“The story or each person’s encounter with God differs with the variety of snowflakes or fingerprints. Nevertheless, all who encounter Christ have this two¬ pronged response of unworthiness and a willingness to follow His leadership. If either is lacking, your regeneration should be held in doubt.” Walter A. Henrichsen (“Walt”)
Thoughts from the Diary of a Desperate Man by Walter A Henrichsen (“Walt”)
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves.” Hebrews 13:17
The author of Hebrews addresses this imperative to those submitting, not to the leader. You are commanded to be submissive, but submission is conferred, not usurped. I remember learning this when I told my three-year-old that she must go to bed. She insisted that she was not sleepy; I insisted that she go. Thirty seconds later she was back asking to go to the bathroom. A few moments later, “you forgot to pray with me.” Again, “I think there is someone under my bed.”
How was I to distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate reasons for getting up? I thought, if I have difficulty now, I will have an impossible task by the time she is thirteen. You can resist authority in a variety of ways without it appearing that you are rebelling. Thus the author addresses the command to the one submitting.
Paul admonishes the Corinthians, “I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, … that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) That ye submit yourselves unto such.”149 Leaders are servants and Paul says that those who “have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints” are the very ones the saints obey. There is nothing more natural than following the leadership of the good, as evidenced by the patient submitting to the physician.
Biblical authority is limited by the commandments of Scripture. Your spiritual leaders have no authority over you beyond what the Bible demands. For example, if your leader demands that you and your spouse have only one child, or that you entrust to his care all of your possessions, or anything not commanded in Scripture, you are free to respectfully decline. God, not man, decides the parameters of authority.
149 I Corinthians 16:15
Joshua 22-24 Luke 3 (New King James Version)
Eastern Tribes Return to Their Lands
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Mark 11:24 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in Prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
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