Today, I want to continue talking with you about the matter of Respect — particularly respect for authority figures in your life.
Last week, we talked about how we ought to have a respect or “fear” of God. This respect of God will help us do right, and it will help us have the right perception of others and of ourselves because we know that we are all made in the image of God.
Although God is the ultimate authority over all of His creation, He also places authority figures in our lives in order to lead us, guide us, and direct us. Those authority figures include: familial authorities such as parents or older relatives, spiritual authorities such as pastors or Sunday School teachers, and governmental authorities such as police and other government officials. God tells us in His word that we ought to show respect and obedience for each of these authorities.
Regarding parents, the Bible says in Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.“ Because your parents are older and come from a different generation than you do, it will be tempting to think that you know more than they do about how to live life. You will be tempted to think that their advice, which is meant to keep you safe and help you prosper in life, is meant to hold you back. That is a foolish way of thinking. God promises that if you obey your parents, you will prosper — things will go well for you, and you will live a long life.
Regarding spiritual leaders, the Bible says in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” God has uniquely gifted and ordained certain men and women in the body of Christ with the gifts of teaching and instruction. He has placed pastors in positions of leadership and He speaks to them through His Holy Spirit regarding what they need to teach and preach to those who are under their care. Because these people are representatives of God on earth, they deserve our respect. We ought to listen to what they say and obey it as long as it agrees with the Word of God. I did not say as long as it agrees with you, because like any good authority, they will have to tell us some things that we may not want to hear, but that are good for us nonetheless.
Regarding governmental authority, Romans 13:1-3 states: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.“ These verses are very relevant in this day and time when many people in our communities have mixed feelings regarding our relationship with law enforcement as black people. Some feel as though the police, the government, and the justice system are against us as a people. You might even harbor such feelings due to what has happened in recent instances such as the Michael Brown case or the Trayvon Martin case among others.
Despite all of that, the Bible states that the office of a law enforcement official is God-ordained. He does not say you have to like or be in agreement with the person or people who hold that office. But, you must respect the office and you must obey the office regardless of your feelings as long as what the office tells you to do is not contrary to God’s Word. When you respect the office, you are respecting God who ordained and mandated that office.
Respect for authority is something that you will have to deal with throughout your life. There will always be someone over you whom you will have to listen to and obey no matter how old you get. It is best to learn the habit of respect sooner rather than later.
We will take more on this matter of respect in our next episode.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.