I was asked to explain/elaborate on those with spiritual authority over us as referenced in yesterday's devotional, "NO MORE COMPLAINING!" (https://www.leisawilkins.com/post/no-more-complaining) I'd like to share my answer, with a lot more detail, so we're clear about this important topic.
Authority - exousía, (in the sense of ability); privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: —authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength (Strong's G1849)
Authority - legal power, or a right to command or to act; The power derived from opinion, respect or esteem; influence of character or office (Noah Webster 1828 dictionary)
If you're married, and you're in a godly marriage where your husband is submitted to God, your husband would be in authority.
"And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word." (Ephesians 5:21-26 NLT)
Submit - hupŏtassō, o subordinate; reflexively, to obey: —be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto (Strong's G5293)
It's also important to note that submission is a part of God's expectation for His people. We are all to submit to God's authority. His Word also says we are to submit to one another. Then in a marriage relationship the wife is to submit to the husband who is submitted to God. Yet, there's also the submit to one another so this means submission is reciprocal.
In a church relationship, where God has placed you, according to His Word that says He gives pastors after His heart the pastor would have authority.
"And I will give you [spiritual] shepherds after My own heart [in the final time], who will feed you with knowledge and understanding and judgment." (Jeremiah 3:15 AMPC)
“And I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them. And they will fear no more nor be dismayed, neither will any be missing or lost, says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:4 AMPC)
The Word also says they, pastors, will have to give an account for how they handled us. They are under God's authority as we are under theirs. This is why we shouldn't join a church based on emotions.
"Obey your spiritual leaders and submit to them [continually recognizing their authority over you], for they are constantly keeping watch over your souls and guarding your spiritual welfare, as men who will have to render an account [of their trust]. [Do your part to] let them do this with gladness and not with sighing and groaning, for that would not be profitable to you [either]." (Hebrews 13:17 AMPC)
Obey - peíthō, by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty): —agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) confident, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield (Strong's G3982)
King James uses have rule over you in place of submission. Rule over you - hēgéomai, to lead, i.e. command (with official authority); figuratively, to deem, i.e. consider: —account, (be) chief, count, esteem, governor, judge, have the rule over, suppose, think (Strong's G2233)
We must seek God and ask Him, is this the pastor, shepherd, You've given Your heart for me? Is this the authority I need to sit under?
If you hear God say yes then:
Don't let the enemy get you out of alignment with what God is doing in your life. Accept who God has placed in spiritual authority over you. Don't be ruled by your emotions. Don't let offense cause you to leave and be out of order. Trust God!
Jesus submitted to authority and so must we:
“I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord—but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me.” (John 5:30 AMPC)
This verse is powerful. It speaks of Jesus' commitment to be about His Father's business. He was determined that nothing or no one would get in His way. Jesus walked in total submission and showed the ultimate surrender to God's authority.
Submission to authority is the foundation for accountability. To allow someone to hold you accountable you must be willing and able to submit to their counsel based on the Word of God. Accountability begins with a relationship that is based on Christ and a belief that the person(s) involved love you and want good for you.
Without accountability it is easy to submit to “the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Accountability gives us the endurance to finish our race.
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Hebrews 12:1 NKJV)
Submission to authority doesn't mean control. It means they have a heart to do what God is telling them and it will be for your good. Surrendering to authority means doing what's asked, in line with the Word, by the people God has placed in your life to speak into your life. It doesn't mean we blindly follow; it means we pray and ask Holy Spirit to show us God's truth, especially when something feels off. No one is perfect.
Be Encouraged! ❤