In our Bible study, we have been studying a book by Watchman Née entitled, “Spiritual Authority and Submission.” Née makes it clear that all authority is from God and we should submit to God’s authority.
It does not matter how we feel about the one in authority. We should submit because authority is ordained by God.
As we have been studying this, I have had to take a good look at myself. I’m convinced that God wants us to respect and submit to his deputy authority (the one representing God’s authority). As a pastor, I am called by God to be the shepherd of his flock. Yet, I also am under authority.
Authority is all around us. We are either in authority or under it. I must admit that being in authority is much easier than being under. However, I have learned that in order to be a good leader, I need to be a good follower.
Believe it or not, God holds us accountable for our actions. We all must stand before the judgment seat of Christ and give an account of what we have done in this life.
Lately, it has disturbed me to see the disrespect and rebellion against God’s authority. Too many people are quick to speak out against our leaders and, in many cases, show blatant disrespect toward them in the name of freedom of speech.
There has to be a line drawn between right and wrong. I believe that God draws that line when we rebel.
As an educator I see, on a daily basis, young people who have little or no respect for authority. As we say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Our children learn from others. What we do in their presence has an effect on how they will react.
If we are going to experience God’s blessing, submission to and respect for God must be maintained. Submission is not confined to the church. Because God established all authority, we have to submit to all authority whether it is on our jobs or in our schools, governments or churches.
Now you might be thinking, “What about authority that is corrupted?” I found out that the only time we are permitted to disobey authority is when it violates God’s authority. We must be prayerful and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Just as Peter and the others stood firm when ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, we stand firm respectfully and allow God to get the glory from our lives.
Née says, “Obedience is a matter of choice; it is relative. Submission is a matter of attitude; it is absolute. If the deputy authority gives an order that is obviously contrary to God’s order, we can only submit; we cannot obey. We must submit only to the authority of God.” If we are honest with ourselves, many times it is not a matter of being asked to go against God’s authority. It is because we do not like the deputy authority.
Well, my prayer is that we learn to respect those in authority. Our city, county, state, nation and churches will be a lot better if we understand God’s order of things and love, honor and respect those in authority. You will have to look at the authority, which is established by God, and not at the person.
Pray for all our leaders. That is the Christian thing to do. After all, we say, “Prayer changes things.” Pray more for our leaders and see what God will do.
Jackson is the pastor of St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.