As a growing teenager, my natural drive to become independent seemingly developed within me a deeper sense of understanding about the stuffs of life. This crude understanding however has led me most of the times into embarrassing and regretful situations. The deceiving confidence that made me think I could handle my own problems well, make my own way out or do it by myself failed – leaving me in confusion and making me walk back towards my authorities in shame.
I have wasted and lost lots of opportunities because of my problem with submitting to authorities. Besides that, I had guilty feelings, hunger for vengeance and anger I can’t feed and can’t almost overcome.
Now, when I try to think about the more than a decade past of my life – I know and understand how immature I was then: how I thought about myself as better than others or how I would do it differently if I were in their shoes.
In the first verses of Romans 13 it says – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (Romans 13:1, 2 NIV)
Also in Titus 3: it says – Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.
It is clear that:
those who are in authority – in our families, work, church or ministry and government has been established by God and we therefore are to subject ourselves even to their judgment.
As humans however, it isn’t easy to have someone telling you what to do or how you should conduct yourself. As for me, I have pride and I somehow have a high sense of respect and worth for myself. I think that I have a wall before me that isn’t easy for others to get through. I have my own ideas and ways and they are the best – at least according to me. I am my own judge of my own world and I am right in my own eyes, so I will do it my way.
But, everyone is unique. Others don’t always agree with me and they might be also be thinking the same way as I. They are different and they as well have different views from others. They also are all good in their own ways. And they have egos to protect and thoughts to insist too.
That is why we have authorities above us. The world would be a mess without them – we will not survive. We need authorities for direction and guidance. I believe God has placed them all there and also intervenes in their affairs all the time. God has placed the responsibility to the authorities for them to lead us toward our goals and to keep us together in the midst of misunderstanding, conflicts and disagreements.
In many instances where the authorities are no longer how God instituted them to be, they are accountable to God for whatever they do. We can of course convey our questions and suspicions, complaints, distrust, anger and other things we have against them in a manner acceptable, even so, I believe that as long as they are in their position, we ought to still respect them. It is God who will deal with them if they’re wrong and how they will step down.
Truth is, a man cannot live alone for himself. We need and love to be with someone and to belong to a particular group of people or institution. Moreover, if we want to be accepted, we somehow should faithfully follow the norms and the rules. We must honor and respect who leads and submit to them.
As a man who loves God, I live for Him. My dream is His purpose for me and I will obey Him as long as I live. And because I love Him, I have united myself with the body of Christ – represented by the church where He himself is the head. I therefore do not serve any person or anyone but Jesus Christ alone. I am one with rest of his children in building His kingdom.On the other hand, the church – composed of the followers of Jesus Christ, is not yet perfect because we are all not. It is only by God’s sufficient grace that enables us to live better and be the best we could be. Though there are still disagreements, anger, envy, selfishness, and other humanly behaviors – we always struggle to resolve for His sake, uphold His commands, be a model of Christ-likeness and love one another. For the glory of the King – we will go against all odds and every challenges that will try to stop us from doing our respective roles in His kingdom building.
For people who have trouble submitting to the authorities of the church – we should remember that the church is not like the government. We cannot just impeach our bosses or quit from our jobs. We have a higher authority to whom we should submit ourselves, whose ways and thoughts are way higher than ours.
In 1Tmothyi 2:1-2: it says – I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
We should just pray then for ourselves and our situations, and also, for the authorities so that we may live peacefully and quietly… We are encouraged to aim to have peace, and to achieve it, we should humble ourselves, respect each other and must diligently and faithfully do our roles in love as an act of worship to God. Besides, all that we should’ve been doing is for His glory in the first place.
Otherwise, if we don’t want to be under a leader or can’t wait to become one – then we can stop being a hypocrite – forcing ourselves to look fine in front of others but with grudges and bitterness behind us. We can get out and build our own ministry instead or join other churches as others usually do. I think that it would be better, as long as we continue even in another place, to do our role in God’s kingdom and offer Him our skills that God has given us. We should not demote ourselves below the ladder, but whatever happens, we must make sure that we are transformed higher from glory to glory as years are added to our life.
What is your role in God’s Kingdom?
Are you doing it?
What is stopping you?