Being subject to authority is a foundational principle that is both taught and demonstrated in various ways in the Bible. Read more for the expanded text to the Sermon by Dr. Dennis Mugimba.




A) Learn to be Under Authority:

Being subject to authority is a foundational principle that is both taught and demonstrated in various ways in the Bible. In Romans 13:1, we are told that, 1Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” From this Scripture, we learn that:

First, for a person to be under authority is not an option but a command to live by. More so, this is not a command that was prescribed for the children of God alone but every human being to observe.

Secondly, the scripture does not limit itself to only a single authority but leaves it broad by referring to several authorities. This implies that a human being can be living under more than one authority at a time. For example, a child who is school-going is under the authority of the parents as well as the leadership of the School. An employee may be under the authority of not only the immediate supervisor but also the entire chain of command in the place where one works.

A typical local Church in Uganda is under more than one authority; and this includes the secular authorities of the land such as the Local Council administration of the community where the congregation physically meets for service, the regulatory administration of the State, and the umbrella administration of the denomination that the local Church chooses to subscribe to.

Even business entities are not spared from being subject to governing authorities. For instance, a telecom company in Uganda is subject to the regulator of the communications industry, the bureau that is responsible for registration companies in the country, the revenue authority, and so on. When you map the authorities under which you fall as an individual or an entity, then you will realize that there are several governing authorities which we are subject to as far as Romans 13:1 is concerned.

Thirdly, Romans 13:1 states that God is the author of all authority that exists; therefore, He is the one that appoints all authorities.  The assertion in Romans 13:1 that God is the author of all authority does explain what Joseph meant in Genesis 50:19 when said to his brethren that “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God.” Romans 13:1 gives us the understanding that those who exercise authority are doing so on behalf of their appointing authority; God.

Why would God want us to be Under Authority?

First and foremost, God wants us to be under authority so that we may be ministered to. This reason is well stated in Romans 13:3-4 as follows: 3For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4For 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.” To minister means to serve or to attend to. Therefore, God places us under authority so that we are served and attended to in various ways; not just spiritually but also physically, emotionally, socially, and economically.

We; therefore, ought to appreciate that both the spiritual and secular authorities that God has put in place are there to attend to us. It is through them that we receive holistic ministry. There are ways that spiritual authorities will serve or attend to us that secular ones are not able to; and vice versa. In God’s wisdom, we are not only ministered to by spiritual authorities but also the secular authorities that He has put in place.

More often than not, human beings see authority as a burden. True, in the fallen world, governing authorities often become a burden onto the people they are supposed to minister to; however, that was not God’s original design-intent for governing authorities.

Secondly, it is from being under authority that we learn obedience. We see this in the Roman centurion’s response to Jesus in Matthew 8:8-9, 8Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Being under authority is a form of dying to self so to speak; you subject yourself to the power, instructions, and decisions of the authority under which you are. The best place to test yourself on how far you have grown in obedience is by gauging your attitude while receiving instructions and decisions from the governing authorities that you are under such as your boss.

Thirdly, when God is beginning a new season, He tends to choose an authority to steer that season. The Scriptures are awash with many examples in this respect; for instance: Sarah; Abraham’s wife had a role to play in Hagar’s blessing as captured in Genesis 16:9-10, 9The Angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand.” 10Then the Angel of the Lord said to her, “I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude.” Moses was raised for the purpose of steering Israel’s rescue from bondage in Egypt; Exodus 3:10-11, 10Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.” 11But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Joshua’s authority was to usher the children of Israel into the season of conquest of their Promised Land; Joshua 1:1-3, 1After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, saying: 2“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses.” Therefore, as individuals and as corporate bodies, we should always seek the LORD to reveal t us the authority that He has put in place to usher us into our season of Promise.

So, then what should we do?

First and foremost, the Apostle Paul urges us to pray for those who are in authority; 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 1Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Those who exercise authority over us do influence the degree to which we have external peace. For us to prosper in our due season, we need not only the inner peace of the LORD in us but also the external peace in the environment where we are living. The degree to which the governing authorities are at peace within themselves will determine the extent to which they can bring out external peace in their places of jurisdiction.

Secondly, pray for the authority; the person, that God has placed you under that he or she may respond to God’s call or nudging when He calls him or her. Sometimes, your season may delay to arrive in God’s original schedule because the person He has chosen to lead that season is non-responsive. From scripture in Exodus 3:3-4, we see that Moses responded in time to God’s call, 3Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” 4So when the Lord saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Quite often, as individuals who God would like to use to usher in a new season for His people, we fail to catch the LORD’s attention; therefore, miss out on receiving the call He wants to give us to lead His people into a particular season.

So, it is so important that you pray for the person(s) whom God has placed us under authority that they shall respond to His call in time to attend to your season. Before God called Moses, He first acknowledged the state of affairs that the children of Israel were going through in Egypt; Exodus 2:24-25, 24So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. 25And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.” God has already acknowledged that your season is due; now, pray that the person(s) He has raised to lead you into your season acknowledge God in time so that you enter your season on time.

In the meantime, you should not revile the authority that God has put you under inspite of what you may going through. The Word of God is clear about you not cursing those in authority; for instance, Exodus 22:28 says, 28You shall not revile God, nor curse a ruler of your people.” The same caution is repeated in Ecclesiastes 10:20 as, 20Do not curse the king, even in your thought; do not curse the rich, even in your bedroom; for a bird of the air may carry your voice, and a bird in flight may tell the matter.”

When we curse or despise the authorities God has placed us under, we are not just despising those authorities but the one; God, who gave them in that authority – 1 Samuel 8:7, 7And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.” People often ruin their seasons of blessings by embarking on reviling authorities; the leaders that are over them. We can express displeasure with the authorities but to revile or curse them is a red line that God has said we ought not to cross.

Lastly, it is important to pray that we do not fail to know or recognize the time and person with the authority that God would have us be under during our due season. Failure to recognize that authority is equivalent to missing our time of visitation by the LORD. When Jerusalem failed to recognize that its season had come and the person whom God had given the authority to usher in the season was Jesus Christ when He walked the earth, the consequence was the destruction of the city; Luke 19:41-44, 41Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, 44and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Just as there are blessings that arise from us recognizing the authority that God has placed us under, there are consequences too for failing to recognize the authority that God has sent to usher us into our season.