Our church briefly touched on the issue of authority on Sunday, in a most timely way, because it’s an issue that’s been on my mind lately, too. So, so many people wrestle with authority today and don’t know who to trust or what to place their trust in. Another name for “faith,” is “trust.” Who do you trust? Who you trust is going to have authority over you. Another name for authority is “love.” Yep, love. There is a reciprocity there, who we love is going to have authority over us.
Or what we love is going to have authority over us. Make sure that what you love is something good, because a lot of us love things like gambling, food, drama, drugs, celebrity, offense, pornography, I mean you name it, we love it. The problem being what we love is going to have authority over us. It will own us eventually.
Discipline means “to teach.” It’s the same word we get “disciple” from. So, Jesus is an authority, teaching the disciples, who must take a leap of faith and place their trust in Him. That’s a healthy example of the interplay between authority, trust, love, and discipline.
Children tend to trust their parents because they haven’t got much choice at first. That’s where the food is. When people are abused, when that trust is repeatedly violated, it creates a myriad of issues and social problems. One issue is revoked authority. If you can’t trust, you can’t receive love. You become unteachable. Defiant.
Some people will respond to that “might makes right” dynamic by becoming compliant, repressed, giving the illusion of cooperation, but that really is just an illusion. When someone has a gun to your head, you may go along to get along, but it isn’t love that motivates you, it isn’t freewill, it isn’t respect for authority at all. It also isn’t discernment. A lot of abuse victims go on to be exploited in new ways because they have a life script playing out, a set of learned behaviors and some damaged discernment skills.
I’m not trying to blame victims at all. Sometimes we are just the bug on somebody’s windshield, but sometimes the stage is built for people, the script is rolled out, and we don’t realize that we are like captives, replaying a role without even being aware of it. Jesus came to set the captives free.
My grandmother was a train wreck of a woman, but she taught me how to read when I was about 3 yrs old. She also taught me not to hate. I’m not sure why I accepted her authority on those two matters, but I totally did. Unfortunately she was shot and killed and I lost her presence in my life, but all these years later I remain convinced reading is an important skill and that hatred is wrong.
When I was very young, I had a few close encounters of the God kind. I have no idea why I accepted His authority, but I totally did, unconditionally. Pure trust, like only a child can have.
Those are the only two examples I have of simply voluntarily trusting authority, sight unseen, also called taking a leap of faith. Praise the Lord for making His presence known to me however, because without Him I would seriously be lost. Also, it’s somewhat comical, because when I say those are the only two times I ever accepted authority on any level, that’s no joke. Defiance is an art form apparently, one that must be carefully cultivated and nurtured.
I actually had a pretty good childhood on account of the fact that I never did anything my parents said. Ever. That strikes me as hysterically funny, only because my parents were really dysfunctional. So how do you survive such a thing? You just play opposite day and reverse everything they say.
To this day I can blink my eyes and revoke someone’s authority. That’s not a bad thing at all, because she who is under authority, has authority. I know who I love. I know who I serve. I know who owns me and He is good. Always.
We have to choose Who and what we are going to put our trust in. That is kind of the essence of faith. Atheists who are defying God, claiming He doesn’t exist, are still putting their trust in something. They are taking a leap of faith. They are believing on something. They are also revoking God’s authority. That’s what it means when they tell me God condones slavery or He’s mean, while also at the same time, He allegedly does not exist. That is called a no confidence vote, revoked authority, distrust, an act of defiance like playing opposite day. Flat out, most atheists don’t believe in God because they believe He is unworthy of His authority.
Never mind the atheists however, most of us Christians wrestle with some trust issues too, with faith, and with authority. Some of us are blessed to have some good earthy examples going on, but many are not. The world, abuse, confusion, chaos, all those things can mess with our understanding, leave us with trust issues, transform the very word “authority” into something negative, something you want to flee from. We create pictures in our mind of control, exploitation, bullies, brainwashing, all sorts of really negative things that seek to devour us.
Authority is love. That can be a hard leap for some to take, but authority actually hung on a cross for you, so you might be redeemed, saved, given life and life abundant, life eternal even. The very nature of that kind of authority is sacrificial, it has your best interests in mind. So the presupposition that says “God is good,” sometimes takes a real leap of faith to accept as a premise, but it stems from an awareness of what His authority actually looks like.
God is NOT a bully, God is NOT an abuser, God is NOT a control freak. God is NOT a narcissist. Those are unfortunate human conceptions of authority gone all wrong. People often cannot be trusted with absolute power, but God is Holy, God is good, God does NOT have hidden motivations or double mindedness going on.
Your trust is safe in His hands. Your faith is safe in His hands. He is worthy.