must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority
except that which God has established.
The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the
authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so
will bring judgment on themselves. 3For
rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one
in authority? Then do what is right and
he will commend you. 4For
he is God’s servant to do you good. But
if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to
bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore,
it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible
punishment but also because of conscience.
I firmly believe that to be in a place of authority, we must first be able to submit to authority. Every human being on this earth is under some sort of authority. Jesus was even under authority; both earthly and (obviously) heavenly. I believe this view on authority is often overlooked when it comes to leadership.
Two Biblical examples stand out for me: The story of David and Saul (I Samuel 18-31) and the story of the centurion’s faith (Luke 7:1-10). The centurion understood authority. He knew Jesus was a man of authority to the point that he did not even feel worthy of Jesus’ presence. The centurion explains his view of authority. He described that he leads men himself and so he knows what it means to be in authority and under authority. Jesus commends him for this. The other example, of David, is the one that I will refer to as I finish this article.
As I was growing up, people pointed out to me that I had leadership skills. At that time, I thought that a leadership “position” was a far off destination. Therefore, I began to exert my ‘leadership authority’ onto others. Of course, I failed. While doing this, I was also fairly rebellious toward authority in my life. When I started growing older and began earning positions of authority by merit, I began to realize that in order to be an effective leader; I had to be able to submit to authority.
David understood this early on. As Saul is chasing him all across Israel, David has the opportunity and right to kill Saul. David’s stance was that of submission. In each case, David refused to take the life of the Lord’s anointed. David understood that Saul was placed in authority by God. God blessed David because of this.
I may not agree wholly with my authority figures (government, church leaders, ministry leaders, bosses, etc.) however, I do understand that they are placed in their authority positions. Now, there are those who would think that my stand here is nothing more than me being a “suck up”. I believe there is a difference between submission and “sucking up”.
By submitting, I understand my place and my role within God’s hierarchy. My submission gives me freedom to properly exert my authority. Through my submission I have created trust in me by the one leading me. My submission gives me proper power and authority. And like verse 5 notes, my submission gives me a clean conscience. My submission serves my followers, my leader, and myself in a healthy way. David kept his conscience clean by pointing out to Saul that he had opportunity to take authority by force, yet he submitted to Saul’s authority.
On the other hand, if I am a “suck up”, then I serve only me and my agenda. This “sucking up” might get me up the ladder (so to speak) but really offers no true power or authority. I cease to be authentic and become only a poser. Eventually, my leadership will come to a crashing halt. My manipulation will be revealed.
Ultimately, when I am rebelling against my authority figures, I am rebelling against God. I have noticed in my life that when I am in rebellion, my beef really is with God. God is showing me something, teaching me something, and I don’t like it. Once I submit, life seems to move smoother.
As I examine my life and where I need to submit, I ask you to do the same. Look for where you are lacking in submission to authority in your life and where it ties to God. Where do you need to submit? Conversely, where have you submitted in a healthy way and seen success? Notice how God has blessed you?
1. What are your thoughts on this statement, “To be in a place of authority, we must first be able to submit to authority”?
2. Explain the role of authority in your life?
3. Where have you rebelled and what have been the results?
4. Where have you submitted and what have been the results?
5. Where have you “sucked up” and what have been the results?
6. This week, pay attention where you have struggled with authority. Ask God to show you what is behind that struggle. Pay attention to what God shows you next.
Don't forget to visit my Amazon links. General purchases: Click on the Banner at the top of the blog. For a list of my favorites go to: http://astore.amazon.com/weekldevottho-20