Saturday, November 5, 2011

Governing Authority

"Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God."  Romans 13:1

When this verse was written, people had to submit to the Roman Empire which was notorious for its harsh rule.  This meant that being a Christian was not easy.  Christians were persecuted from the Jews, Gentiles, and the government, but they were told to continue to submit to those in positions of authority.  I'm sure when they read this statement they said to themselves, "Those in positions of authority have been place there by God?  That doesn't make any sense!  Why would God put such harsh and unfair rulers in place?"  But they were still told to submit.

I wonder sometimes, if we really understand what submission means.  The word submit in Greek is hypotassō, which was primarily used as a military term.  It was used for the dividing of troops under someone's command.  When it is not used as a military term, it meant to have an attitude of voluntarily giving in, to carry a burden, or to assume responsibility.  It would also mean to cooperate (please see footnote 1.).  I think it interesting that this word that we translate as submit seems to have a fuller meaning than to do what your told.  It means that it is to assume responsibility in the role that God has given us.  It means that we carry a burden along with our leaders.  It means that we are cooperating.

At the end of October, the approval rating for congress dropped to nine percent; its lowest rating ever.  Many people believe that the government is out of touch with the concerns of the average citizen.  Our government is different than the Roman government because everyone who is a citizen in this country has the opportunity to vote.  Do you realize that in 2010 only 41 percent of eligible voters in America exercised their right to vote?  I'm just thinking about what this means in relation to the word, hypotassō.  We complain quite a bit about the way our government is running; however, are we carrying the burden for our country as well?  Are we voting?  Are we writing to our senators and representatives about the issues that are important to us? Do we as citizens understand that we have a role or burden that we carry for our country as well?  Do we believe that at this moment, God is still in control and has put those in authority for a reason?  Submission is more than just obeying, it is an attitude and a responsibility.

Are you willing to submit?

1. Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for hypotassō (Strong's 5293)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2011. 4 Nov 2011. < http://
Strongs=G5293&t=NLT >


  1. We actually can't do much about changing the government, except pay our taxes and pray for our leaders. We should vote and hope those who are selected will be godly persons. We pray that they will use wisdom and seek God in their decisions. I will submit to Christ and my husband over our small domain and pray for wisdom over our household.

  2. What a timely topic in the church. Are we willing to submit, I wonder sometimes, don't you? Thank you, Sharon for stopping by. I am a new GFC and subscriber to your website. I look forward to seeing more about you. I'd love for you to follow me too. Have a blessed weekend.

  3. A Joyful Noise - I agree that we can't change the government or even make decisions for them. We can share a burden for the country, and you are absolutely right about prayer. Those each are a way to submit. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Hi Nona, thank you for commenting. It is something I've been feeling the Holy Spirit convicting me on. It is easy to complain but much harder to submit and share the burden for our country.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I love hearing your feedback.