Five Guidelines to Relating to Authority
No two people on earth are exactly alike, but one thing can be said of every one of us. We have each been entrusted with three resources to manage: time, money, and relationships. Your skill at exercising stewardship over these precious commodities has an incalculable impact on your quality of life—and your complexity of life.
All of these topics could take multiple Sunday messages to go through—I’ve done a full-length series on each of them as well as a book—so we are just going to scratch the surface of relationship management in the next two blog posts.
Right now, I want to look at the area of relationships in which believers seem to make the most mistakes and thus complicate their lives unnecessarily: relationships involving authority.
God uses different levels of authority to bring direction to the body of Christ. It’s the way He produces cohesion and productivity in terms of corporate or group efforts. That’s why I want to show you how we should relate to those over us in authority as well as those under our own authority.
Submit to Authority
We are all accountable to someone else’s authority. I have found five guidelines we can extract from Scripture that will govern the management of our relationships when we’re responding properly to authority.
- “Let Every Soul Be Submitted to Authority…” (Romans 13:1 Amp.).
First of all, we must recognize that any office of authority, regardless of the person standing in it, is ordained of God. The Bible makes this clear in numerous places. For instance:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (Romans 13:1–2)
God maintains order in society, the church, the family, and throughout creation by the establishment of different levels of authority. God ordains these offices to bless you. He places individuals in these positions and expects us to honor, respect, and esteem both the offices and the people holding these offices.
- “Servants, Be Obedient to Them…” (Ephesians 6:5).
We as Christians must obey the direction or instruction that comes from any office of authority. Of course, you must measure everything against the standard of the Word. Submission does not mean blind obedience, but it does recognize the need for authority in order to avoid chaos and confusion.
- “Doing Service as to the Lord and Not to Men…” (Ephesians 6:7).
Give your very best effort to do your part and make your contribution to the corporate effort. Wherever you work, God wants you to give the 100% you’re capable of giving. Put in more hours than necessary. Work harder than anybody else. Be there early. Leave late. Give all you can possibly give—not to please man, but because you’re doing this as unto the Lord. You’ll be blessed when you do.
- “Let Your Light Shine…” (Matthew 5:16).
Don’t preach. Don’t lecture your unsaved husband. Don’t preach to your unsaved manager or boss. If you live your life by the standard of God’s Word, God can change the life of an unbeliever. Your lifestyle will convict others of their sin when you live by the standard of God’s Word.
- “Pray for Those in Authority…” (1 Timothy 2:1–2).
We are to pray for those in positions of authority. It doesn’t matter who the person is. It doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with their theology or political viewpoint. We are to pray earnestly for those we serve.
So when it comes to relating to our leaders, we are to respect, honor, and esteem the offices of authority we are under because God has ordained them. When we do so, God will bless us for our obedience.
What about relationships where you are the boss? That’s what I’ll talk about in my next blog post. Sign up here so you can be the first to know when it posts.