"The Easy Yoke, the Light Burden"
Submission to a perfect God is understandable. He will govern us according to our best interests even as He fulfills His larger purpose of glorifying and revealing His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Submitting ourselves to imperfect, but God-delegated human authorities, however, presents us with many challenges of understanding and response to the will of God.
"Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13).
The New Testament addresses the role of authority and submission regarding numerous relationships in our lives, calling believers to exercise leadership with respect and kindness, and to honor and obey authority as the reflection of devotion to the Lordship of Christ. The Apostle Paul went so far as to command that servants obey their masters "as unto Christ" (Ephesians 6:5). Again, the challenge in this involves the fact that human authorities are not Christ. And we know it. The imperfections of our leaders in life manifest themselves, even in the best of those who serve as authority figures. However, do we also know that these figures serve as God's delegated authority in our lives? They do so imperfectly, but they nevertheless must be viewed in terms of our Heavenly Father placing them in our lives for the aforementioned larger purpose of our submission serving to reflect the Lord Jesus' devotion to His Father. Furthermore, He made the various authority structures that govern creation and our human experience. Our Lord is a God of authority, in Himself and in the things He made. He hates anarchy, in both personal and corporate expression. "By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers" (Colossians 1:16).
The outworking of such truth in our lives raises many questions to be answered as we walk with the Lord in times of experiencing both good and bad leadership. Certainly if an authority mandates that we disobey the clearly revealed, Biblical will of God, "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). In most cases, however, this is not the challenge we face. We rather encounter the challenge of responding to the more practical imperfections of those who lead us (or of seeking to deal with our own human weakness as leaders). Again, we know that this is the reality of human authority and submission. Again, however, do we know, remember, and affirm the truth of God's delegation of authority, namely, that He places us in the particular roles of "master" and "servant" we experience during our earthly lives? Do we realize that our service to God can be measured by our service to people, "as unto Christ"? Do we exercise authority as those who realize that we lead as servants to God? These are the questions, the first questions, that must be answered rightly in our hearts and minds if we are to wear the easy yoke and bear the light burden of Christ's peace in our hearts as we serve, and as we lead.
"Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that His hour was come that He should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved His own which were in the world, He loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him; Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God, He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded... So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you."
(John 13:1-5; 12-15)
Weekly Memory Verse
By Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers.