Respect for Authority

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. Titus 3:1-2 (NIV)

Have you read the book of Titus recently? I have not. It’s one of those between Paul’s letters to Timothy and the book of Hebrews that sometimes gets lost in our reading. So if you haven’t read it this year, join me this week and do that. It’s a short book stuffed with some really good words from Paul “To Titus, my true son in our common faith” Titus 1:4 (NIV)

Paul speaks about our submission/obedience/ and being ‘subject’ to those in authority over us. It is not something that we, especially here in America, want to read and take into our spirits. We are very ‘democratic’ and like to know that we have choices. God gives us choices but we must remember that each choice comes with a consequence.

What was Jesus’ example to authority? Luke 2:51 says that Jesus was obedient to his parents. He submitted to their authority as any child is expected to do – even though He created them! Jesus stood before Pilate and spoke very little. Pilate reminded Jesus that he had the power to kill Him or release Him. Jesus reminded Pilate that power came only from the will of God. (Luke 19)

Whether it is a deputy sheriff who pulls me over in traffic or my pastor who tells me “not today when I come to him with a word from God, it is my joy to be obedient to those in authority. That is not always easy since I may think that they are wrong and I am right! Am I sure of my ‘rightness’ that I am willing to take the consequences of my actions? Do I expect consequences to go away if I prove I am right?

I am not to insult any one. I am to be humble in all things and around all people. Paul continues in that chapter to point out how foolish it is to be self-centered and in need to receive affirmation from others or receive their approval. It is enough that my Father in heaven gives His approval when no one else is aware. Envy and bitterness, convincing myself that some one deserves my anger, even hatred brings destruction on me no matter how I believe myself to be right! The judgment and opinion of those in this world has no eternal effects. It is my Heavenly Father that holds the key to the blessing that I can receive when I walk through my day with humility wrapping my heart and guiding me into ‘unseen roles’ where I serve only God and do not look for man’s applause.

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Titus 3:9 (NIV)

There is a verse to meditate on as a member of Christ’s body, the Church. Am I a person of unity or a person that brings division? Do I build up my pastor? Do I pray for the President? Do I keep myself open to the options that others bring to a meeting or am I set with my agenda before the meeting starts?

Read Titus this week and write me a line or two about what God says to you through this writing.

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