Saturday, July 21, 2012

Scripture vs. Society: Authority

Authority (n.)-
The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience
The right to act in a specific way, delegated from one person or organization to another
Submission (n.)-
The act or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person
Alright let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute, how many of us have problems submitting to authority? I know it’s always been a problem for me.
People, especially the young people of my generation, have developed some serious attitude problems when we are told what to do (God forbid how to do it and when to do it). It’s yet another thing that messes with our egos. We like to think that we know everything or that the best way to figure something out is to jump in head first without heeding any warnings from authority figures or anybody else.
Blowing off speed limit signs and sneaking out to that party our parents said we couldn’t go to have become so commonplace in our culture that we don’t really think twice about them. I would even take it a step further to say that such behavior has even become accepted.
We like to be the sole captains of our souls and we tend to see authoritative opposition, and sometimes even advice, as a threat or a hindrance to the direction that we think we are trying to take with our lives.
A lack of submission to authority leads us very quickly down a very destructive path.  As human beings we let pride take over at the expense of what’s really best for us. Think about it. On the most basic level, addiction can happen when someone decides not to listen when they’re told from elementary school that drugs are bad.
I want to speak directly to my generation and tell them something that I’m not sure they’ve learned yet: We don’t know everything. We need the wisdom and guidance of our elders (of the people in authority over us). And we just might need to pay attention to the speed limit the next time we’re on the interstate while we’re at it.
1 Peter 2:12-14 says to
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to the governors as sent by him.”
Now, at least in America, we don’t have an emperor, but we do have other “human institutions”, like laws, officers, and yes, even our parents. Authority figures aren’t out to completely dictate the course of your life. They are placed here by God to help guide you and give us advice to help us avoid the bigger catastrophes, point out ways that they already won’t work, and save us a lot of pain. It’s a blessing, even though it may not seem so at certain times. It’s for our good.
Ephesians 6:1-3 says:
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and your mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
So this tells us at least two big things. One, God wants us to submit to authority because He wants the best thing for us. (So we can safely let go of our pride.)Two, a position of authority is not to be abused, nor neglected. Abuse of power is the easiest way to ensure mistrust and defiance. Tyranny is not at all part of God’s design.  And a lack of discipline won’t get anybody anywhere. (You can always tell a group of kids who have an understanding and respect for authority from a group who doesn’t).
I’m sure that when the use of and the submission to authority is done the right way, in a God-honoring way, as it is described in scripture, so much learning, respect, and growth will come out of it. There will be fruit that comes from it. So instead of seeing submission to authority as an automatic annoyance or hindrance, look at it and treat it as a godly trait you can learn from, that will produce good fruit in your life.

1 comment:

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