Fresh Hope – 27th May 2020

‘Authority: the power or right to give orders, and make decisions.’

Perhaps our immediate response upon reading this definition of authority is to picture a person of control, someone abusing their power, someone restricting and restraining from freedom and happiness.

Unfortunately many of us struggle with the idea of authority and hold negative connotations towards the word and idea. This is not uncommon for people of this generation.

Historically, many a time, authority has been oppressive, and sometimes abusive. Consequently, we have a generation today that has mostly rebelled against the idea of authority. It is believed that freedom and independence are achieved by breaking away from those who try to govern over us. When we are able to make our own choices, unrestrained by anyone or anything, then we think we are most free. This is wrong. Becoming a slave to your own feelings, ideas and opinions is quite the opposite of freedom. Your allegiance has simply shifted from an all-knowing, all-loving, all-protecting God, to your finite, limited self. How scary.

Authority is essential in the life of the believer, both the authority of God and of certain people. Instead, we have a people today who are disrespectful (culturally and broadly speaking) to the law/government/police. We have children exercising power over their parents in the home. We have women trying to assert themselves above men. We have teachers desperately trying to behaviour manage their students, and we have a cultural mentality of ‘let’s break free from the controlling government’. In whatever sphere there has been a historical abuse of authority, today there is a generational uprising of people rebelling and suppressing that authority in the quest to find identity and freedom. Sadly, their efforts are fruitless as true freedom and identity is found in our submission to HEALTHY and BIBLICAL authority.

The Bible speaks a lot about the value of authority in our lives. Not the kind of authority like we may have seen been abused in the past. The Bible has a different picture of what authority should look like. God has actually designed authority for our blessing and protection. Authority over us equals covering for us. When authority is abused, it hurts those under authority. In such cases, God ultimately will judge the abuser. But when it is exercised properly, authority blesses and protects those under it. Authority does not imply superiority. ‘Coming under’ authority or ‘subjection’ to authority doesn’t make us weak. It puts us in a powerful, protected position of freedom. If subjection means inferiority, then it would mean that Jesus Christ is inferior to the Father, which is heresy!

So what DOES biblical authority look like? Being in a position of authority means that you have a responsibility and a level of accountability. Those in authority have the weighty call of serving, leading and loving their people toward what is best for THEM. Ultimately, the people in these positions of authority must give an account to God on how well they did this. If they used their position and power for their own advantage, rather than blessing and protecting those in and under their care, then they have God to face for that one!

Some positions of authority that God tells us to honour in our lives, as we come under their covering:

– The word of God / God

– Our Parents

– Our leaders (both Christian and non-Christian)

– Our pastors

Here are rewards that are promised to those who submit to the healthy authority in their life:

Things will be well with you (Ephesians 6:2–3).

You will have a long life (Ephesians 6:1–3).

You will bring delight to the Lord (Colossians 3:20).

You will bring joy to your authorities (Hebrews 13:17).

You will receive God’s reward (Colossians 3:18–24).

You will be given clear direction (Proverbs 6:20–22).

You will be protected from evil people (Proverbs 6:23–24).

You will gain discernment (Proverbs 15:5).

You will receive praise from your authorities (I Peter 2:13–14).

You will escape the destruction of pride (I Timothy 6:2–4).

You will receive the grace God gives to the humble (I Peter 5:5–7).

Now who doesn’t want all that!?

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.