“You’re Not the Boss of Me!”

This used to be one of my favorite sayings.  If I wasn’t saying it, I was probably thinking it!  One of the main themes in my life, sadly, has been that I didn’t like to be told what to do by pretty-much anybody.  God has been dealing with me on this specific issue for most of my life, but particularly since I moved to Dade City in late July of 2004.


This past Thursday night, at the Singles Bible Study where I share Praise and Worship, the topic of the study was Romans 13.  Specifically, Romans 13:1-2 which says:  “Everyone must submit himself (or herself) to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he (or she) who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”  New International Version, emphasis mine.


Ouch, those are my toes you’re stomping all over, God!


So what does this mean for me?  Well, as I have already shamefully admitted, I didn’t like it when ANYONE told me what to do, but especially if I thought I knew more than the person giving the orders (and I must regrettably admit again that that meant just about everyone {I am being painfully, embarrassingly honest to make a point}) So for me, this is a huge revelation.  I had the meaning down as far as the government, the law and people like that were concerned, but I was lacking in the “ALL” authority portion of the verse.  I conveniently chose to ignore the fact that “ALL” includes people like my Mom, My Pastoral co-workers, even my Senior Pastor at times.  I wasn’t overt in my disobedience (for the most part), I have learned the ability of skillfully avoiding what I don’t agree with by a variety of devices.  But that doesn’t make me any less WRONG.


Ouch!  Again with the feet, God!


OK, so now what.  I’ve seen this command from an entirely different perspective.  What am I supposed to do now?  Well, for me it means that I have to strap on a napkin, sidle up to the table and prepare for a big meal of CROW.  I have to confess my sin to all my coworkers and ask for their forgiveness.  I have to daily remind myself that “when someone tells me what to do, the question is not ‘what’ but ‘who'”.  Who’s doing the asking?  Has God placed them in a position of authority over me?  Do they merit my honor?  Does it matter whether I agree with them or not??  NO!  Does it matter if I think the thing they’re asking me to do is asinine or redundant?  NO!!  In fact, does it really matter what I think, period?  Ouch – No, not really.  In Joshua, God says “to obey is better than sacrifice”.  That’s a hard pill to swallow, even for someone with a mouth as big as mine.


I truly believe that one of the things that has been holding me back from being everything God wants me to be has been this lifelong struggle with authority.  After all, if I can’t be submissive to the authorities that God has placed over me like my Mom, my bosses and the speed limit, how can He expect me to be submissive to Him and His leadership?

Well, I may be stubborn, and I hate to admit I am wrong about anything, but my Mama didn’t raise no fool.  When I finally understand something, I stick with it.  It’s not going to be easy to change my attitude toward authority; after all, I’ve been successfully disobedient for 41 years.  But I know one thing for sure – I have a new attitude about those God has placed over me and why.  I am going to do what is right, even when it’s hard.


Does this mean that I’m going to be a mindless doormat, now?  One who blindly obeys without question?  Hardly – Have you met me???  God doesn’t say that I have to agree with what I’m asked to do.  He even gives me the option of removing myself out from under the authority of some.  But what I’m learning most of all from these verses is that my first response to direction shouldn’t be contradiction.  Hey, maybe I’ll have to change my favorite saying.  How does “Yes, right away.” sound?  Yeah, I’ll keep working on it!

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