I love using the line, “Help me help you.” (I think it’s from a movie, but I don’t know which one.) As a leader, I want to be effective and I don’t want to waste my time, so anything anyone would like to share with me to help me be more effective with them is totally awesome. Even if you’ve never heard that sentence before, my guess is that many leaders are really wanting to shout it out really loudly. There are things that you can do to help leaders to be more effective with you.
In Romans 13:1-7 I see Three Things We Can Do To Empower People In Governance To Help Us Connect With God
Before we get to those three things that would help leaders help us, lets look at the text a little.
I. You can easily and quickly name some people this passage applies to
I think that you and I see something similar in this passage. It looks like Paul is specifically referring to a political government. However, it also looks like his thoughts here have application to every form of authority, including our bosses at work, teachers, supervisors, crossing guards, pastors, and everyone else who has some level of governance.
2. You can easily and quickly figure out what these people do that qualifies as serving God
It’s really clear in my mind why Paul tells us to submit to all governing authorities. It’s because everyone who has some level of authority over you serves God. I’m not suggesting that all service or servants are equal (surely His children by faith in Jesus have a more intimate level of service and are rewarded differently for growing God’s Kingdom). However, every person of authority serves God by keeping us in alignment with a way of life that leads us to health and leads us closer to Jesus.
3. You can easily and quickly figure out why God wants people in positions of authority
Paul, twice, tells us that God has established all of the governing authorities. This is probably important for us to understand. When we disobey a crossing guard, for example, we are actually rebelling against God. Not to get nit picky, but God is in the details because He’s leading us all closer to Him. Every act of rebellion against the lowest form of government is an act of rebelling against God.
4. You can easily and quickly figure out why rebelling against people in authority should be punished
God has empowered people in authority to dispense wrath. It’s not their own wrath, it is God’s wrath. My guess is that this smaller dispensing of wrath will help us steer away from God’s final wrath when He closes history as we know it.
5. Because you can easily and quickly figure out all that comes before this point, you can also figure out why submission is so important to you
Paul encourages us to submit. But, I happen to know that many people really don’t like to submit. I have four kids, which means I see first hand four people who really don’t like submitting. Our sinful nature wants to rule us. Our sinful nature will continually lead us away from submission. And, even as Believers, our sinful nature seems to still fight us for control. So, we need to be mindful of the foothold we give to the sinful nature when we resist submitting to any level of authority. If we allow ourselves to develop a pattern of rebellion, then we’ve empowered our sinful nature to reassert itself and begin to lead us away from God.
6. Here’s what you may be missing about submission
The word translated into “submission” is a military term. It means, in simple terms, to get in line. That’s good news because it doesn’t mean “obey.” There are people in leadership that I would never blindly obey, but I’m still called to get in line. You know where your place in the line is – it’s not in that other person’s place. You’re either in front of or behind someone when you’re in a line, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re in the line. Submission isn’t about someone being superior or inferior, it’s about getting into an order that God has set up.
Don’t worry, when you’re in line you get to raise your voice, share opinions, pushback, choose to honour God first, and many other things. Some of those things may earn you some wrath, but some of those things may also create needed change.
Don’t worry, you’re very likely not going to be in the same spot in the line your whole life. It’s possible that you’ll quickly get bumped ahead to a better position, if that’s what you’re looking for.
So, just get in line because God put you in the line you’re in, at the spot where you happen to be.
So, instead of rebelling against authority, how can we help them help us?
Here are Three Things We Can Do To Empower People In Governance To Help Us Connect With God
1. Submit to God’s servants, from the least to the greatest
We need to submit to people in positions of governance, from the lowest to the highest positions, because they are within God’s will, and are God’s servants.
2. Guard my heart, and commit to seeing God first
I need to guard my heart against any bad feelings or attitudes, because my attitudes and bad feelings are actually feelings that I direct toward God.
3. Show respect and give honour
I need to show respect and give honour everywhere it is do, particularly to those in some level of governance.
What about you?
Does submission come as hard for you as it does for other people? Do you feel that it’s wrong to submit sometimes? Have you figured out how to speak against ungodly directions while remaining in line?
Or, did you see something different in the text?
Sharing helps other busy people connect with Jesus, too.