We must learn to have respect for all of those who God has placed in a position of authority. Our parents are the most important people we are to honor and respect in our lives. However, God also wants us to have respect for earthly authority. Who are some human authorities? They are Pastors, Teachers, The President, Governors, Police Officers, Military Officers, etc. God’s word gives us direction for our relationship with these authority figures.
1 Peter 2:13-15, Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right, you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Realize that these authorities can only be given their power by God (Romans 13:1,4).
We are instructed to accept all earthly authority for the Lord’s sake. By doing this, we bring honor to God. We give our respect to these authority figures out of our love for God. Realize that these authority figures have a purpose. The purposes outlined in these scriptures include the punishment of criminals (Romans 13:3) and honoring those who do right. When we are praised for doing what is right, it brings honor and glory to God.
It is God’s will that our lives be good. We should try to live our lives without blame or sin as we try to live like Christ. When we live our lives in such a way, it becomes visible to others. The goodness of Christ in you will silence those who accuse you. The evidence of Christ in your life will disprove false claims.
We need to offer respect to everyone. This does not apply to just your friends, but also your enemies. As brothers and sisters in the body of Christ, we are commanded to love one another. Loving one another also means that we must be willing to forgive, unite, and watch out for one another. As believers, we are not generally called to be in positions of power. But we are all called to submit to those in authority over us respectfully, not because they are somehow more important than we, but because God has put them in positions of authority. It does not mean their role is any more significant than ours, merely different. Their tasks are often more difficult.
When we show respect for a leader, it tells them my recognition of their position of authority and my desire to see them succeed. It does not mean we will always agree with every decision they make. Our parents may set bedtimes, assign chores, make us do homework, say no to certain movies, or many other things that are not what we would choose to do. However, when we obey them, it is the same as respecting their authority.
It is the same with all other authority figures that are mentioned above. After all, can you imagine what a sporting event would be like if there were no referees there to make sure we follow the rules? As we grow older and start doing adult things (driving, working, buying homes, etc…), we will find out there are many laws and rules that we must obey to live our lives. Should we choose not to have respect for these laws, we can get in trouble and even face being arrested.
When we as Christians respect the law and our leaders, it also means we are respecting God. Some leaders are easier to respect than others, and some of us more easily show respect than others. But the Bible commands us to submit (respect, serve honestly, and pray for) our leaders and rulers so that they can improve the conditions under which we and others live. Look at the example of Billy Graham as he has won such a place of profound influence even in the lives of presidents that often stood opposed to the message he preached. He gained that influence because he lovingly respected them and prayed earnestly for them. In at least one case, a former president finally came to Christ. Only in Heaven will we know the full extent of his influence on these men and the world events they had authority over.
We must know the rules and follow them because all relationships in the body of Christ are marked by love and respect! There can be no grounds for relationships in Christ’s body without it! You can see that we have to be examples of Christ in everything we do.
Are you respecting those who God has given authority over you?
Go to Romans Road to Salvation and/or Prayer of Rededication