How Submission To Authority Becomes Disobedience To God


Submission to authority is an important thing, one that's both good and bad. Don't get me wrong – I value submission, but learned through the years that it's a double-edged sword. It's good when we submit to the right authority, but bad when we submit to the wrong one. How do we know?

Friends, I chose to write this article because of the apparent abuse of authority being done by various "leaders" in different places. I am sad that many Christians, who are supposed to operate in discernment and act with wisdom, mistakenly and fatally adhere to certain Scriptures without much thought.

Careful Thought

Friends, we must realise that God gave us His Word as our ultimate instruction, the Holy Spirit as our indwelling Teacher and Guide, His wisdom to help us make the right choices, and of course our very own physical brain to think wisely. God has given us so much resource to do what is right.

One of the things that we must rightly do is to choose our leaders wisely. We are told to submit to our leaders alright, but we are also told to prioritise God above all. In fact, we must choose to obey God rather than man in each and every circumstance we find ourselves in. (see Acts 5:29)

Submission To The Right Authority

There are several figures of authority we are to submit to according to the Bible. While submitting to them is right, we must remember that God is the Supreme Authority, and any authority that undermines, goes against, or rebels against the authority of God is wrong for us.

The Government

One of the most misunderstood passages regarding submission is Romans 13:1, which says, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are appointed by God."

Authority might be from God, but if our government leaders incite us to commit sin and unacceptable things in the sight of God, our submission and blind obedience to them means disobedience to God. We must obey God first before any other.

Religious Leaders

The church is our family in Christ, but the truth is that it's not exempted from problems. One such problem is the abuse of Psalm 105:15, wherein God says, "Do not touch my anointed ones, and do no harm to my prophets."

God might have appointed pastors and other church leaders to their positions in the Christian Church, but Christ is still the one and only Lord we should have. While that passage simply meant not harming or hurting leaders (even if they are in the wrong), it doesn't mean we should blindly obey them. God should be our God, and Christ should be our Lord.

Other Figures

The Bible mentions more leaders, such as parents, superiors at work, and other people, but the point here is that whoever the leader might be, we must understand that God is our Supreme Authority, and what He says is more important than any directive from man whatsoever.

No matter what happens, we must remember to obey God rather than man. When we reverse than order, we displease and disobey God Himself – even if we say we're merely obeying His command to submit to authority for His sake (see 1 Peter 2:13).