Who’s in Charge?: Yeah, But . . .

“For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” (Romans 13:4)

I’ve been hearing this giant “yeah, but” forming out there all week. We’ve worked to accept that big idea (biblical truth) that every governing authority on earth is established by God and for our good—to pat us on the back when we do well and bring the pain when we do evil.

charge_350“Yeah, but . . .” what if the person in authority tells you to do something wrong— something that violates God’s commands to you? It’s a valid question, and one that Paul answered with his own life and death. He and nearly all of the early Christian leaders demonstrated their belief that God’s authority trumps human authority when the two disagree with each other.

We like that idea, but we need to remember what made Paul a criminal: It wasn’t breaking traffic laws or breaking curfew or refusing to pay his taxes. When the human authorities said, “Don’t preach about Jesus,” Paul disobeyed. Better: He obeyed a higher authority. And he was willing to pay the consequences for that choice.

Think: Have you ever had anyone in authority over you ask you personally to do anything that went against God’s commands to you? How do you think you would respond if that really happened?

Pray: Thank God that it is unusual to have someone in authority tell you to do something that directly contradicts God’s Word. Ask him to help you not to resent his authority in your life through the human beings he has put in positions over you.

Do: Off of the top of your head, make a quick list of any people you can think of who have rebelled against human authority in order to obey God.