Relating to authority as a Christian

Daniel and Authority

Hello! Happy New Year and every other ‘Happys’

It’s been a while i posted on here but i’m coming back soon.

In the meantime, while studying Ecclesiology (theology as applied to the nature and structure of the Christian Church., i was studied Daniel as an example of how to relate with authority.

Many of us have authority issues and we don’t even know it. As a Christian, every area of our life is important to God. We are representatives of God and thus how we relate to everyone including our leaders matters a lot as it reflects our God. The Bible is quite clear on the topic of authority and submission.

Romans 13: 1- 7 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Let’s review Daniel’s relation to authority and glean some wisdom from it.

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

Daniel made this resolution based on his personal beliefs and then went on to seek the permission of the authority placed over him. God gave him favor and he was granted his request. The lesson here is that despite his strong convictions, he didn’t run off and do as he liked just. He still sought permission first by praying for God’s favour. Many of us disobey authority figures set over us in the name of ‘I was led’ or ‘I feel strongly to do this’. While it’s absolutely understandable that we have convictions about certain things, if they don’t go against core Christian beliefs, God wants you to submit yourself to the governing authority. We however have the benefit of tackling the issue in prayer and winning the heart of the authority figure. An example of this is was Paul was being interrogated in Acts 23: 1-5 and in defending himself, he insulted the High Priest; immediately he realized who he was and the authority placed on him, he immediately apologized.

Daniel 1:19 – 20 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service.20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

The 4 Hebrew boys were found to be better than the rest. In the 3 years of training they must have worked on themselves and participated fully in the activities required, even though they were slaves. They recognized the authority placed over them and submitted to it as God’s will and did their best to came out. They could have sulked and done the bare minimum because they were slaves after all and didn’t chose to be there or serve a pagan king. 

How many of us have delivered sub-par work in the name of not liking the boss or client. It’s quite common, even normal, to stop pulling your weight when something doesn’t please us either at work, in marriage, working in church etc. but this shouldn’t be. The 4 Hebrew boys maintained a spirit of excellence at everything, irrespective of who the person in authority was and you should too.

Daniel 2:14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.

Daniel could have spoken rudely but he applied wisdom. Let’s use the manner of how most Nigerians relate with the police as an analogy; most times when the police stop people, the person in question is innocent and the policeman just wants to chop. But in that situation, how do you respond? Rudely or with tact? Knowing that even though it’s an abuse of power, they have been given some authority and respecting for them for that authority. Daniel was guiltless in this situation and could have flared up and spoiled the matter but he recognized Arioch as a man under authority and replied with wisdom. 

Daniel 2:28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.

Daniel gave the glory of the revelation to God. He understood his source and recognizes it. Thus, he wasn’t careful in relaying the interpretation or its implication to the king. He knew who and whose he was and thus was able to relate from a place of boldness. His boldness before men came from a life surrendered to the authority of God. The bedrock of all authority is God and we must have our foundation in him. Your life must be completely surrendered under the authority and leadership of God through the Holy Spirit. It’s from this surrender that everything comes from.

When Paul calls himself as a slave to Christ, he wasn’t confused or mincing words. We need that perspective also, we are slaves, sold out to God’s will!

Daniel 2:46 – 48 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.” Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men.

Promotion comes truly from the Lord alone. Daniel promotion didn’t come from ass kissing or other shady practices we engage in to get the boss to notice us at work. It came by Daniel solving a real problem through the manifestation of the Spirit. Instead of busying yourself worrying about to shine without doing much work, why not start looking for problems to solve? By being a solution to people’s problems, you are putting yourself in the position of being recognized and thus your promotion can’t be denied. Joseph was promoted because he solved a problem for the king; even Jesus sat at the Father’s right side after going through the cross. Stop seeking to trick your authority figure but be a truly solution.

Daniel 3: 16 – 18 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you.  If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

The 4 Hebrew boys made it crystal clear that God’s authority comes first before every human authority. These men were sold out to God and thus couldn’t sell off their conscience to please the king. They made their stance and belief known and were ready to suffer for it. God honored their honor of him and this event drew the nation closer to this God. Irrespective of human authority, as Christians, our ultimate authority is God and his will must be honored over all and you mustn’t compromise your beliefs to please any earthly authority.

We do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. I initially thought this statement was a bit rude but this is simply a decisive statement. The king has made up his mind and they resolved also in their mind. There was no room for argument or being politically correct. They didn’t mince words in making their stance clear. Decisiveness is a key trait in standing up for your beliefs and standards. There should be no negotiation/discussion over your standards. They should black or white, this or that. Give no room to the devil, if not you will find yourself sleeping on your standards.

In serving God, there will never come a time when we don’t have a choice to do the right thing! Even if that chance means death, we must always to do the will of God and what he is right in his eyes. In reverence to the authority of their true leader, they chose death – the goal was, we have to obey God no matter what!

Daniel 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

The kingdom of the earth will become the kingdom of our God when we chose  to stand with God on issues instead of bending to every human whim and will. In all your endeavour, always remember that earthly authority is under the authority of God so never place the created over the creator.

Daniel 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to even higher positions in the province of Babylon.

Again they prove that promotion comes from God!

Daniel 6:4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy

There was nothing to accuse him of in his servitude. He went about his tasks, not just sucking up to authority but being a truly excellent person. What can you be accused of not doing where you currently serve?

Daniel 6:10-11 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.

He knew where his help was and he wasn’t trying to negotiate or fight without first praying. When he heard about it, he proceeded first to pray i.e. tell his commanding officer about it. He didn’t rush into anything or react emotionally – he first went to his boss for direction. Note that he did it even though it was a crime at the time but he stood fast to his resolution and lifestyle of honoring God. Does your submission to God’s authority show in how you react to circumstances? What’s your first reaction when something wrong happens or when you are faced with an issue? Many of us run to google, twitter, social media, friends, family etc. first before reporting back to base. As a slave to Christ and someone truly authority, you must make God the 1st point of call before every decision, action or reaction.

Daniel 6:22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.

The only judgement that matters! Are we risking being not judged by men to being judged by God? At the end of the day, it’s whether he finds us right or not that matters, not what that person said of you or how you were judged. Also when something happens with secular authority, we can give it over to God’s final authority and judgement. The world’s authority had condemned him but he was fine even in the lion’s den because God hadn’t condemned him. In the grand scheme of things, only God’s judgement really matters. So stop worrying about what XYZ thinks about you and do what God is leading you to do!

Daniel 6:26  I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel. For he is the living God, and he will endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, and his rule will never end.

Thanks for reading!

Don’t just read but  make a conscious effort to deal appropriately with authority, henceforth.

Caio

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