Briefing: Who are the people in your life that hold authority over you? Everywhere we go and everything we do falls under someone’s authority.
Dispatch (Assignment): Read Romans 13:1.
On the Street: I live in a small town in Texas so our government might not be set up the same way yours is. The officers in our town have the typical chain of command from officer to police chief. The chief is the end of the chain of command for the police officers. This does not mean he is the end of the chain of command for our town. He has a boss, the city manager and the city manager has a boss, the city council, and the city council is an elected position. The people are ultimately the bosses and that is how democracy works. Each step in the governmental process has a person of authority over them.
This question of authority has big implications and if looked at correctly can change our perspective on a lot of the things we do. Romans 1:1 says, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Paul says every authority is of God and every person must submit to those authorities.
Law enforcement makes it easy to know who the authority is within the organization. You have officers, sergeants, lieutenants and so on up to the chief. Law enforcement officers like to apply this verse to the citizens of our community but don’t like applying it to themselves. When I was a younger peace officer, I assumed the badge put me in control of every situation I faced. I had the deluded idea that I was the ultimate authority over everyone because of my job. This did not honor God, it honored me.
We talk a lot about how to live righteously and glorify God in our day to day practices. Have you ever considered how obeying the authority set before you does this? When God says obey authority we do it out of obedience to Him. By obeying authority, we are ultimately obeying God. This goes back to Romans 12:1-2 where we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. When we find ourselves in a position where someone in authority is telling us what to do we must obey. We do not obey just because we have to but because we have mentally recognized the authority and out of obedience to God we choose to obey. This is righteousness and giving glory to God. This requires us to destroy the prideful instinct that tells us to usurp authority because of who we think we are. As you begin to put this into regular practice you might find people noticing and asking you what has changed about you. Be prepared to give an answer and point to the ultimate authority, God.
Investigational Resources: Romans 12:1-2.
Officer Safety Principle: You have been placed in a position of authority (law enforcement). People naturally watch the ones who are put in a position to lead by example. Are you leading in a way that points to God’s authority or your own?
from The Book of Romans Through the Eyes of a Cop
©by Charles Gilliland. Used by permission.
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