Who Do We Obey?
We are living in a world of crisis and uncertainty. We see things going on in the world that our hearts are telling us are evil - very evil, and getting progressively worse as the days move ahead. As Christians, we are in a quandry as to how to handle our everyday lives in the face of these evils of this world because those in authority over us are either ignoring the evils or are ones advancing it. This is where we go to the Scriptures and prayer to see what God is telling us to do.
Our hearts want to obey those in authority over us, and at first glance we read in our Bibles from Romans 13 that we must pray for and obey those in authority over us because they were appointed by God. As we continue on in Romans 13, we see that they are God's minister over us for good to avenge evil on those who practice evil. That, however, brings confusion on how do we handle life when those in authority over us are the promoters of this evil as they violate the Word of God, practicing evil, using their controlled power over us to accomplish their agenda? Who do we obey when our conscience is being violated? Do we fight back, speak out, or do we passively submit?
We face a myriad of issues today to properly know what to do, such as:
- Do I support the government when abortion is promoted and sex trafficking is ignored?
- Have I researched the virus/pandemic to know its true mortality rate and how to counteract it?
- Do I still go to church when the government attempts to close its doors?
- Do I do my own research as a responsible citizen? And where do I research?
- Is my source of research coming from propaganda or conspiracy or both?
- Is what the government is doing an act of caring as God's minister over us, or is it controlled power with a political agenda used over the people?
- Have I done my own research of both sides of each issue to see if my research is of God or Satan? Is it for good or evil?
- Have I prayed and sought God on all of these issues?
Who Did Early Christians Obey?
We read in Acts 4:19-20 that the Apostles Peter, John and Paul, who also lived under a powerful government of idol and emperial worship, faced the same situations in life.
Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
The Apostles Peter and John saw that the governing authorities over them were using the people for their own interests. As such, the apostles responded by obeying God first when the government violated God's ways. Their conscience could do nothing different. In other words, when and where the governing authorities are protecting us from evil, we must obey. When they do evil, then we must obey God first, but do it in a way that honors the Lord. Christians are good citizens because they are honest, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – prays for the government and the rulers over them.
The Constitution of the United States
In America, we live in a republic under the Constitution of the United States. That is our protection. The Constitution is our "top governing authority" over the American people, and those who serve in leadership above us, whether they are mayors, governors, presidents, congress, or even the United States senate are all servants of the Constitution who are meant to protect us. Those who were either voted in or appointed into office gave an oath to protect the Constitution of the United States in the leadership position they serve in. Sadly, many take that oath as a matter of protocol and often ignore that responsibility, thus violations occur and the forces of tyranny spreads and the people suffer.
Most Americans believe that those in authority over us are the top authority, forgetting about our Constitution, which is meant to protect us. Our constitution was written by godly men who already faced governmental tyranny and battled so that our country could live in freedom. As such, the Constitution, which is based on biblical principles, was written to protect us from ever having governmental tyranny over our nation again. In America, then, we, as Christians, have the Constitution and God as our governing authority over us. So again, when any ruling governing authority over us violates God's ways and do evil in His sight, our responsibility is to obey God first, and as Americans, we are protected under the Constitution of the United States
World-Wide Evil Powers Throughout History
If we look back through the corridors of past history, we see the same evil that is trying to take force right now in our country has happened over and over again. In all situations, when the social and economic situations reach crisis point, it leaves a vacuum for the rise in evil leadership to take over to force their agenda upon the people. Are we about to repeat the same history here in America?
- The crisis in France led to the rise and power and invasion of Napoleon, seizing and destroying France in his thirsty conquest.
- The crisis in Russia and the Russian revolution led to the rise and power of Stalin and Lenin bringing in Communism and Marxism.
- The crisis in Germany led to the rise of the 3rd reich under Adolph Hitler bringing in Nazism. When the government took the guns away from the people, they were left helpless; therefore Nazism grew and massive thousands of people died.
- The crisis in Cuba led to the rise in power of Fidel Castro and Communism. Guns were stripped from the people as they are helpless against militant power.
- The crisis in Venzuela led to the tearing down of democracy and the rise in power of Victor Chavez under an authoritarian regime.
In all situations, each country was destroyed. It began by placing restrictions upon the people, raising taxes, causing division in the country, and taking weapons out of the hands of the people.
Throughout the Old and New Testament we see God's people standing firm in the physical and in the Spirit for the things of the Lord.
- The Israelites, at the direction of God, fought against the Canaanites, beginning at the Battle of Jericho for the recovery of their Promised Land
- God led Gideon and his army to fight against the Mideanites.
- Samuel fought against the Philistines to save Israel.
- There were a total of ten battles in the Old Testament that God had commanded His people to fight.
- Jesus took on a zealot (who fought against Rome) as one of his disciples, demonstraating He supported being politically aware of what is going on in the world.
- The Apostle Peter and John, when imprisoned for preaching the Gospel, were compelled by the Holy Spirit, went right back to witnessing for the Gospel - ignoring all commands of the government in order to serve God.
- The Apostle Paul ignored government commands when it violated God's command to witness the Gospel. He even went to Rome to the emperor to appeal his case and won. He stood on his rights as a Roman citizen, and thus was set free to preach for two more years. As the Roman government continued deeper in their evil, the Apostle Paul was later arrested and killed for his faith.
God - Our Final Authority
All this to say, God is our top authority over us. Whether we have a ruling constitution over us or not, God is still our top authority. He is the one whom we obey first and foremost. We obey those in authority over us when they are not violating God's Word, believing God placed them over us and for us.
A Believer's Conscience
When a person comes to Christ, the Holy Spirit becomes activated within a new believer's spirit to become the voice of God within. In other words, as we grow in the things of the Lord through studying God's Word and developing a deeper prayer life (Rom 12:1-2), we learn to understand God's leading in our life as the Holy Spirit becomes our guide to living the solid Christian life. The more we understand God's Word, the more we will recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit within. The two work together. The voice of the Holy Spirit then works within our conscience to help guide us through life.
Having Faith in God's Direction
In the case of when the government over us is making laws or mandating rules over us that violate our conscience, leaving us in a quandry, can make life more challenging. We know that government leaders are mere men and women subject to the temptation of money and power. Often politicians begin with a right motive, but some throughout time become corrupt in their thirst for money and power. How we obey then is to seek God when our conscience is violated, search the Word for verification, and then don't move forward until we hear clear direction from the Holy Spirit. When we do, then we follow the direction that the Holy Spirit gives us, knowing that His voice will never violate God's Word. Then whatever we do, we always do it in a way that honors the Lord. The temptation we often face is to rise up in anger and then do something foolish, putting ourselves in harms way. Whatever direction the Holy Spirit gives us, we can then place our trust in God's direction knowing that we are walking and living the life of faith as God as designed for us. We don't have to worry about the future, because God has our back, so to speak. He said He would never ever leave us nor forsake us (Heb 13:5). Again, Christians are to be good honest citizens who pay their taxes, and purpose to please God in all situations. As Christians, we pray for our government and our rulers over us at all times so that we can live in peace and harmony. They all need God's help, whether they know it or not!
I Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.