Submission as a prerequisite to leadership

Do you want to know if a man will be a good leader? See if he submits respectfully to the authorities over him. If he does not, he will not be a good leader. To be a good leader, one must recognize legitimate authority and the importance of obeying that authority. When a rebel becomes the authority, he will likely be either a tyrant or a pushover, and neither extreme is good leadership.

Look at the life of our Lord Jesus Christ. His entire life was defined by respectful submission. He began His life by obeying His Father to be born in a stable. He ended His life not only by submitting to the will of His Father to be crucified, but with respect to the civil authorities of the Roman Empire. He could have called ten thousand angels and obliterated Rome, but He submitted.

Note: This does not mean blind submission and obedience, not does it mean not protecting our rights. There are many examples in Scripture of God’s people not obeying civil authorities.

The Apostle Paul appealed to Caesar when the Pharisees were mistreating him and violating his rights as a Roman citizen. David disobeyed King Saul by running away when Saul tried to murder him, and after that refused to raise his hand against God’s anointed king. Daniel did not stop praying to God despite the Emperor’s orders. The Apostles said they have to obey God rather than men when told to stop preaching Christ. Earthly authority has limits, and sometimes disobedience is necessary.

But when our posture to rightful authority is constant defiance, then that ought to be a bright red, flashing warning sign. Romans 13 should always be in our minds. Even when we must disobey, our basic posture should be one of respect, and “disobedience” is always submission to a higher authority – such as the United States Constitution, the commandments of God, or our liberty in Christ.

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