Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Accepting Authority

1 Peter 2:13-17
Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, 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 men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Great God who governs the globe, You are the highest, most supreme ruler in all the land. All other authority is established by You for our good and Your glory. While there are civil laws in the land, Your Word is our utmost command. No matter who reigns as President of the United States, You expect all Christians to accept his authority and act like citizens of Your kingdom.

By Your power, help me to leave the things of the world and return to You, my first love. For too long, I’ve pursued personal pleasure and prosperity instead of a personal relationship with You. Walking hand-in-hand with You, I’ll see every human as Your valuable creation. While they may be ignoring You, and You may not accept their actions, You never stop yearning for them. Instead of condemning the ungodly, I’ll freely serve them. My good deeds, done in the light of Your love, might cure their ignorance, draw them to You, and save them from eternal damnation.

By Your mercy, help me to love Your family. For too long, there has been division in the Church, across denominations over doctrine. Because of our bickering and brokenness, we’ve reflected a poor image of You to the watching world. The bottom line is that You suffered, died, were buried, and rose to glorious new life in order to save EVERYONE who believes. With that in mind, I’ll set aside my own preferences in order to be a better Body builder. My good deeds, done in compassion to other Christians, will silence the critical crowds, reflect Your radiant image, and attract people to the beautiful Body of Christ.

With all due respect, I’ll love You with all my heart, mind, soul and strength, and obey Your orders for outstanding living in an outrageous society. Without compromising my conscience, I’ll honor the position of the next President of the United States by accepting his authority and living among the outlaws in such a superior way that even the pagans will praise Your glorious name. Amen.

Throughout the ages, Christians have lived under oppressive regimes. When Peter wrote this letter, believers were subject to the totalitarian government of Nero, a notoriously cruel tyrant. During Nero’s terrifying reign, Peter penned these words to encourage the persecuted Church, and God preserved them for us today.

Let them be an encouragement to you also. Regardless of whom the next president is, God sets the standard for His family. As believers we are compelled to treat everyone with dignity even those we disagree with; love the family of God despite our denominational and doctrinal differences; fear God; and respect government as God’s emissary.

Remember how much Jesus suffered for you. In the light of His love, live for Him, die for Him, and let your light shine for Him in the darkness so that all men will notice Him and praise Him.

Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

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