ATLANTA (BP)–“… render therefore to all their due … honor to whom honor [is due]….” (Romans 13:7).
We are living in a very dangerous time. In some ways we are living close to a time of “anarchy.” More and more evidence is surfacing that we are not giving honor to whom God says honor is due. All too often it is our leaders, secular and religious, who are modeling this form of rejecting those God has commanded us to honor.
God has placed everyone in a position of authority. The Apostle Paul had just stated: “… let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God….” (Romans 13:1). Paul also added that existing authorities are “… God’s ministers….” (Romans 13:4,6).
Those in authority today are under great pressures, especially in the nature and magnitude of the decisions they have to make. Their decisions often affect us all, even to succeeding generations. And I sense they feel the awful weight of their decisions.
They also are seeking the finest, most mature and tested advisers to assist them. Rarely do leaders today make decisions alone, even when the final decision is theirs. They believe that “… in the presence of many counselors there is safety….” (Proverbs 11:14). But too often today when a leader makes difficult decisions, those who themselves want to be the leader, or who feel their suggestions are not being considered or followed, are very critical, even demeaning, of the existing leaders. Paul warns those who “resist the authorities” that have been placed over them. He said “… those who resist authority resist the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves….” (Romans 13:2).
Any nation that fosters or encourages resistance to authority is putting their nation under God’s judgment. And if this resistance is perpetuated as “politically justified” (in secular society or in religious circles), this will foster a “rebellious spirit” on all levels of society, including our schools, universities and our homes.
So what are we to do?
1. Model before others, especially our family, thoughtful examination of decisions made, but guard against the appearance of “rebellion.”
2. Pray for our leaders that they will seek, receive and obey God’s guidance for their authority, and seek to be transparent “ministers of God.”
3. Strive to be godly leaders ourselves in any sphere of influence God may grant us.
4. Be content to live in the area of spiritual authority God has entrusted to us.
May God grant us the courage to express our views, even when they conflict with others, and to have the grace not to break fellowship with our brothers merely because we differ. God will be honored, and others encouraged and helped.
An Experiencing God Together Regional Conference in Atlanta, at First Baptist Church, Jonesboro, will be Jan. 15-17, 2004, including a special leadership session for pastors, staff and their spouses. Look for details at www.henryblackaby.com or www.fbcjonesboro.com.