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Why Should I Respect Authority?

In my duties as a minister, both to Youth and Adults, I've often had to counsel folks who've had issues with authority. Many times, in marriages, in families, I hear "Why shouldn't I get to do what I want?" The best thing I could do to answer such questions is point right back to the Word. If you look to the word, God seems to hold a lot of weight in earthly authority (he also severely punishes kings, priests and rulers who abuse such powers). Beginning with our parents, God tells us to obey and honor. Paul (in Ephesians 6) tells us that obeying our parents is the first commandment with a promise: that it go well in the land the Lord our God is giving us. Jesus, Paul, and Peter said to submit to governing authorities, even as they, and other Christians were being persecuted by such authorities (there's a time to obey God rather than man, but that's a different topic!). I've often asked, and have been asked this question: Why?

As far as I could tell, God takes it personally when people who claim His name are rebellious. The world is in rebellion. Rebellion was the first thing Adam and Eve did against God in the Garden. Rebellion removes our hearts from focus on God, and places it on ourselves: demanding our way, our wants, wishes, and desires. The longer we live in rebellion, the further our hearts go from God. So God gave us earthly authorities, our parents, governing authorities, etc., not as a test, but as a guide post that, as we submit to them, lead us in to submitting to His ultimate authority. And this is where we find our freedom, for God's law is not burdensome, but gives us freedom, even in the middle of tribulation and persecution. 1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

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