Representing Christ Well by Submitting to Authority

teamworkContinued from here.

One glaring area for improvement in Christian circles is obeying God about submitting to authority. The Bible is very clear that God expects his people to submit to all forms of authority, such as God’s laws, secular authority, and those in authority over you in ministry. The Bible also tells wives to respect and submit to their husbands. This is not a popular message, particularly in the United States, which was founded upon rebellion from England. However, as Christians, we cannot pick and choose which biblical admonitions to follow. If you are disciple of Christ, you will obey what God tells you to do.

One reason I never wanted to go into professional ministry is that Christians can be the most difficult people to lead. I have led both Christian volunteers and secular volunteers and have found that the secular volunteers are more easily led, which is ironic considering God’s Word emphasizes the importance of walking together in unity. In the secular realm, leaders are not going to put up with much attitude from volunteers. However, in the Christian realm, leaders want to extend grace, and many take advantage of that grace and behave in ways that secular volunteers would not consider doing. This should not be, Church. I make it my mission to be the most easily-led volunteer at my church. One must learn to be a good follower to ever become a good leader.

One thing that the enemy does better than the Church is working together in unity. Even Satan knows that a house divided against itself cannot stand. However, the church has not learned that lesson, which is one reason the Church has divided itself into so many denominations. “Being right” takes priority over being unified, even though the Bible is clear that we are all members of one Body and need to learn to work together in unity, following the Head, who is Christ.

If you have trouble working together in unity with your Christian brothers and sisters, you are spiritually immature. It’s time for the Church to grow up. If everyone in a ministry is following one Head, then they should be able to work together in unity rather than split apart every time the Head makes a decision that they do not like.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace waving pom poms and cheering under the word, “Teamwork!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

How to Obey God When It’s Hard

will_doContinued from here.

In my last blog entry, I promised to share the steps I take to stay obedient to God when I really, really, REALLY don’t want to.

Step 1 is to spend more time with God. When I am having an obedience problem, I’ll double up my time with Him. I’ll spend more time in prayer telling God all of the reasons why I don’t want to obey and then asking Him to change my “want to” to align with His. I’ll double the number of songs in my praise & worship time with an emphasis on songs that focus on praising God in the storm. And I’ll spend more time in His Word, focusing on Scripture that is applicable to my area of struggle.

Step 2 is figuring out which of the four fundamental beliefs I am struggling with the most because when I fully believe all four of them, I don’t have an obedience problem. Which am I doubting the most? God’s love? His goodness? His presence with me in this situation? Or His control over this area of my life? While I might be wrestling with more than one area, I’ll typically notice that one link is the weakest, so that’s where I’ll focus my efforts.

Step 3 is repentance. I’ll admit to God that I have been struggling with doubting His presence in this situation and ask His forgiveness. Don’t worry – He already knows! I will tell God that while my circumstances are tempting me to doubt His presence, I choose to believe His Word over my circumstances. (Yes, this is hard for me to do as well.)

Step 4 is to meditate on Scripture that builds my faith in that weak link area. For example, if I am struggling to believe that God is walking through this situation with me, I’ll meditate on Deut. 31:6 and Heb. 13:5. I’ll tell God that while I don’t feel His presence, I know He is with me because His Word says He is.

Step 5 is to obey God anyway. No matter how many doubts assail me, I’ll tell God, “I love You more. I’ve put all my eggs in Your basket, so either You will come through, or I’ll fail. I WILL obey You, no matter what I see.” This kind of faith is not easy, but it really is that simple.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace checking items off a checklist and saying, “Will do!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]