Saturday, June 8, 2019

Grappling with Authority - Martin Wiles

Series: The Road to Humility
You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 1 Peter 2:18 NLT
I disliked the rules as much as the students I teach did.
Middle school seems filled with rules. Come to class prepared. Don’t deface the walls in the bathroom. Keep the trash picked up around your desk, in the hallway, and in the bathroom. Do your homework. Don’t talk back to the teacher or any other adult. When you’re absent, check with the teacher to see what you missed. No bullying. No talking without permission. Work turned in late receives a penalty—or a zero. On and on they go.
Some students adapt to middle school well while others struggle to accept the responsibility they didn’t have in elementary school. But the authority thing continues—and will in high school, college, the workplace, and life.
Growing up in a time when many forms of authority were challenged and questioned, I’ve sometimes grappled with submitting to authority figures as well. In Peter’s day, slaves did too. Theirs was a difficult submission. They lived a miserable life and could do nothing about it. Yet Peter instructs them to submit to their masters—even if they were cruel. A difficult command.
Submitting to those in power over me isn’t always easy. It’s not the school’s sole responsibility to teach kids to do this, but they do play a major part. Recognizing and accepting authority should be learned at home first. My parents taught me to by punishing me when I rebelled against them. This helped me recognize my teachers at school as authority figures and made it easier to obey them. It also helped me submit to adults at church who taught me in classes.
Teaching the submission to authority rule also makes it easier to submit to God—life’s ultimate authority. Life gets easier when I submit to Him rather than kick against His rule over my life. The difference is that He hovers over me with perfect love. When I accept His rule, I enjoy life at its best. I also learn a little more about humility.
Recognizing and submitting to authority figures—unless what they instruct conflicts with God’s rules—establishes an orderly society and prevents chaos and anarchy. 
Learn to accept the authority of those God places over you.
Prayer: Father, help us submit to those You place in authority over us.

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