If you’ve been reading the blog this week, you know we’re tackling submission. If you missed the first two posts, take a minute to catch up. I want to pause for a moment to point out that there’s a reason I wrote about submitting to God first instead of diving right into the authorities that He places in our lives. Submitting to God is the foundation for all submission. When we choose to trust God even when it doesn’t feel good and even when it is hard, that is beautiful worship. Our willingness to submit to human authorities (parents, teachers, boss) is ultimately an extension of our willingness to submit to God.
When we choose to trust God even when it doesn’t feel good and even when it is hard, that is beautiful worship.
Authority. Yup, I said it. For some of you, even reading that word sent shivers down your spine. Teenage girls in particular are not known for their love of “authority.” Yet in spite of our insides wanting to explode, there are lots of times that God calls us to submit to human authorities.
Before we talk about how to submit to the authorities in your life, it is important that we understand a few things first. When you think of an authority in your life remember the following truths:
God has allowed that person to be in authority.
We laid this foundation yesterday, but it if you’re like me, you need a reminder! This means that there is no person in authority in your life who slipped into place without God noticing. We have a God who sees and who has interest in every detail. He is fully aware of who that authority is and how they are behaving.
Just because God allows a person to be in authority does not mean God approves of what they are doing.
Everyone sins (Rom. 3:23). It is important to note that just because an authority has been allowed by God does not mean that the authority is godly or perfect in their actions.
In Scripture, we see several examples of God allowing a person to be in authority even though God did not approve of what they are doing. King Saul tried to kill David on numerous occasions (1 Sam. 19), King Nebuchadnezzar tried to get everyone to worship him instead of God (Dan. 3), and King Herod even tried to have baby Jesus killed (Matt. 2). These men did things that were so wicked that Christians could not submit to them (more on this later). Yet God still allowed them to be in authority. This is where the next point is really important to understand.
God will hold everyone in authority accountable for their actions.
Hebrews 13:17 speaks specifically about submitting to the authorities God has placed in your church, but it is a concept that is applied to all authorities in your life: They will be held accountable for how they lead (James 3:1.) The people God places in authority are held to a higher standard of accountability and will feel the consequences of their actions. (Psst . . . that means one day when you are in a position of authority, you will be held accountable too.) So why is it important for you to know this? Because it’s not your job to judge the authorities in your life. It is your job to submit to them. No authority can mess up the plan that God has for your life. No authority can take away the promises that God has made you. Trust God and submit.
When you submit to your authorities, you are really submitting to God.
When you are dealing with a problematic authority and you feel overwhelmed and fed up because you know they don’t deserve your obedience, remember they don’t deserve it, but God does.
It might be an authority that doesn’t give you the respect you deserve . . . but God gives you a kind of love you could never earn.
It might be an authority that makes you think you are worthless. But God thinks you are worth everything, even sending Jesus to die so you can have a relationship with Him.
It might be an authority that is trying to ruin all your plans . . . but God has a plan for you that can never be ruined (Jer. 29:11) and is more amazing than you can even imagine (Eph. 3:20).
So who are these authorities that God places in your life? Let’s take a brief look at who they are, and then tomorrow we can talk more about how to submit to them.
- Government/Law Enforcement (1 Peter 2:13–17)
- Teachers, Employers, and Coaches (1 Peter 2:18)
- Parents (Ephesians 6:1–3, Exodus 20:12)
- Church Leaders (Hebrews 13:17)
- Husbands (Ephesians 5:22–33)
Take a look at these authorities and pray about which ones you struggle with most. Pray that God will give you the strength to trust him enough to submit to them. See you tomorrow!
Keep in mind: The Bible tells us that there are times when we should not submit to an authority. If an authority is asking you to do something that is a sin, do not submit. If an authority is asking you to do something that is abusive, do not submit. Talk to a godly adult that you trust about the situation.
What human authority do you struggle to submit to? To show respect I don’t want you to use our comment forum to bash them, but I’d love to hear if you’re willing to ask God to change your heart toward them. If so, leave me a comment about it below.