by Pastor Tim Burt
Authority is a part of life. When authority is exercised the way God intended it to be used, it will maximize knowledge and wisdom, provide protection, and establish order. Authority was designed to prevail against chaos, abuse, and rebellion. Let's get a better understanding by looking at Romans 13:1-2. “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
When people read these scriptures, I think many go on tilt because they think of abusive governments or leaders who are in authority. They think, How could God have raised them up into authority when they are so evil? That is a reasonable thought but let me help you understand these verses so that they make sense to you. The verses are telling us that God establishes or raises up offices of authority. The office is the position that carries the responsibilities, obligations, privileges and authority to lead and govern. The offices are different dependent upon the levels of responsibility placed upon them. The office (or position) of President of the United States is different from the office of the Governor of a State, is different from the office of a parent.
God establishes the office. It's the office of authority that has "been established by God." That includes the office of a spouse and parent. 1 Timothy 3:4 says, "... He must (execute his authority) and manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect..." God expects everyone to respect the office.
Obviously there are people in offices that are almost impossible to respect. The office is there for the good of people but not everyone that stands in the office of authority fulfills his or her position rightly. This is why God says in 1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV) "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
When people obey God and pray for those in authority, they are exercising their faith. He is pleased by and honors faith. Through it He raises up godly leaders into office. The Old Testament bears out that when God's people backslid and no longer worshipped and served Him, and because they quit praying, it resulted in evil and ungodly leadership fulfilling offices of authority.
Authority is something that most people hate in their carnal nature. They don't want someone over them telling them what to do or making decisions for them. Why? One reason is because most people have been abused by someone in authority. But, all of us have also abused our own God-given authority at some point. Husbands abuse authority with their wives. Parents abuse it with their children. Let's face it, when we have authority and power it's too easy to just tell people what to do without regard for the responsibility of how to execute that authority properly.
As a boss, spouse, or parent, it's easy to wear your bad attitude around just because you have a degree of authority. It's easy to misuse your authority and abuse others. That means you have to appreciate what God has given you, and through prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit, execute that office carefully.
I recently worked a long week, was tired, and feeling exhausted. I woke up feeling grumpy. Everything seemed to be bugging me. As I was driving to work, the Lord began to minister to me and quickly pulled me out of it. I could hear the Lord say, Take authority over your attitude. Bless those around you! That nudge from the Lord was all it took. In that instant I changed my attitude. I always try to be a blessing to my employees but made sure that morning that I was! It turned into a great day and I went to bed early that night to catch up on my sleep.
When we think of authority, we usually think of high offices of authority. Authority starts in your life and in your heart. You may complain about politicians being corrupt. Instead focus on how you execute authority. Are you a dictator or a blessing? Is someone praying for you because of their love and respect for you, or praying that God replace you?
God gives authority to be used correctly. He wants us to use it to pull families, employees and people together as a team to get the best results in the goals we have set. He wants us to use it in a godly way and for the protection of others—not self-serving! He wants us to use it to be an influence for Him and demonstrate what godly authority looks like! You know the pressures you face in life. Those in higher positions of authority also face great challenges. We all need God's grace to execute it and we all need to pray for those who are in authority over us! Those in authority benefit when heart-felt prayer is made for them. And they are replaced by God when those in authority ignore His leading and abuse their power. So let us pray for and let us use the authority God has given us rightly!
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NIV) "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt