THURSDAY — Fight: With the Way You Live
Big Point: Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king. –1 Peter 2:17
The teaching of the Word of God is that a Christian is responsible to be a good citizen, seeking peace within the state. Clearly, this is the intent of the Word of God. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
Government was never meant to be our master—not as a ruthless monarchy, a dictatorship or an oppressive parliament. The American founding fathers were convinced that people have the full power to govern themselves, and that people may choose to give up some of their rights for the general good and the protection of rights. Nevertheless, each person should be self-governed, and this is why virtue is so important for citizens.
So long as government fosters what is “good”, we Christians approve of it. In as much as government promotes what is “wrong”, we are compelled to disapprove of it. This does not necessarily mean that we are in rebellion against government, but instead we seek what leads to peace so that we may worship God and thus honor Him.
Authority by Michael Stark
READ and THINK…Find the answers
Have you ever owed someone something and thought that it was not significant to worry about? How about holding back something because you thought it wouldn’t make a difference? What does the Bible say?
Romans 13:7 (New Living Translation)
Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
In Romans it describes where our authority comes from. What holds us to the idea of respecting authority? Does it matter if we understand it? Why? How does it affect our relationship with God when we rebel against authority?
To trust Him means, of course, trying to do all that He says…but trying in a new way, a less worried way.
-C. S. Lewis
Romans 13:1-2 (New Living Translation)
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.
Authority sometimes leaves us feeling uncertain and concerned about our future. What does the Bible say we should be doing to support our leaders?
1 Timothy 2:1-3 (New Living Translation)
1I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3This is good and pleases God our Savior.
Dependence upon God makes heroes of ordinary people like you and me.
LIVE…What will you do now?
After reading Romans 13:1-2, you may be wondering what the role is of a Christian in our modern society? Must we obey unjust laws? Is the power of the state absolute? Is there a place for disobedience?
Before reading today’s lesson, how did you think about authority and how it relates to the Bible? Did it occur to you that the Bible instructs us to respect and honor our own government?
It starts at home. What are you doing in your own life, as an individual, to make a difference? We can’t expect our country to change if we aren’t willing to make that change to live for God ourselves. Are there behaviors in your life that should be transformed to honor these scriptures?
Studies show that the average person wastes what amounts to two hours a day sitting at traffic lights, surfing the internet, or daydreaming. One minute doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but what if we put one of those minutes a day to use by praying for America? We call that The One Minute Challenge. Read more at OneMinuteChallenge.org.
PRAY…God, what do you want me to know and do?
Pray that the Lord lifts up those in authority to fulfill God’s purpose and obey God’s laws. Ask God to give them guidance and direction for the good of the people they serve. Thank God for our leaders. Ask God to help you be a good follower of authority.