Submission to Those in Authority

imageSubmission is among the most difficult of the spiritual disciplines to put into practice. Every time that we place another above self we run the risk that out submission will be abused. The Christian is willing to be obedient to the Lord in this risky venture but we search for limits and these are reached when submission becomes destructive. This point is clear in the words of Christ,

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mt 22:37-40)

We are challenged by Peter who described a radical submission to wordly authority in his first epistle. He says “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.” Our submission is a clear sign to  the watching world that we see authorities as vested in their position by God. We are obedient up to the point at which the submission is abused and it becomes destructive.

This ‘spiritual authority’ is the key indicator that the modern Christian is alert to. We are deeply aware of the differences found in a world of Christians and those who are antagonistic toward Christ. Are we allowed to refuse to submit in situations where spiritual authority is absent? For the most part, no. We are to emulate the radical submission of Christ to greatest extent we are able until such point that it becomes destructive. Until then, we model the Gentle Soul and pray that their hearts will be touched.

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