Submission to Authorities
- Written by Pete Phelan Pete Phelan
History has shown that there is an adverse reaction to people with authority. It would seem that orders always come from the top to the bottom. While reaction to the orders from bottom to top.
The desire to attain independence fosters negativity toward authority figures when we're young, while the desire to maintain independence can foster animosity to those in authority when we are older. Things we could do when we were younger, we may not be able to do now without assistance, and that can foster the idea of losing self-worth.
Negative attitudes to those in authority start with the simplest of commands - “Clean up your room;" "You can't leave this table until your vegetables are gone;” “Get your homework done.” There is negativity towards teachers, those in other professional occupations, lineups at the checkouts, and even down to entertainment. Wherever we look, there is an animosity to those in authority over us.
It is also true that we want to be the people in authority. We want to be the one making the decisions and giving the orders. We want to be the one people look up to and we are so sure that we can do a much better job than the one who was there before us, and the animosity won't be there with those who work for us, as it was in the past. On occasion this may be the case, but generally it's not the rule.
Even the disciples wanted to be in positions of authority. James and John made the request to be Jesus’ authority figures when he set up His kingdom. Matthew records that they sent the most authoritative figure in the world, then and now, to make the request of Him. That’s right, the most authoritative person in the world. They sent their mother.
"Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of Him. 'What is it you want?' He asked. She said, 'Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.'" Matthew 20:20-22 Jesus was really under pressure. Jesus deals with religious leaders, Pharisees, and Sadducees, all the time but when it comes to saying "no" to a mother, what is the saying, “Hell hath no fury like that of a mother denied.”
In his answer, Jesus shared the cost of authority, “You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave, just as the son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28 Jesus' answer here is the key component in submitting to the authority of others. Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve and if we are to be transformed into the image of Christ, as Paul teaches in Romans 8, then we have to practice this as well, as much as Biblically possible. The Bible will determine what we are to submit to.
It is easy to get sidetracked when dealing with this issue. We are tempted to apply Paul’s teaching to various specific situations, and each of these has elements that need to be dealt with or they can lead us further from Paul’s real purpose. Paul’s purpose was to give one lesson that we can apply to any situation. “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.
Free on the Inside,