1 Peter 2:13-17 "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God's will that by doing good, you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God's slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor."
Authority comes in many forms — parents, teachers, government officials, bosses. Isn't it funny how, early in life, we start grappling for power against authority? By age two, most children have learned to assert themselves with the word "NO!" As teens, we engage in the typical teenage power struggles with our parents as we individuate, test boundaries and question authority.
By adulthood, things usually start to change. We begin to understand the importance of paying our taxes and the value of learning to work with our boss. We realize that our parents are smarter than we thought!
In 1 Peter, we discover that God calls us to live under his authority and that of the governing powers. Peter is saying, "Submit for the Lord's sake. Respect and honor those in charge — even if you disagree or dislike them!" By submitting to authority, we acknowledge that God is in control, which positions us to represent the Father to a world that doesn't yet know him.
If there is a conflict between what authorities require and God's commands, our obedience is to God before the government. However, more often than not, we are to show honor to those in charge. Silence the talk of ignorant people by the good you do, the respect you show to others, and the love you express to all.
Catch yourself before negative words come out about a person in authority. Take those thoughts captive and work to say or do something that shows respect.
God, I feel the division and power struggle all around me. Remind me that nothing is out of your control, even though it may feel like it at times. You are the ultimate authority in my life, and I pray that my words and actions bring honor to you and others today. In Jesus' name, Amen.