For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Romans 13:4
I love that God’s Word gives us wisdom for every area of life. We don’t ever have to wonder what is the right thing to do. We just go to His manual, and we have all instructions for how to live a godly and successful life. In today’s passage, there is direction on the right attitude toward authority.
This scripture starts by saying every person is to submit (subject) themselves to governing authorities and that those in authority are appointed by God. That in itself is simply amazing and should cause us to stop and think for a minute. All those who we disagree with or agree with have been put in position by God. Therefore, it is our duty to respect and pray for those in authority. Likewise, it is they’re responsibility to seek God on how to lead. If for some reason they are not doing their part, it does not make it right for us to criticize and condemn them. We still must hold them up to God in prayer and respect their position.
The second verse talks about what happens to those who resist or stand against authority. Resistance brings God judgement. It goes on to say rulers/leaders are not after those who do good, but they are in place to punish those who do evil. So if you are following the laws of the land, you have no reason to be afraid. The reason we sometimes get speeding or parking fines is because of breaking the laws. This is one way criminals are found, by pursuing those who are breaking the laws, not to mention our safety and protection.
Now we come to today’s verse and my personal favorite in this passage that puts everything into perspective. Presidents, politicians, armed forces, police and pastors are God’s ministers. What? I thought ministers were only found in church. However, it says here that all leaders are avengers to execute wrath on those who do evil. It is a ministry to lead people on any level. Now we have come to the reason we are to respect and honor authorities. They are God’s ministers. They work for God. Regardless of their relationship with Him personally, they have been put in place by God to protect law abiding people and punish law breakers. This is a good thing and the reason we support these ministries. If we didn’t have leaders, there would be absolute chaos and evil would overtake us all.
So today I want to encourage you to honor, respect and reverence those who are in authority. Recognize that they are God’s ministers and authority is a good thing. Most of all pray for all our leaders. Pray for their protection, pray for their ability to uphold the law and pray for each one of them to have godly wisdom to rule. They work for God, and just maybe they would do a better job if we started praying fervently for them instead of criticizing and complaining about them.
Today’s scripture reading: Roman’s 13: 1-6