Our culture is in a mad dash of grabbing for the levers of authority, while simultaneously kicking against lawful authorities which God has placed over us. We deserve the madness because we’ve submitted to the authority of our selfish desires, while proudly disobeying the authority of God’s Word.
Authority isn’t something we can crank out of a factory of our own will for power or control. That approach is how we get tyrants. True authority is a gift, given from on high. As such it must be received with humble gratitude, and then employed; not demanded and then brutally enforced.
Authority is a potent tool. So ask yourself, what authority have you been given? What authority have you sought to unlawfully take? Where have you rebelled against lawful authority? Where have you sheepishly obeyed unlawful authority?
When you commit sin, you aren’t exercising the authority which the Gospel gives you over your body (Rom. 6:12). Rather, you’re having authority exercised over you, by your sinful appetites. This is an instance of abdicated authority. This problem is, as the kids say, systemic. We abdicated our authority by submitting to devils.
But right authority can be wielded in an ungodly manner. That’s a recipe for resented authority. For instance, a father shouting angrily at his kids to quiet down is exercising his authority. He’s like a lumberjack bragging about his tree-chopping skills while grabbing his chainsaw by the business end. Right tool, wrong use.
The solution to all our various authority anarchy is to first acknowledge Christ’s authority over all things. This makes clear the other authorities which He has ordained–– parents, elders, our Constitution, lawfully elected magistrates, teachers, employers. So, if you’ve been given authority, you’re responsible to use it in imitation of how Christ used His: sacrificially, humbly, and honestly. If you’re under authority, you also must do so in imitation of Christ: submission to the Father in all things.