Authority. It’s one of those words that a lot of people dread. After all, why else would people run from the authorities, or complain about having to submit to authority? We as humans typically prefer our independence, and not have to be under an authority of any sort. While it’s important for all people to obey the authorities put in place over them, such as the police, parents, teachers, or your boss, those of us who are Christians need to obey another authority as well - the Bible.
Everything you believe in life, whether Christian or not, all boils down to one question: what is your source of authority? In other words, why do you believe what you believe, and where did those beliefs originate from? Christians have four places where our source of authority can be, and for most people it’s a combination of all four but not with equal weight. Those four places are the Scriptures, tradition, reason, and experience.
The Scriptures are, of course, the Holy Bible. I consider this to be the Old and New Testaments. Tradition is not just those things the church does all the time but rather the tradition of theologians that have gone before us. Tradition relies on all of the collective wisdom gained by Biblical scholars throughout the last few centuries. Reason is our intellect and how our brains are designed to use logic to figure things out. Finally, experience is those things that have happened in your life that made a big impact on the person you are today.
For me, my primary source of authority is most definitely the Bible. Last week’s post gives many of my reasons for this, but the most important one is because I believe it to be the inspired Word of God. It governs all aspects of my life and instructs me how to live so I can be a true Christ follower and worship God with my life, which is what I desire to do.
However, a person who is not a Christian would obviously have a different source of authority for their life. Perhaps it could be a book from another religion, or relying solely on their own intellect, or others around them. A person’s source of authority affects everything they think, believe, say, and do in their life, whether they realize it or not.
It is important to understand what the source of authority is in your life.
Is it the Bible? Or is it something else?
How trustworthy is your source of authority?
Why is it your authority?
Even if you don’t acknowledge one particular thing as your source of authority, investigate your life and try and figure out why you have the beliefs you have. Knowing your source of authority, and knowing that of those you are in conversation with, will help you understand both yourself and others much better.
One little side note from Jason DeZurik: For our atheists friends who read these, we know some of you say you have "lack of belief" and not belief. We hear you and are doing our best to undertand what you are saying. We would ask though that you please understand that your life is still based on something. So, please do an honest assessment of what is your source of authority? Thanks for reading and have a great day.