We live in an age mistrustful of authority.
We’ve seen political leaders fail to live up to their campaign promises, spiritual leaders prey emotionally or sexually on weaker ones, police officers murder, and parents put their own desires ahead of their children.
It’s hard to trust, isn’t it?
But when we respond to our bad experiences by shirking authority or by picking and choosing when we will or won’t submit to authority, we set ourselves in dangerous waters.
Because to do this is to appoint ourselves as the highest authority.
We are guilty of exactly this in our relationship to God.
Consider lust, greed, gossip, pornography, homosexual sex, divorce, gluttony, sloth, cowardice, and worst of all pride. Scripture (not to mention the clear teaching of the church for the majority of the last 2000 years) clearly teaches each of these is contrary to God’s will, but many who claim to follow Jesus today endorse these as acceptable.
To this I have to ask: If we willfully reject Christ’s authority, can we really claim to be His followers?
Within the word authority is author. The authorities we submit to become our authors, writing a tale of their own, crafting their own version of “reality.”
Who are you choosing as your author? In truth, we have only two options:
- To accept our place in God’s unfolding story, trusting His version of reality even when it doesn’t seem to make sense with our experience.
- To take the pen and try to rewrite reality according to what seems right to us, creating our own version of humanity and how we want life to work.
This second option, I believe, is why at the end of time Jesus will say to some, “I never knew you” (Mt. 7:23). It’s not because He doesn’t care, but because these opt to be their own creators and so become someone He can no longer recognize.
As for me, I don’t do this perfectly. I have a lot in me that still grabs for the pen, tries to write my own reality, and makes a mess. This is why I need Jesus. Because I believe Christ is more trustworthy than I am to write our way to a happily-ever-after ending.
Lord Jesus, You are a good Author. You settled that on the cross. You are a trustworthy authority. You proved that through Your resurrection. Have mercy on me where I grab for Your pen and try to rewrite reality according to my own design. This day I choose to trust and follow You. Help me to do so, for my good, the good of the world, and Your glory. Amen.
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