I often get frustrated with authorities in my life. I’m something of a rebel to begin with but when I end up under the authority of people I don’t exactly respect, I can get myself in trouble really easily (we can talk about my respect issues later). So when I see a verse like today’s verse, I cringe.
Today’s verse is Romans 13:1.
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
I’m sure I’ve blogged on this before, but I don’t know when it was. I just know this is a big topic for me. It’s one I struggle with. Because when I don’t feel like the authorities in my life are obeying God, I don’t feel like I need to obey them.
My first loyalty is to God. But that doesn’t mean I don’t obey my authorities on earth just because they don’t do what God tells them to do. According to this verse, the people who are in authority in my life were placed there by God. They were given their authority by God. And this verse doesn’t say that I get to disobey my earthly authorities when they don’t follow God’s example of leadership. This verse says everyone must submit.
So who are my authorities?
Well . . . my boss is definitely my authority. When I was younger, my parents were my authority, although now we have moved more into a role of friendship but I still take their suggestions seriously. Obviously, the president and any of our elected representatives are our authorities.
This verse is a big deal. It’s hard to remember, though, when you can see the people in your life who have the power to control you making decisions that you know don’t please God. But that doesn’t give us the right not to obey.
The only time we have the right to disobey our authorities is if they tell us to do something that is directly contrary to the Bible. Everything else — taxes, speed limits, etc. — we have to obey the ruling of our authorities.
But there is something we can do about it. Maybe you’re a protester type who likes to march around with signs and think up clever rhymes. If so, that’s great. Maybe you’re the type who likes to write letters. That’s great too. But the Bible tells us to do something specifically for our authorities. I don’t remember the reference, but as believers we are commanded to pray for our authorities.
I get really frustrated with them, certain ones in particular, but it’s not my job to be frustrated with them. It’s my job to pray for them. And it’s God’s job to work everything out.