13 Ways to Submit to Imperfect Authorities

Each of us has authority figures we struggle with. If you don’t have one now, you will sooner or later. What do we do in those situations? We know its easy to complain, or resist, but is that what’s best? 

I first met Dr. Robert Smith when I was having my own struggle with authority. I had been told how he had sweetly submitted his preferences to his spiritual leaders in a situation he would not have chosen for himself. That’s why I wanted to meet him. I desperately wanted to know how he did it.

Ultimately, God arranged our meeting. While attending a conference of several thousand people we broke from the plenary session to our seminar locations. As the seminar started an older gentleman slipped in and sat next to me. As I looked up to greet him I realized I was looking into the eyes of Dr. Smith. I could hardly wait for the seminar to finish so that I could start-up a conversation with him.

I recounted my struggle with authority, and what I had heard of his spirit of submission in a similar challenge. Then I asked him how he did it. He recounted that years earlier he had written a biblical paper on how you submit when you’re frustrated by your authority. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I could either submit, or go back and overturn everything that I’d taught and believed. I chose to submit.”

Dr. Smith’s paper was later published as the booklet: Authority Issues: When it’s Hard Being Told What to Do. I have given away hundreds of his booklets. Here are a few of the highlights:

Those in authority often make life very difficult. What should you do when it seems that wrong or unjust decisions are being made? What can you do instead of resisting, complaining, or becoming bitter and angry?

  • Go to God with your struggles and questions (Hab. 1:1-5).
  • Remember that God is in control (Prov. 21:1).
  • Recognize that God can use the leader’s failures for your good and his glory (Rom 8:28-29; Gen. 50:20)
  • Recognize that the difficulty will not be too much (1 Cor. 10:13).
  • Thank God for everything, including the leadership over you (Eph.  5:20).
  • Place your trust in God, not the authority (Hab. 3:17-19).
  • Depend on God’s grace to help (2 Cor. 9:8).
  • Be an example of a godly response (Phil. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6).
  • Pray for those in authority over you (1 Tim. 2:1-2)
  • Honor those in authority because of their position (1 Pet. 2:17; 1 Tim. 6:1-2).
  • Concentrate on your responsibility (Matt. 7:3-5; Rom. 2:1).
  • Respond as Christ did (1 Pet. 2:21-23).
  • Return good for evil (Rom. 12:21).

 You may acquire Robert Smith’s booklet through www.NewGrowthPress.com

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