In life, each and every person will be under some kind of authority. Yet, “authority” is often misunderstood. Those in authority bear great responsibility.
God has placed these people in our lives to help us — either to direct our lives or to help us learn life lessons. The good news is that God is able to work through all of these. Our responsibility is to learn what our role is, change if we need to and respond correctly to these leaders. Satan has good reason to bring deception in the area of authority. His spirit of rebellion caused his own downfall in the beginning. He opposed the authority of God and that lead to the biggest demotion of all time. It was a huge blow to his ego and he came up with an evil plan for revenge: to get the rest of us to follow suit
Daniel: God’s Authority on Authority
Daniel understood authority well. God’s perfect will for Daniel was able to be fulfilled and not thwarted by authority. Though he had to submit to foreign kinds who worshipped false gods, Daniel still thrived because he understood how to submit to authority in such a way that ultimately pleased God.
“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God … and will receive condemnation upon themselves” (Rom. 13:1-2). This doesn’t just mean the government; it includes any authority that God has placed over your life during this season. The issue is not whether or not the authority is doing a good job, but whether or not you are doing a good job. The will of God cannot be thwarted by bad authority. So submit and work to bring about a positive change. So how do we, like Daniel, become people under authority and yet influence others? Let’s take a look at Daniel’s life for practical principles of excellence.
- Everyone Must be Under Authority Throughout Their Life
We will never outgrow the need for authority. In fact, we are commanded to be under authority at all times. We find this affirmed throughout Scripture: “Be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Pet. 5:5). God says that throughout our lives, every one of us needs to be under authority. Listen, when you think you’re under someone’s shadow, you’re actually under someone’s shade.There are times God is going to place authority in your life not to overshadow you, but rather to provide shade. And under that protective shade, you’ll be able to heal, be refreshed and be strengthened. You can become all that God created you to be. However, if you see authority as a shadow, you’ll have a wrong attitude toward it. And then you won’t be able to receive from it. Its benefits will be lost on you.
- God is Able to Work through Authority to Accomplish His Will
Don’t ever think that God is not able. He can take the most impossible circumstances and bring forth an unimaginable miracle.With confidence, Jesus knew that His Heavenly Father was able to work through any power and that His plan could not be thwarted.The result of Jesus’ submission was redemption, healing and wholeness brought to the world. Jesus overcame the enemy of our souls because He understood the principle of authority.
Dealing with Bad Authority
In dealing with poor authority, there are two things you will have to distinguish in order to acquire a gracious spirit to be able to handle it.
The first is to understand the position of authority God has placed that person in over your life. Secondly, you must understand the personal deficiencies of that authority you fall under. We need to respect the office of authority a person has whether or not they are good leaders.
When Appealing to Those in Authority:
We must choose to encourage and protect those who have authority over us. This brings us to the first pointer in appealing to those in authority:
- Establish a History of SupportLong before a conflict arises, the first thing you must do is establish a strong support for the authority that you serve. You must already have a track record of being supportive. Every leader needs encouragement and every leaders needs someone looking out for them to help them do better.
- Check Your MotivesWhy do you want to appeal to a person in authority? Remember, even if that authority is bad, if you submit correctly and have a right attitude, God can still develop in your all that He wants. In fact, He can even use that person’s fears, immaturities and wrong ideas to advance His own plan for you.
- With a Right Attitude, Present a Creative AlternativeWhat good is it if the only time you talk to your boss/leader is when you have problems? Nobody wants to listen to a complainer, much less help one. However, if you also come with a creative solution in hand, you’ll be worth your weight in gold.
- Give God Time to Change HeartsGod takes time to allow people to change. Sometimes we may not know everything that’s going on in that person’s life. And maybe God has bigger issues to deal with than to quickly answer prayers. So allow for God’s timing, for His timing is best. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). The word “repentance” in this Scripture means to “change your mind.” God takes time to allow people to change their minds. So let it go and let God take it from there.
- Be Faithful in Your RoleBe faithful in your role, which means, continue to faithfully do what God has asked you to do. What is God’s role for you? Fulfill that assignment to the best of your abilities. Remember, God can work through authority, so be faithful in your own role. Be faithful to your role as a child of God, a spouse, a parent or an employee. Then God will be able to use you to impact others!
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