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Session 9

What To Do With Authority

Read: 1 Peter 2:13-15

You've worked so hard for that promotion at work. You put in extra hours solving problems and leading your co-workers, but for whatever reason, you weren’t selected for the job. What's worse is that your new boss is demanding and has a bad attitude.

Whether it’s the person who took “your job,” the parent who just doesn’t understand or the teacher who seems to play favorites, submitting to authority can be hard — especially when we think the person in charge doesn’t deserve respect. Submission is even harder when the person in authority abuses his or her power or takes advantage of our  kindness. In those moments, we can be tempted to jump on the bandwagon when other people start to complain or  spread gossip.

Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, was regularly subjected to abuse from those in power over him. The Roman government saw Christians as traitors who refused to worship the emperor as god and who rejected the Roman ideals of self, power and conquest. Christians were regularly killed for their faith, and Peter wrote both 1 and 2 Peter from a jail cell.

Although Peter may have wanted to act out against the government, he writes, "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him" (‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭13‬). Peter knew that how we behave toward those in authority preaches just as loudly as the words we speak.

When we cooperate with those in authority — without compromising our commitment to Jesus — it creates an opportunity to earn trust and respect and for the Gospel to be shared. People will be watching to see how we react in difficult situations. Honoring those in authority over us may allow others to see Jesus’ love through our actions.

Reflect:

  • What is one way you can honor someone in authority over you today?
  • How do you speak to others  about  those who are in authority over you?
  • Do you hold a leadership role in some way? If so, what is a way you can show respect to those you lead?

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