Authority. Not a word that many people enjoy seeing, hearing, or heeding. But I have not been able to escape that word for weeks. It started with a podcast of a pastor teaching on authority from Luke 20, and as I’ve thought on that—as I’ve applied it to my daily life and pondered how it applies to every person—I’m left jaw-dropped and head-nodding. Here’s why…
I was brought up in a Christian home. I’ve gone to church most Sundays of my life. I’ve heard the gospel message countless times. When I was young, I used to wonder why anyone would choose not to believe it. How could you resist such a loving Savior? Don’t you want help when you’re hurting or in trouble? Aren’t you scared to go to hell? These were the somewhat simplified issues my young mind pondered.
As I got older and learned more about the Bible and grew in my faith, I concentrated a lot on how it applied to me and wondered how any unbelieving person would find purpose, peace, or direction without God. I knew I needed God to lead me to the right career, to show me how to build my family, to live my life daily, and to help me. And those are all needed, necessary decisions and directions where I should seek God. But I know I was often starting with me—my thoughts, my feelings, my decisions—and then seeking God’s Word and will. Mercifully I often ended up following God’s way, but I know I began with a lot of self-centered thinking. Here I was pitying people who made all those decisions and lived life without God, when I often wasn’t starting with Him or His truth either.
So here’s where authority comes in. Now as I’m delving into God’s Word and actually grasping that the gospel is not just a term that means "telling people about Jesus" but a glorious reality I should focus on as live out a life for Christ, I know God and His Word are the ultimate authority and foundation. Whether I believe it or not. Whether anyone believes it or not, God is (Ex. 3:14). His Word is true (2 Tim. 3:16), and living a life for Christ can only be done in one way—all out. Dead to self and focused on Christ’s glory and purpose (Gal. 2:19–20). Those are facts that the world does not want to face. Those are realities our society would rather say, "Well, that’s fine for you. You can believe what you want. But I am free to choose my own truth."
And after these days of pondering authority I want to shout, "BUT YOU CAN’T! YOU CAN’T CHOOSE YOUR OWN WAY! YOU’LL FAIL! YOU’RE FAILING! CAN’T YOU SEE THAT?"
I’m shouting at people who flat-out deny the existence of an all-powerful, Creator God who is in control of the universe. I’m shouting at people who simply believe God exists. I’m shouting at people who think they know Jesus, but aren’t living a life submitted to Him or based on His truth. I’m even shouting at myself! I can’t expect anyone, myself included, to live the kind of life Jesus commands of His followers if they just want to get to heaven, or get peace and comfort, or find direction and purpose. The kind of life Jesus commands is this:
Luke 9:23–24 says, "Then he said to them all: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.’"
A life fully submitted to God, His will, and His purpose. A mind that starts with the truth of the Bible. A heart that loves and seeks Christ. These are the goals. This is the way. God is in all, over all, and must be our all in all.
Which brings me to you. Are you living like God is your ultimate authority or trying to run your own show? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.
From the LYWB.com Team: God’s plan for authority can be difficult to understand and live out. Step one is to recognize God’s authority, but He also calls us to submit to human authorities even when it’s tough. We’ll be exploring that subject over the next several weeks here on the blog. Before we start writing, we’d love to hear from you. What questions do you have about dealing with authority?