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Daily Devotionals

Day 24 – Issue 40

todayMay 1, 2015 3

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Be Still Know

Romans 13.1 NLT

‘Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.’

Our society has a high level of cynicism towards those in authority. There is a widespread suspicion of the motives of those with political power, and the media takes every opportunity to shoot politicians down in flames whenever they slip up. But the apostle Paul would encourage us to look at our politicians with spiritual eyes and to remember that all authority on this earth ultimately comes from God. Therefore, it is vital that we pray for those in authority and play our part as good citizens, obeying the laws of the land and showing our willingness to support the life of the community.

But I can hear you asking a very big question, “What should we do if the governing authorities command us to do something that is contrary to God’s law?” Paul doesn’t address this issue and it might well be because, at this stage, he hadn’t encountered any particular difficulties. The Jews had a special status of protection within the Roman Empire and, in the earliest days of the church, Christians were viewed as being a variety of Jews and so they enjoyed similar protection. But all of that changed in later years. What might Paul have said in those more challenging circumstances?

The answer to questions like this is always to look at other parts of the Bible and a fundamental principle was clearly established in the earliest days of the church. When he was commanded to stop preaching about Jesus in Acts 5 Peter replied “We must obey God rather than any human authority” (verse 29). How are we to fit this together with Paul’s teaching? The answer has to be that we must always respect the fact that our leaders’ authority comes ultimately from God, and so we should be good citizens and obey them as fully as possible, knowing that they are answerable to God. But when laws conflict with God’s law, we must obey God because he is the one with ultimate authority. This presents many Christians in the world today with incredibly difficult dilemmas, because many governments are firmly opposed to Christianity. We need to pray that these brothers and sisters will be given great courage, grace, patience and strength as they live for God, and we need to be ready to defy the law ourselves if obedience to God’s law demands it.

Question: In what circumstances could you imagine yourself defying the law of the land?

Prayer: Lord God our Father, help us always to obey you, whatever the cost. Amen

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Written by: Matt Weet

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