Authority and Submission
Fear (lack of trust) about God's delegated authority leads us into confusion and jealousy and weakens our power.
- Believing man's idea of authority is equal to God's ordained and delegated authority
- Seeing God's ordained and delegated authority as an equality issue rather than a positional issue
- Rebelling against God's ordained and delegated authority
- We become "uncovered" in God's protection and we can be deceived and/or influenced the enemy
- The body of Christ is weakened as a force for impacting one another and the world
- We lack power, fruit, and miracles
- We dishonor God (and Christ) and His ways of working in our lives and in the body of Christ
God's design for order and the functioning of the Church through delegated authority is critical for the flow of the Holy Spirit through the Body of Christ. While God, through Jesus Christ, has given us great freedom, the freedom to usurp His divine order in the body of Christ is not a freedom issue. It's an obedience issue that is for our protection, our well-being, the advancement of the Kingdom, and to glorify Him.
What is God's delegated order and authority?
Think of the Trinity - God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. God the Father is Jesus' authority - Jesus (God in flesh - the exact representation of God) obeyed His father in everything, and the Holy Spirit defers to Jesus Christ, and yet they do not see one another as "better than" or "less than"; they each defer to one another in love. They have distinct and divine roles and they each carry them out in complete humility and submission. They each take their divine purpose and roles seriously and they never rebel. Lucifer rebelled against God because he wanted to be equal in authority to God. The consequences of Lucifer's rebellion were that he was thrown out of heaven and had his identity changed to Satan.
What are examples of God's divine order and delegated authority?
- God and Christ
- Christ and the Church
- Christ and husbands
- Husbands and wives
- Parents and children
- Denominations and pastors
- Pastors and lay people
- Elders/Deacons and lay people
- Government and citizens
- Employers and employees
These are only a few. Everywhere we go as Christians we are always in a place of submission and sometimes we are in authority. There is no authority without submission. All of us are always called to submit to someone, be it a person or the Church or ultimately Christ our Lord. God's divine order is for our protection. When we leave it we're out of bounds and we leave ourselves open to attack. Wherever we are, we need to seek and discern our authority and submit accordingly. This is where our power and our protection is and how Christ, through the Holy Spirit is fruitful through us. We are servants first. At any particular time or place when God has us in a position of authority, we should not take it lightly - there are spiritual ramifications that we don't see.
As with many issues, we have perverted the word "submission" to mean "less than" and authority to mean "better than" rather than simply a working out of God's divine order to have His will accomplished. We need to repent of believing these lies because they are destructive in the Church, in families, and in other relationships. Believing these lies leads to jealousy, envy, and strife. Satan is the deceiver and he has led us to believe our identities are in our roles and positions and not in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not to say we can't have healthy discussions and disagreements, but God's order defines who makes a decision and who submits. The truth is we are all equal in Christ, and all of our roles and positions are equally important in the working out of God's plans.
While many Christians pursue obedience in their daily lives, in the area of submission and authority we are lacking. Some of this is due to poor teaching or no teaching at all, but frankly, much of it is simply rebellion and fear of rejection. We don't like to submit! We even go so far as to create ways to make God's divine order "fit" into our kinder, gentler, and more "progressive" culture, concluding that God's ways are out-of-date. Fear plays a role when, to be socially acceptable and "fair-minded" and not be vilified, we choose to submit to the world's principles and the culture of the day.
The consequences of rebelling against God's order are far-reaching and painful and we are experiencing the consequences in our churches and our relationships. God will let us have our way, but He will not change His ways. We are in a spiritual battle. We have an enemy and he knows when and where to attack our vulnerabilities in this area. He goes right for the "equality" button - shaming us into believing we are "less than" if we submit and pouring on guilt with "you think you're better" when we embrace authority. Do you see the battle? We are in lose-lose situation - one is afraid to submit (shame) and one is afraid to lead (guilt). We have now lost our "power" to act boldly and confidently because the focus is now on us - who is "higher" and who is "lower".
The deception and sadness about this is that Jesus willingly went to the "lowest" place so we could be raised up (and we are), but we so often are unwilling to follow His example of humility and obedience.
Love one another. Stay in order. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Recognize in every situation where you are to submit and where you are to be in authority. We are all equal in Christ, so let us embrace our God-ordained roles and positions so Jesus can have His way in us.