It’s really hard to break old habits, but how more much to break stubborn pride. I must admit, I always have a hard time when my character is refined, especially when you’re talking about breaking pride.
There’s a stubborn, little rebel in me that always wanted to break free from authority, whether in the office, at church, or at home. No one is perfect, not even our leaders, and it is not at all times that we would agree with one another. But true enough, it is here that God tests us on how we deal with our authority.
Studying the Nazirite Training Phase 1, I looked back to the topic “Submission to Authority”. Until now, this is the phase that the Lord is still dealing with me. I’m usually quiet but deep within I love to criticize. But the Lord reminds me that it is not my business to criticize a leader’s fault. The issue is how I respond. Let’s take a look why we should recognize the authority of our leaders in society:
Leaders are appointed by the Lord: Hebrews 13:17 says “Obey those in authority over you for they give account for your souls”. We have no right to question why such are in authority. The Lord has a reason to put them in place. Whether it’s a tyrant or a very impressive president, only the Lord has the right to promote or demote him (Psalms 75:6-7).
We are a generation in need of fathers and mothers in society: Although God is the central point of authority, he has placed people to lead in various aspects in our lives to guide us (Prov. 15:22). It does not mean that He can’t handle us. They are there as a guide and they are like the shadow of His authority. But that does not mean they are perfect. Yet, their imperfections should never be the reason that we should disrespect them.
Rebellion and disrespect lead to one’s breakdown: There are many instances in the Bible that a person falls because he disrespected those who was in authority over him. Ham, whose family line was cursed because he “pointed a finger” at his father, Noah, who was drunk one time (Gen. 9:20-24), the former King Saul, whose promised kingdom was taken away when he sacrificed the offering himself without waiting for Samuel (1 Sam. 13:5-15), and Eli’s sons who died early because of the wicked deeds they did even though they were serving in the temple of the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12-36). In fact, the Bible has a promise to those who will obey their parents: “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you.” (Exodus 20:12) Yes, disregarding authority can lead to loss of inheritance and even death. But look at the lives of those who regarded those in authority: David, to whom the kingdom was handed down to him by the Lord because of his respect and love to Saul even though he was an object of his murderous obsession (1 Samuel 24), Nehemiah, who found favor to rebuild the temple as he regarded the authority of a secular king (Nehemiah 2:1-9), and Daniel, whose life was always spared from great harm, as he honored the authority of non-Jewish kings (Daniel 6:10-28). See the paradox? God’s rule is simply black and white. No in betweens. Obedience mean life and gain. Disobedience means loss and death.
But the Lord is merciful. And I am under refinement on such things. Our generation can never stand as leaders if we never regard our leaders. Society falls when the people rebel. What more if we disregard God’s authority over earth?
May we learn how to regard those in position regardless of their character. May we learn how to yield and to react in love and respect regardless of their imperfections. And may we grow in grace as the Lord hone us to become the leaders of this coming generation. Lord refine us to be like You. We can never take our position if we are not willing to be broken from our own will. Let Your will be done in us as it is in heaven.