Two years ago, both of my sons’ hockey teams called themselves the “Abbotsford Rebels.” It caused me to think about how our society values rebellion. In most people’s eyes, those who rebel are more interesting than those who go with the flow; they show spirit and gumption and initiative. Rebels are commended for thumbing their noses at authority because those in charge can’t be trusted; leaders always have their own agenda, and their plans are not in the best interest of the people. North American culture encourages us to be rebels, but then we read the Bible and are confronted with another reality. Scripture identifies rebellion as mankind’s main “problem” and all of us are called, instead, to be good followers: submitting to God first and then to others in authority over us.
In this world which honors rebels we aren’t taught how to follow, so I thought I’d share a few ideas from scripture and from my own experience. We follow better when we …
Remember that God is above every authority. Since God is greater than any person or any institution (1 Peter 3:22), submitting to those in authority over us doesn’t render us powerless, it simply changes our focus. Rather than rebelling, we can pray to the only one who has the power to redeem any situation… that He would change hearts, that He would intervene, that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven, and that He would refine us in the middle of it all.
Realize that leaders will be accountable to God for how they lead us. They are to keep “watch over [our] souls, as those who will have to give an account” (Hebrews 13:17). This is a big deal and it is a heavy burden for any leader to bear, therefore we are to “let them do this with joy and not with groaning.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Recognize that our own dreams and visions may not be born out of pure motives, and therefore we should always be open to critique from God’s word and from other Christians. God says to Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” (Jeremiah 17:10)
Relive moments when we have felt the burden of leadership, and support others as we like to be supported. The Northview Women’s Commission is filled with leaders who are opinionated and passionate, who ask good questions and who aren’t afraid to raise controversial issues. However, these women also recognize that because I’m charged with leading this group during this particular time, I have to publicly ‘own’ everything they do and they take this seriously. They make themselves accountable, inform me of any issues which come up, ask for advice, submit to our church’s confession of faith and humbly serve the people of Northview. Their attitude lightens the burden of leadership, and allows me to serve joyfully. I hope that I can do the same for those in authority over me.
Why should we “follow well?” Because “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 4:5b-6).
Blessings on you today,
Pastor of Women