Friday, April 11, 2014
This is Commendable
Romans 13:1-2 - Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
I did a little study on submission and spiritual authority. I understand the biblical view of it. I understand how right and wrong came to be in this world. I understand also how hard it can be. And I had no idea I would have so much to share.
It started with Lucifer, determined to be greater that God, wanting his posts to be higher than God's clouds and stars. Impossible! What arrogance! And where did it take him...completely separated from God. He has become the ruler of today's world, satan. And he is fighting tooth and nail to get us to believe he was right and somehow that God is wrong. Well, it ain't gonna work.
GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL. Many people are rebellious against God; yet some understand the act of submission He requires. And that some may be a very few. He knows better than we. He knows what we need better than we do because He knows what is in store for us. He also holds our eternal future in His hands based on this principal of submission. This goes for every person. This goes for me.
I think some believe in submission, to a point. In the world they might be willing to submit to some authorities in their lives, but not all and don't talk to them about the ultimate submission...to God. After all, who can see Him? Who can say what He commands us to do...especially when we don't pay enough attention to Him and His Word? We may not have not come to a point where submission to Christ is understandable, but we can see a boss, a husband, a military authority, even a president.
We are inherently rebellious. It's all about me. It's all about what I want to do, who I see myself as, how I have gotten where I am. At a certain time in a child's growth even he understands how to get what he wants. It starts early. It's called pride, which I think is the greatest of all sins.
I remember using these words years ago after I bicycled Europe: I got from Point A to Point B under my own power; that was quite an accomplishment and I'm proud of it. Who gave me that power? Today I see who gave me the strength to overcome obstacles during the ride, the long hours, the sore bottom and over-pushed leg muscles, illness, even the personality differences. I see the determination He gave me, the confidence. I even see where He protected me when I might have been in a bad situation. His eye was on the proverbial sparrow!
Imagine how different anything in our lives might be if we were totally under God's submission. The heights and depths of circumstances and how He got us through. When we are submissive to God only good comes of it. It's not easy though when we are so strong-willed, naturally.
In the world we can think we are greater. We can resist authority because we believe we have more to offer than "this guy." But we are still called by God to submit to all authority, whether right or wrong. Seems illogical, but that's part of being a Christian. Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. (1Peter 2:18) And it's not just about servants and masters today. It's about any authority. It's all about trials we go through...and how we go through them. Remember, many were, and still are, martyred who followed Christ. It's why His ways are along the narrow road. The world takes the wide path, but it will ultimately lead to destruction. So much still to learn...
So what happens when authority is wrong? According to what I read in His Word, we are still to submit. Even our grumbling and complaining, our seeing others' faults, which we ALL do against authority, is not submitting to God. Ugh. We can bring up our grievance, but if it is struck down, we must submit to whoever the authority is. It's a hard thing.
I read this: Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian pastor who spent fourteen years being tortured in communist prisons said the following about spiritual authority. [And this may not be the type of situation we might be faced with, although it could.] "Christians are soldiers who belong to an army. They have commanders, and must obey them. Christ Himself 'gave some apostles...some pastors and teachers.' Nobody can be a Christian and declare Jesus as his only pastor, just as nobody can obey a general while refusing obedience to the captain, or even the sergeant, though these are much less competent than the commander-in-chief." (If Prison Walls Could Speak) Yes, Jesus is our highest authority, but we have others in this world as well, unless we are completely cut off from the world.
While we might recognize something that is out of place, a wrong thought, a wrong dealing, we do not have to like it, but we might still have to be obedient to that authority. God will deal with that authority in His time. He will see us through if we are obedient to Him, even if we are wrongfully treated. I can't even imagine being in a situation like this in some grand thing, but Jesus was accused of an awful lot and He paid the price with His mouth shut. Others will pay for their wrongdoing; it's up to us to stay clear of it, being submissive to the authority.
Might our arguing bring strife? Might it make us look to be troublemakers? Wow, a fine line for us to submit to authority even if it is wrong in our eyes. I think of Jesus' words from an earlier blog...What concern is that of yours? Or even these words He spoke, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You must follow me." (John 21:22) I think in our worldly bodies our prideful, rebellious nature so wants to be right in our thinking. Don't we just have all the answers? Not!
God knows the outcome and will deal with all parties based on their ability to do, or not do, what He requires, part of which is submit. Submit to God's authority for He ultimately, if He is in complete control, placed that person in authority...again whether right or wrong. There were good kings and bad whom He put into power. It's all about each of us individually and our response in all situations. For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (1Peter 2:19-20) Commendable.
Jesus is to be our highest authority. But like Wurmbrand said, we still have worldly people with whom we are to submit. That might be an unbeliever or believer. Do we ever always get it right? I'm sure we don't. God will show us; He might even bring conviction. It might come from one in lesser authority or even in one in whose higher authority we should be submitting to!
If we submit to our boss we are looked upon as being a good employee. We might get a raise and accolades. The outcome is good. Think of God as our boss. We do as He says and the ultimate outcome will be "well done, good and faithful servant." It is God who is the ultimate righteous judge. We are just called to submit. ...Easier said than done...
Acts 14:22 - strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”