disciples often misunderstood Jesus purpose and the kingdom that he was creating. Instead Jesus said that his followers wouldn’t fight, he also said that Caesar had rights and that his followers were to give to Caesar the things that belonged to him.

How can we ignore the example of our Christ?

We see a lot of anti-authority in our world today. Rebellion is made to look glamourous and something to desire. How do we deal with this when it is such a part of our society?

God’s authority brings order to society and protection to our lives.

Being a leader is hard. God gives grace for whatever he calls us to and he will never leave us alone in that calling… We will have to give account to God for how we lead others. All of us are leaders in some way.

We can get quite upset with all the things that are happening in our nation. It is vital to remember, always, that our King is still on the Throne!

Romans 13:2 – Does God mean what he says here?

God can perfectly orchestrate his will. He did it with Nero. He did it with Herod. He did it with Pharoah. God will always be the ultimate authority figure.

We don’t know why God allows evil people to be in authority leaders. But the truth that we must always remember is that Christ is on the throne.

Acts 5:29 – When an authority figure requires something of us that goes against the things that scripture requires of us, we do need to be ready to literally obey God.

So what is your attitude? How do you respond to the authority over you?

Before being rude, defiant, etc… there is a place for a respectful request to those in authority over us. There is a way to disagree respectfully.

Galatians 2 – Paul came to Peter and brought up something that he wasn’t being consistent on. Paul’s approach was firm but respectful.

Some thoughts about dealing with authority we believe to be in the wrong.

  • 1 Timothy – have I prayed?
  • Psalm 139 – how is my heart?
  • Have I checked my motives between why we disagree?
  • Have I checked my attitude?
  • Is my personal cause more important to me than having peace in the brotherhood?
  • Have I established a history of support for/with an authority figure.
  • Give God time to work. God has given us time to grow and change, are we willing to allow the same to happen in others?
  • Remember that we have not arrived at perfection yet either… we all have room to grow and much to learn. In fact he may want to be using my current struggle with authority to teach me something.

So… why submit to authority?

  • God said so, and it honors him.
  • Life is not about seeing whether my authority figure is worthy of my submission or not.
  • The example of Christ.
  • God will someday make all things right. He doesn’t need our help to do that.
  • My rebellion is ultimately against God himself.
  • Our testimony is at stake. Is our faith real?
  • Satan loves for us to duplicate his rebellion. Something we don’t want to do.
  • God is more interested in how we behave under bad leadership than in using us to perfect our authority.
  • Christ died for the person who is authority over us.
  • Our human way of thinking is so short sighted. What seems unfair to us may be accomplishing God’s purpose.
  • We are probably not as innocent and lacking in pride as we think we are.

The teaching of Christ is clear. We are all under authority regardless of who we are and where we find ourselves in life. Our choice is this, how are we going to respond to the authority that we find ourselves under – especially when we believe the authority that is over us is wrong?