This week is one of those topics that we all kind of try to skip over when we read God’s Word — we should never write off what the Bible says, especially when we don’t agree with it. Oftentimes when we are having a hard time reconciling what we want to do with what the Bible says, that is where we will find the most truth from God, and that is where you will find the Holy Spirit doing some serious work in you. We are human and have been born with a sin nature, and it’s when it is hard, that we know that it is right and true, and what we should be striving towards.
God places rules and guidelines in the Bible to send us on a path of protection and fulfillment of His plan and purpose in our life, and if we choose to follow them, He promises to protect us and never ever leave us in our struggles. He does NOT promise an easy life, but He does say that He will never leave and that He is always in control.
One of those rules is a tough one because we are designed to want the exact opposite – control. We are told in 1 Peter 2:13-25 to submit. To submit to EVERY human authority, as an honor to God, because ultimately, He has placed them in those positions of authority.
This is a tough one because the world teaches us that we are supposed to be on the lookout for Number 1, and that you can’t trust anyone to take care of you or protect you like you – we fear the loss of our identity and the loss of our independence. But submission itself IS a choice – a choice to be obedient to God’s command above all else, and wait in faith for His promises to be fulfilled.
We hear this referenced most often in discussions on marriage – Ephesians 5:22-33 says that wives should submit to their husbands, and most modern women tune out at that point! Haven’t women fought through the ages to be out from under the thumb of their husbands and be autonomous?! But God’s design is perfect and we should follow His guidelines no matter what we have learned through the world and history – in His perfect design, wives submit to their husbands as a choice to honor and revere God, and that translates to honoring and respecting their husbands who God has chosen to act as the authority in the home. On the flipside of that, wives are protected because God will hold your husband accountable for your family, not you. If you obey and submit, your husband is now the one accountable to God.
That is something that I am trying to understand more and work to be better at, but what I have really been thinking about lately is how submission works (or should work!) in our country. I have been reading a few interesting viewpoints on it and they have gotten me thinking. We are told in that passage above from 1 Peter, and in this one from Romans 13:1-7 that we are to submit to EVERY human authority, as if we are submitting to God Himself. We choke on that often because we see our politicians and leaders messing up publicly, acting like fools, and making bad decisions. BUT we have to believe that these human, fallible leaders are a part of God’s plan for our country – He has used some seriously messed up people in the past to carry out His plan, and we have to believe that He has put these leaders in control for a purpose and for a reason. We do not have to like it, but we have to have faith. By rebelling against God’s chosen leadership, we are sinning against Him. By criticizing and taking matters into our own hands, we are essentially telling God that we don’t really believe that He is in control and that He can handle it. We want to rope Him off from our politics especially and say that we don’t trust that He is actually in control and carrying out His plan for the best because we believe more in the democratic method and the power of votes than we do in the divine power of God. He has called these leaders, set them in a certain position at a certain time for a specific purpose, and they carry burdens that we may never fully understand. Sure, we feel that we could do it better, and with less mistakes, but we have not been placed in that position by God and so those thoughts must end there.
What we CAN do is start changing the way we talk. The way we act. The way we pray and speak about our leaders, whether it is our husbands, our leaders in our church, or the President himself. We can revolutionize our communities, our churches and our homes just by respecting authority, speaking truth, living in love and by Biblical guidelines of submission. Quietly love those around you without speaking criticism of them or those in authority above you. Speak instead to God about the situations that concern you, and trust in your heart that He has it in His hands, and that His purpose will be fulfilled without your harsh, critical words. Criticism only divides and creates hatred and a mob mentality of fear and despair – 1 Peter 2:15 says “For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” – so instead of saying, DO. Do good. Do God’s will. Act with integrity and honor in all that you do – be known for never speaking judgement or criticism but for always speaking God’s word. Take a moment to see what God’s word says before you jump on a bandwagon of public opinion. Think long and hard and pray longer and harder before you speak out against anyone – God has placed them there, not you, and they will need to answer for what they do….I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to shoulder that burden!
Submission on our part is an act of faith in God, and respect for His plan, regardless of who he has put above you, whether your politics agree or if they are worthy of respect. You submit to God via the person above you, having faith that God will bring all things together for good in spite of the failings of the person in the position of authority that may be making decisions and effecting change. He does not ask us to submit only if we feel the person above us deserves it, or is honest and full of integrity and follows our idea of moral rightness. Our obedience is not contingent on any of these things! Do you believe that God is above all? Then follow His rules, submit to His authority, and let His plan come to fruition. If we look at it like that, I’m ok with taking a backseat to watch God, the creator of heaven and earth and ALL mankind, do great things without me in the drivers seat.
Please don’t take my word alone — check out what God’s word says on these things below, in addition to the links embedded in my post. We have such a blessing to have the Bible to guide us!
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.
Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.