Tuesday, November 6
A CHRISTIAN’S DUTIES TO THE STATE
Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.
2 So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. 4 For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. 5 Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath but also because of your conscience. 6 And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s servants, continually attending to these tasks. 7 Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.
LOVE, OUR PRIMARY DUTY
8 Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, Do not commit adultery; do not murder; do not steal; do not covet; and any other commandment, are summed up by this commandment: Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.
Here Paul shares the idea that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, cause no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers. We subject ourselves to governing authorities because they are appointed by God and serve a purpose in His plan. Remember that Paul wrote this during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and a direct enemy to Christians. However Paul still recognized and never undermined their legitimate authority.
In the midst of political tension and division within our nation it’s important to remember the thing that matters most. Verse 8 points out that love is the ultimate directive and the greatest motivator for the believer. This simplifies all the commands we’re given to live a holy life. This idea helps clarify our responsibility even when the rest of the world seems to be losing sense. We’re called to love and when we truly love it makes simple sense to to keep all the other commandments in at attempt to never harm another in any way. When we truly love it makes it very easy to recognize that we’re meant to support and pray for those in authority over us, not undermine and disrespect them.
Father, soften my heart towards those at every level of authority over me. Help me see them as your creation and deserving of love. Convict me to pray sincerely for those that have the responsibility of leading in my church, my place of work, and my nation.
Pick Four More Activities
Listen and Worship.
Pray a Psalm.
Read a Book.
Retell the Gospel to Yourself.
Take Some Notes on Today's Devotional.
Pray for Yourself, Your Family, Your Church, and the Lost.
Memorize a Verse.
List Five Things You're Thankful For.