Submitting to Authority

As Christians, the Bible tells us that we are to submit to many different types of authority: to God, to leadership, to parents, and to our spouses. Unfortunately, the idea of submission brings about anger and emotional conflict in most of us. Why is this?

As humans, we are naturally bad at submission. We like to believe that we are in control and act as if we are our own gods over our life. The idea of allowing anyone else the authority to tell us what to do and of putting our desires to the side for the desires of someone else goes against this self-deification.

For the first post in this series on submission we are going to define submission and then focus on submitting to authority in the workplace.

What is Submission
Submission is the humble act of accepting the will or authority of another person. In submission you may permit them to be in control or tell you what to do. Submission is a voluntary act of service that comes about as a reflection of our love and obedience to God.

A word of caution. Submission is not something to be forced upon you, degrading or humiliating. It also does not require you to do something that goes against the truth of the Bible or against the law.

Submission is “the ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get your own way… If we could only see that most things in life are not major issues, then we could hold them lightly… In submission, we are at last free to value other people.” (Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster, p. 97-98).

Our example of submission is Jesus. He is the way of the cross and He lived in submission to the Father every day of his life. Submission is the foundation for your testimony and lays the groundwork for others to come Christ.

Why Should You Submit in the Workplace?
Whatever work you do, it is a valuable calling from God. You should view serving your employer as you would serve the Lord.

Even though your boss may have a bad temperament or a poor management style, you are called to submit to their authority. Your Christian response and conduct in the workplace is what brings favor to God.

“Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly.” 1 Peter 2:18.

You may not like the task they have given you to do, but we are called to do it anyways out of reverence for Christ and respect for your manager. However, this does not mean that you have to perform any work that is illegal, immoral or by its nature a sinful act. You have workplace rights and never have to perform an act that goes against the Word of God.

When submitting to authority, we can either be known for a negative temperament and attitude of complaining or we can be known for our Christ-like example of accepting authority and executing our duties to the best of our abilities. It may not be easy but day after day, we have the choice to be a humble reflection of Christ and a guiding light to those around us.

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