[management by God] under authority

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

October 27, 2010

The idea of having authority over our lives often makes people cringe. “Self” doesn’t like the idea of authority, because “self” typically wants to be it’s own authority. This is evidenced by the idea that slogans like “be your own boss” and “be a self-made success” are so appealing to most people.

There’s a bigger drive these days to be self-employed than ever before since the start of the industrial revolution. I think that it’s driven mostly by a desire to get out from under the authority of other people, and be responsible for yourself. Now please don’t take this the wrong way. I am not going to say that being self-employed is wrong. I love the entrepreneurial spirit! But it’s certainly worthwhile to consider this issue authority in our lives.

Let’s take a look at a couple portions of Scripture to dig deeper into this idea of what authority means in our lives.

First, let’s continue with our journey through the Proverbs…

6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;

7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,

8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.

~ Proverbs 2:6-8

In my last post, I talked about the idea of gaining wisdom. And this portion of Scripture is an extension of that concept. Therefore, I won’t dwell too much on that aspect of this passage. However, I do want to bring your attention to something else. In the middle of verse seven, Solomon switches from talking about wisdom and knowledge to something else. Where it states that “he is a shield” the “he” being referred to is “the Lord” from verse six. The word for Lord used here is Jehovah, which is the proper name for the one, true God. This is the same “Lord” in Genesis that created the heavens and the earth, the Creator of the universe. As the ultimate Creator, He is also the ultimate Authority over all of His creation, including us.

Therefore, this passage can be read as our Creator or our Authority is…

(1) a shield to those who walk in integrity (upright),
(2) guarding the paths to justice, and
(3) watching over the way of his saints (faithful ones).

Wow! So as we humbly submit ourselves to His authority, then He becomes our protector who watches over us, and ensures justice on our behalf!

But let’s take a look at the core principle in action here. Being faithful and upright towards the authority in our lives, brings us not only wisdom, but also protection. Does this principle hold true in the business world too? Absolutely! But first we must look at the responsibility that we have in being faithful and true to the leadership over us. This doesn’t mean that the authority over us is always right, but it’s not our responsibility to worry about that. Our responsibility is loyalty. Paul even talked about this in the book of Romans.

When Paul wrote to the Romans regarding submitting themselves to the governing authorities, Nero was the Emperor in Rome. One thing that most people don’t realize is that Nero was the first to start state-organized persecution of the Christian church, even burning them at the stake to provide light for his parties. So Paul (a Jewish Pharisee and a Roman citizen) who was familiar with what’s going on still urges Christians to be faithful to the governing authorities that God had placed over them. Right or wrong, they still had the responsibility of being loyal.

The statement that I am trying to make is that we have a responsibility to seek out and submit ourselves faithfully to the authority over us. But then also as leaders and authorities over others, we have the responsibility to look out for and protect the people that have been entrusted to us. John Bevere wrote a great book (Under Cover) about authority if you’d like to study this topic a little more.

But here are some questions for you to consider for now…

  • Who is the authority over you, and what is your attitude about them?
  • Do you faithfully follow them? If not, why not?
  • Is that enough of an excuse for you to remove yourself from their authority over you?
  • If you think so, then read Romans 13:1-4 again, and think about the persecuted Christians, and what it would have taken for Paul to suggest what he was suggesting. Why do you think wrote down that “command”?
  • How would people submitting themselves in such a way benefit anyone?
  • What can you do to find some benefit to submitting to the authority in your life?

From the other side of being an authority over someone else…

  • What are you doing to “protect” and “provide justice” for the people under your care?
  • Are you doing this in a way that they feel protected, or is it in a way that you are the only one that really knows anything?
  • What benefits do you see in making sure that your people know that you are “for” them?
  • What would it cost you if your people did not feel good about their protection?

See more from the management by God series!


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[management by God] under authority

by Dan King time to read: 4 min