Who’s in Charge?: No Terror

“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.” (Romans 13:3)

So I’m sitting in my car in the grocery store parking lot, and I see in my side mirror a police officer getting out of his car and walking toward me. His arms are covered with tattoos, and he’s making serious eye contact with my license plate.

charge_350Here’s the deal: I know my tags are expired. Driving my car around like that is breaking the law, and he’s about to tell me about it. At first, I feel a little thrill of fear; nobody wants to get busted by a scary cop covered in ink. Then I feel a little angry: “Doesn’t he have anything better to do?”

Then I hear the apostle Paul’s voice from this passage. Turns out Paul sounds just like Clint Eastwood. Actually, it’s God’s Spirit reminding me of truth: My fear and anger are my fault for breaking the law. The officer is God’s servant (see the next verse); my frustration is with God’s authority, not this guy’s. And up close, the tatts are actually very skillfully rendered.

I agree to get new tags the next day as humbly as I can; he mercifully keeps his ticket book in his holster. I stop hearing Clint’s voice quoting Paul by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Think: Do you ever feel fear or resentment toward the God-given authorities in your life? How much of that has to do with your own choice to break the rules?

Pray: Ask God to help you to see Paul’s challenging perspective on this issue of authority. Thank God for the authority he has placed in your life, from your parents to your president.

Do: If you’re a driver, choose to obey all the traffic laws today as an act of submission the authority God has placed in your life.