Established by God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, October 28, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

Recently, a friend of mine posted on Facebook a video of Bishop T.D. Jakes talking about his 5 Steps to Happiness on The Steve Harvey Show. I decided to watch it hoping there would be some mention of the Lord within those steps but knowing that many people don’t want to hear about how their relationship with the Lord or lack thereof affects their daily lives. Fortunately, at least in this case, Bishop Jakes did not neglect the truth. When it came to his point about making relationships count, he declared that one’s relationship with God must come first. What’s the advantage, you ask? According to Bishop Jakes, you can know that you don’t have to bear the burden of “everything that’s going on in your life” and can just go “talk to the Boss”! It is important to know who is in charge and to recognize that authority. Without it, we can easily be overwhelmed.

Do you recognize that God is BOSS in your life? I mean, your answer to that question really doesn’t affect whether he is or isn’t. It only affects how you choose to live. You are either ignorant of that truth or accepting of it. But when Bishop Jakes stated that we can go speak to the Boss, he didn’t say “your” boss. He said “the” Boss. God is sovereign over all things and all people whether we admit it or not. When you get sucked into all the media coverage regarding who may or may not be in the presidential election that is still over a year out, God is still the true Boss. When you think he clearly doesn’t have a clue how he is running this planet, God is still sovereign. When you think you could do better, God is still in control.

In Romans 13:1-7, the Apostle Paul addresses the reality that God is over everything and how that should be evident in our lives. Specifically, he explains how God is above all governing authorities. “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (verse 1). That phrase “established by God” is critical. Paul is telling us that this is the way we need to view the governing authorities, including the ones we don’t like. No matter what they are doing and what our feelings are about it, we are to be subject to them. In a democracy such as the United States of America, we recognize that WE play at least some part in the governing process and should take that role very seriously. As Election Day approaches next Tuesday, consider the candidates and issues up for a vote in your community.

Because God establishes all governing authorities, we certainly have to recognize that those who have been established have a lot of responsibility as servants of the Boss. Because in the democratic process we are, to some extent, both the authority and the ones subjected to it, we must contemplate how we serve the Lord in each role. This means we should not be voting based on our own personal desires alone, but also on what we believe the Lord wants to establish. Obviously, this means we ought to be in prayer for the direction of our nation rather than pushing an agenda or complaining about what we don’t like. It also means that we must be willing to accept when God chooses to establish something we didn’t want. In addition, it means that persons who are given a title that grants them some level of authority must consider how they are going to serve the Lord through their position. If God established the authorities, that means he is the Authority over the authorities.

Paul says that rebelling against the governing authorities is to bring judgment on oneself that is the same as having rebelled against God (verse 2). This means, in America, that we must submit to the authority of those elected, but they must also submit to our authority to overthrow them if they are rebelling against the will of the people. In countries ruled by non-elected officials, the people are commanded to be subject to the rulers. However, even there the rulers do not get a free pass. If they are “established by God,” they have a responsibility to serve him and will be judged as such if they do not.

A perfect example of this is the ruthlessness of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in the Old Testament. Take a minute to read Jeremiah 29:4-14, and then skip to the next chapter and read 30:16-24. Everyone loves to quote Jeremiah 29:11 which speaks of God’s plans to “prosper” us and “give us hope and a future.” Yet, we forget that just before that God told the captive Israelites in Babylon that they would be there for 70 years! When they were waiting for God to help them overthrow the horrible governing authority, God commanded them to “pray for it” (Jeremiah 29:7). They were basically told to get used to it! The Babylonians did a lot of horrible and even unspeakable things to the people of Israel as God used them as Israel’s punishment for their sins. However, God’s promise to them in the next chapter is that they would not need to worry about justice or revenge because those who oppressed them and devoured them would get what’s coming to them from God himself.

Paul’s words in Romans and a quick look at Israel’s history show us that we must pray for the authorities and respect them even when we would rather hate them and when we don’t understand why God would allow them to be in power. These words also reveal the responsibility that the authorities carry as those “established by God.” If the rulers fail to recognize the true Authority over them, they will be destroyed. With that in mind, how are you doing with this? How is your attitude toward the governing authorities you don’t like? As a member of the people, and therefore a part of the governing authority in this country, do you recognize God as your ultimate Boss? If you claim to be a follower of God’s Word and you see what Paul writes in this passage, then a view that “the people” don’t have a collective responsibility to honor the one, true God would not be consistent with your faith. It may be a popular view today, but it’s not the truth of a people whose authority is “established by God.” I encourage you to examine your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitudes as they relate to that phrase. Let it guide you in both your authority and your service.

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