What does it mean to be free? And how does it relate to “submission to authority?” So many of the men of God that I have known really emphasize “submission” to authority. When I was younger, I really embraced this. I remember the day my life became “You say jump, and I will say ‘how high?'”
It was a season of great release for me. It was after that moment that I started to become more and more released in authority at the Mission Agency I worked with. Team Leader. Outreach Leader. School Leader. School Director. Ministry Team Leader. Then I fried a little. I always had the sense that “this isn’t quite it.” I am not doing what God put in ME. I am fulfilling the goals of other men.
But what does that mean? Is that GOOD? Is that GOD’s Training? I began to have this sense, that like Jacob, it was time for me to be raising my own flock. It is time to do what God has put in me.
I always struggle and wonder, am I a rebel? Why do I wonder if there is something wrong fundamentally with the way one man leads another in this world? Why should I tell the government my income? Who gave them the right to know that? Why do I need a license from the State to get married? Why do I need “approval” from human leaders to follow what God has put in me?
I believe I have to follow what God has given me whether or not anyone else on the planet believes with me, and whether or not anyone ever approves. That includes leaders, governments, friends, family, etc. I also believe that God has appointed leaders for roles in the development of a man. Parents, Pastors, Prophets, Brothers, Sisters.
My struggle is this. My heart does not buy that “submission” means doing what you are told. I have done so much doing what I am told. I want to be free inside. I want to be submitted to God in such a way internally that I can say “Judge for yourself whether or not I should obey God or men.”
But I am afraid. How do I separate the rebellion in my heart from the conviction that I must do what God wants? Even more of a struggle, what do I do with the part of my heart that INSISTS on being respected as a MAN, and OWNER, and an INDIVIDUAL? I am not defined by what anyone says I am – including the authorities God has placed over me.
How does it work? Submission to God vs. Submission to Man is easy when it is a clear moral issue. (Go commit murder! I cannot obey!)
But what if there is something in me that is convinced that I have a RIGHT and RESPONSIBILITY to be the Ruler of My Life. Not in the way the world does it (Every man for Himself), but as a free adult before God. I know, “Ruler of My Life.” How terrible. It sounds so WRONG in Christianeze. I must be a rebel, a self-willed, selfish rebel.
OR, is it actually true. All men are created equal and are endowed by God with Certain Inalienable Rights. What if it is WRONG to deny those rights?
I am not talking about THIS WORLD’s ideas about rights: “I get to do what I want, to hell with how it affects everyone else. To hell with God.” No, NO, NOOO!
What if I must worship God according to my conscience? No matter what any human authority says? What if I must speak what God has put in me?
What if I must steward my life according to my conscience? Those are the easy ones.
What if others around me think they know what is best for me? Only a fool would completely disregard the input of those who love them and who fear God as if they will give an account for one’s soul.
But in the end, each MAN must steward his life! I am concerned that I might close out the input of those who love me because I am so HUNGRY TO BE FREE!
I am a thirsty man. I desire to be free. First I want to be free inside. Free from the Devil. Free from Myself. Free from the Evil that tries to Dwell in my Flesh. Freedom from bondage to my flesh!
Then I wish to be free from other Tyrannies. The Tyrannies that men try to put on you. It seems to be innate in one man to want to control the other.
I wonder. Is it possible that no man ever has a right to exercise authority over another man unless ordained by God Himself? And even then, it must be exercised consistent with God’s boundaries and methods? No man has authority over another in and of itself. Didn’t Lex Rex settle that the Law is Indeed King?
No man is King. A child of God owes fealty to no man. No King but King Jesus. He is the only being in the universe that has a right to exercise authority over another as an inherent right. And he doesn’t even exercise it as a right. Look at the world. Is God forcing people to obey?
As I stated earlier, when it is a clear moral issue, it is easy. We must not sin against God. But what do I do with the demand for respect as an individual in my heart?
I am open to the Scriptures. I am open to the Lord. I am not open to being compelled to be and do something by MERE MEN. No way. Lord! I’ve got to know! What does it mean to be free? How does that relate to human authority?
I don’t know if I buy what I have heard. So I am on a Quest. A Quest for True Internal Freedom. An internal Freedom that knows how to flesh it out into this world externally. I am thirsty. Thirsty for freedom. I have a compulsion. A Freedom Thirst.
What would happen to the world if all men wanted, sought, and attained a greater measure of that kind of freedom? I intend to find out. Join me!