October 9, 2018

    Who Trumps Trump?

Romans 13:1–2

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Submission to the Authorities

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    Who Trumps Trump?

Bio | Tawney Macfarlan

Hi! My name is Tawney Macfarlan. I am wife of Dean, mother of Mac and Callie, mother-in-law to Sophie and Ryan, Muffin to seven beautiful grandchildren; AND I am a daughter of The King. In my thirties I spent the summer asking the LORD to teach me of His sovereignty. He answered me from His Word. My faith grew deep roots that sustain me in times of trouble because I know—God keeps me in perfect peace as my mind stays on Him, because I trust in the LORD forever; He is my everlasting rock (from Isaiah 26:3-4).

Central Truth

The Lord God Almighty created EVERYTHING! He placed the sun, moon, and stars in the sky. He knows every hair on our head, when we sit, when we rise, and our words before we say them. God created governments. So God trumps Trump—we are to pray for him and all in authority.

Devotional | Romans 13:1–2

This year, I celebrated, or rather acknowledged, my 60th birthday. When I was younger, I questioned being told to be subject or to submit. As a teenager, I kicked against the authority of my parents. At 22...

This year, I celebrated, or rather acknowledged, my 60th birthday. When I was younger, I questioned being told to be subject or to submit. As a teenager, I kicked against the authority of my parents. At 22 and engaged to be married, I questioned submitting to my husband. The problem was not with God's command, but my heart and mind. My heart was proud, thinking I knew better than God. My mind was misinformed, not knowing submission comes from understanding that God is sovereign—in absolute control of absolutely everything.

To be subject or submit involves placing oneself under the authority of another, doing or not doing what the authority requires. Paul is clearly instructing us that we are to be subject to governing authorities because they are in place and empowered by the Lord, who created all things (Colossians 1:16), controls the hearts of rulers (Proverbs 21:1), and tells us subjection to rulers is God's will (1 Peter 2:12-17). Paul goes on to explain that rejection of this command brings judgment. Webster's Bible Translation says it even more sternly: "Whoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." Ouch!

Obedience comes from a heart surrendered to God and brings blessings. Disobedience brings consequences.

Jesus is our great example. He willingly submitted to His Father's will and laid down His life to pay for our sins and restore our relationship to the Father (John 10:18, 19:11; Luke 22:42-43). Through the apostle Paul, Jesus tells us to pray for rulers (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Ultimately, there is no authority except that which is given by the LORD, the King of kings (Isaiah 40:21-23; 2 Chronicles 20:6), and Jesus is the true King (Philippians 2:10-11).

My willingness to subject myself to rulers, to parents, to my husband . . . is directly related to the condition of my heart and mind. The more I know the LORD is good, the easier it is to submit to His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2). Praying for each of us to seek Our Father daily and to purpose to know Him more so we can trust Him completely.

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Discussion Questions

1. What is your response when told to be subject or submit?

2. A heart of rebellion to not "be subject" can come from a lack of knowing God is sovereign and in perfect, absolute control. Look at these verses and see what you learn about the LORD: Isaiah 40:21-23; 1 Chronicles 29:11-13; Psalm 45:6; 93:1-2; 95:3; 103:19; 115:3; 135:6; Proverbs 16:1-5, 9; Daniel 2:21.

3. We are to be subject to authority so far as it does not hinder our obedience to God. See Daniel 3, 6 and Acts 5:29 for examples of when we are to not submit or be subject.

4. What are some current day situations when we may need to disobey governing authorities? How can we be prepared to stand firm (1 Corinthians 15:58)?

5. Who are we to submit to?

  •     to leaders—Hebrews 13:17; Titus 3:1;
  •     to parents—Ephesians 6:1; Colossians 3:20;
  •     to husbands—Ephesians 5:22; Colossians 3:18.

6. For further study, read Got Questions on submissiveness:    https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-submissive.html.

7. For encouragement, watch this "That's My King" video: https://vimeo.com/131521077.

12 Comments available

Michael Scaman over 1 year ago

The Bible doesn’t have anything good to say about disorder and even in problem situations God has a measure of some good ( whether in government, families and religious organizations - church or not - for his glory and to restrain evil)

“…there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God…” Rm 13:1

The word for ‘minister’ (diakonos) used here (twice) of government is where we get the word deacon.

The word used here of government ‘serving’ (leitourgoi) God and why you should pay taxes (because in some senses they serve God) is where we get liturgy.

greg jones over 1 year ago

1 Samuel 25. Not sure if Abigail is a great example of submission in the sense of what the devotional is saying about husbands and governments today, but I love the example of Abigail.

Submission doesn’t concede authority to the wrong power of those who hold it.

susan jordan over 1 year ago

Tawney, thanks for these always timely, timeless and relevant truths.

My immediate response when told to submit is to question authority. Your reminder to submit to leaders, parents and husbands is a good one. I want to define ‘leaders’ - is it congress even during those times when the majority is not my party? I also want to control enough of my life so that I am the one in authority. Is this an end run around not wanting to submit? I want to disobey governing authorities when their decisions and the law contradict my moral and faith beliefs. I can do this with my talent, time, treasure and votes. This is why I am really encouraged when I see non violent, peaceful protests - even when I disagree with the message or issue. Susan (Nelson) Jordan - Tulsa OK

John Hill over 1 year ago

Hello Tawny, so great to open the Journey today and see your devotional. Interesting, how “timely” God’s word is to us today. I also read the link you provided (https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-submissive.html) and loved this comment: submission is really one of the strongest pillars of a stable society.

One of my favorite verses is 2 Chronicles 7:14 - Also, very timely for us today. It sort of seems like God’s word is ALWAYS relevant.

Thanks to you and Dean for your service to the body of Watermark.

Brad Gaultney over 1 year ago

Great job, Tawney! Thank you for this well-written reminder that God is good, He is worthy to be trusted and that, as far as it does not cause us to disobey or dishonor Christ, we should submit to the authority God has placed over us.

Sue Bohlin over 1 year ago

Tawney!! Thank you for this marvelous devo linking submission to government authorities and God’s sovereignty! With so much vitriol surrounding American government and politics, I need to take a deep breath and remind myself that the government authorities in Paul’s day (the caesars) were far more corrupt and evil than what we deal with, yet the call to submit is the same.

Hope Harris over 1 year ago

Since it is the last day to register to vote in Texas, may I encourage those who aren’t to go register.

Pray for God to direct your voting decisions and carry out your civic duty as a responsible citizen

Hope Harris over 1 year ago

To be honest I struggle with balancing my political views and my faith. Having been a card carrying socialist and gradually moving more to right has challenged my worldview and values constantly.

I view our two party system as tumultuous and hard to trust. Todays passage in the message states the following:

“Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen.”

I am reminded that when peace and order are absent then its Man’s order not Gods. I am responsible to respect the positions of elected officals. To pray for those in authority over me. Live as a responisble citizen.

I do not have to agree with a platform or political system; in order to do any of those things.

Ronnie Oldfield over 1 year ago

Elections have consequences. We elect, those elected write the rules and hire people to implement.

I pray all Journey readers hear today’s challenge and respond by participating in the shaping of Authority.

Ronnie Oldfield over 1 year ago

Terrific encouragement to me Tawny. This is one challenging “how to live” scripture for me.

I closed doors in life because I have been too proud to submit to authority. No military service, no PhD, and living a wild life because I would neither submit to the authority of God, parents, or man.

As I have come to grips with my rebellious ways, I have had to work especially hard on the authority of man.

How to respect the authority while at the same time lovingly speaking up for people (including myself) who are being unfairly oppressed.

How to honor this challenge and still speak up politely when the authority of man is unfairly wielding its power?

Proverbs 25:26 Like a trampled spring and a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.


Lindsey Driscoll over 1 year ago

Tawny, thank you for your devo today on submitting to authority. It’s so interesting that Paul writes this to Christ followers under the Roman government, and it is still so applicable today. Q2- pondering today why I am so quick to say God is sovereign in many areas of my life, including recent loss; yet submitting to his direction on other things is so hard. But God’s ways are perfect, Psalm 18:30 says; and in hi perfection he calls us to submit first to his authority, than that of those in leadership around us.

Hugh Stephenson over 1 year ago

GM Tawny! Really well said. I identify with the idea of “kicking against authority”.

I wanted it both ways; I wanted others to submit to my authority, but I was not willing to readily submit to authority myself.

I saw God as a distant referee; uninvolved but ready to blow the whistle if I got out of line.

I learned in Prodigal and re:gen more of who God is. He showed me that those under me were rebelling because I was not worthy of being followed. This was a really hard truth to learn.

We see this pattern in Prodigal a lot. Kids rebelling because they never came to understand authority. Why would they obey anyone when it was never modeled to them? Part of my consequences is parenting two prodigal children.

My prayer is that modeling and teaching God’s goodness and kindness helps them see Christ in me.

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