The Need For Authority
There are many people who do not like the idea of living under someone else’s authority. Yet, it is a necessary thing – both in the physical and the spiritual realms. So, we should take a few moments to consider the need that we have for authority.
1) In the physical realm. All around us, people recognize the importance of authority in the physical realm. They recognize that it is necessary in order to provide structure, to have common laws that govern us, to have order rather than chaos, etc. Can you imagine what would happen if there was no one who had authority in the government? Or in the school system? Or in the workplace? Or in the home?
You see, we recognize the need for authority every day of our lives. We recognize it when we approach a stoplight in our vehicles. We recognize it when we pay for our groceries at the supermarket. We recognize it when we punch the time clock to begin our workdays. We recognize it whenever we take examinations at school. We recognize it when we do chores in the home.
2) In the spiritual realm. Even more important than recognizing the need for authority in the physical realm, we must also recognize the need for authority in the spiritual realm. We must recognize that we have been in great need of guidance and direction in order to understand what is right and wrong, pertaining to our souls. Mankind is divided as to what is right and what is wrong in these areas. And, this has resulted in constant conflict, chaos, and confusion – as many people simply choose to live in whatever ways they desire to live. They practice their religion however they believe is appropriate or that feels “right” to them.
Yet, we must question whether authority exists in the spiritual realm. We have already learned that it exists (and needs to exist) in the physical realm. Why would it be any different in the spiritual realm? Does the God who created all things really not care how people live their lives? Does He really not care how people try to serve and worship Him? Does He really desire His creation to be in constant conflict, chaos, and confusion about what is right and what is wrong? And, is it really in man’s best interest (spiritually) to live only according to his own desires, beliefs, and standards?
A couple of passages should definitively prove our need for authority in the spiritual realm. First, consider Proverbs 22:6. “There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.” So, even though we often think we know what is right and what is wrong, we are often sorely mistaken! And, the end result is spiritual death whenever we violate what God has said.
Second, consider Jeremiah 10:23. “O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.” Although mankind often tries to reject authority in the spiritual realm, the fact is that mankind is incapable of living in the way that pleases God without it. God will not be pleased whenever we only live according to our own ideas, traditions, and feelings about what is right and wrong.
Clearly, the need for authority exists all around us – every day. But, there is not an area that is more important to have authority than in the spiritual realm. Recognizing the need for authority in this area of your life is essential to pleasing God and to submitting to His great authority!