Friday, September 23, 2011

Obeying Authorities

Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. (2 Peter 2:10b-11 NIV)

ObedienceWhile I was still in high school, I did something that upset my parents so greatly, they had me starved, disciplined, and locked up on occasions. I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior, an act my parents deemed as rebellion and a violation of trust. Throughout the genealogy of my family, every member has been a follower of a hybrid Buddhism and Taoism religion. What I did was in my parents’ eyes unforgivable, and for many years since, I was persecuted.

Initially, my parents tried to bring me back to their fold by punishing me. Eventually, however, they gave me up as lost after I repeatedly refused to participate in their religious practices, which included ancestral worship and bowing down to idols. I became then to my parents as one who has gone astray and not known my own roots, and to the people of the community a renegade and an outcast.

Many a time, following Jesus requires us to do things most people would not do. We know the Bible says children are to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20). Likewise, we are to obey authorities because there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God (Romans 13:1). Yet, when the apostles were given strict orders not to continue to teach in the name of our Lord, Peter answered and said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:27-29). This is what makes the difference between blind obedience and obedience to God.

In following Christ, it is good to know where we stand in our obedience to God. Are we ready to count everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing our Lord, for whose sake willingly suffer the loss of all things to gain Christ (Philippians 3:8)? Will we stand to defend for what is right even if we know we may be disadvantaged or persecuted as a result (Psalm 82:3; Isaiah 11:4)? Do we side and follow the crowd or speak the truth to bring about justice when asked to testify (Exodus 23:2)?

The ‘wise’ of this world will deem us as fools for choosing to obey God despite knowing the consequences we may put ourselves into, just as my parents deemed me a fool to follow Christ. Yet, it is for this reason God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). The word of the cross to those who are perishing may be foolishness, but to us, we know it is the power of God for salvation (1 Corinthians 1:18).

Nevertheless, we should not confront or seek to go against the authority that is set over us, for it is commanded in the word of God that we should obey (Romans 13:1-4). Unless, therefore, we are commanded to do what is wrong or against the will of God, we should take heed to do what is right. For even angels, although stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on celestial beings or angelic majesties in the presence of the Lord (2 Peter 2:10-11). If therefore Michael the archangel did not argue or pronounce against the devil a railing judgment when disputing over the body of Moses, who are we to revile the things which we do not understand (Jude 9-10)?

If we should feel obeying God is a sacrifice, then let us set our hearts right, for to obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22). Our God does not need us to sacrifice our will to obey Him, nor does He desire our blind obedience. Let us willingly offer our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, which is our true and proper worship (Romans 12:1).

Forgive us Lord for our occasional lapses in standing up for what is right, and for following the crowd at times even though we know they may be wrong. Help us not be defiant towards authorities set over us Lord, but to be willing to submit to them unless when against Your command or will. Grant us boldness Lord, not of arrogance but of strength, to obey and do Your will in counting everything a loss to gain You.

4 comments:

  1. Edmond--I didn't realize what your being a follower of Christ had cost you. What a testimony. You are blessed, and so am I to know you.

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  2. Dear Lisa

    God has been gracious and has blessed me lots through the experience.

    My wife suffered with me too when my dad departed some years ago, as we refused to participate in the non-Christian funeral ceremony and ritual.

    Today, I am still praying for a breakthrough for every heart in the family to become more receptive to the gospel. Sadly, I still stand alone as the only Christian in the family presently. Language barrier is another obstacle for me communicating with my mom as she does not understand English, and I am not fluent with the native dialect.

    My sincere thanks to the many Christian support groups online that have brought me much encouragement. Knowing people like you is such a blessing. You are a treasured friend, and God bless you.

    But He knows the way I take; When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10 NAS)

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  3. Powerful testimony! Joining you in praying for your family. It is indeed a blessing to know you, your life inspires me seek Him more.

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