“Nobody Tells Me What To Do”
“Nobody is going to tell me what to do” is an attitude altogether too common in our current culture. It is a result of pride and self-will and takes issue with required “submissiveness” (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 5:5-6; James 4:6-10).
Parents do their children a grave injustice by not teaching them to have respect for authority and to accept obligations and responsibilities they have in life. Surely, an essential part of child’s growth is independence – within reason. But the child left to himself without restraint, who is not taught respect for the authority of parents, is a child who will be rebellious against all authority – cf. Prov. 29:15-17. Do you as a child resent your parents telling you what to do, and do you yearn for the day when you will be away from home and the control of your parents? You better enjoy home while you can – this “making your own decisions” thing is not all it is cut out to be. Also, learning that there must be the respect for civil authority is critical to being a good, productive citizen but it is even more crucial to a proper relationship with The Lord – it is the humble and submissive heart in which God can work.
God is God – The Ruler of the universe
Because God is God, the creator, he is sovereign and has the right to tell the created what to do (Micah 6:8; Matthew 28:18-20). His power demonstrates his sovereignty, for the same power to heal is the authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:1-ff; 9:25-26). When Jesus commanded demons to come out, they had to respond to his authority (Mark 1:22-26). Though his sovereignty is inherent in his nature, not all men acknowledge his right to rule their lives. Therefore, how we perceive God determines how we will respond to him (Romans 11:22; Matthew 8:5-ff).
It is either “now” or “later”
God does not force obedience, though He has reacted to man’s disobedience in times past directly and the consequences were disastrous – note Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6-11). Samuel told Saul that “rebellion is as witchcraft and stubbornness is as idolatry…” (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Having traced the sequence of events in Christ’s existence from perfect equality to humility in flesh then to exaltation finalized, Paul affirms that every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess Jesus as Lord, (Philippians 2:5-11). It is either now or later – it will happen, even if it is wrenched from defiant lips. God wants from man loving obedience – but do not be mistaken by believing that freedom to choose means that we escape final accountability for our actions (cf. Matthew 25:14-30; 31-46).
From authority to authoritative
How we treat the word of God says everything about our real respect for the authority of God. If man does not believe in God, he will not submit to a way of life he describes as “mythological superstition.” Even among religious people, there are those whom I describe as the “humble arrogant” – while displaying themselves as humble and pious they disregard the need for authority from scripture for religious practices. If we believe in the true God, then accepting scripture as the revelation of God is no problem (John 7:17) – we want to know what God wants us to do.
Conversely, those who want their own ways find that understanding the Bible is fraught with many difficulties. Closing their eyes, they say, “We cannot see” (cf. Isaiah 6:1-6; Matthew 13:13-17). That perception is the beginning of all substitution and perversion. If I am wed to my preconceived ideas, I will always to seek to justify what I am doing rather than understanding heaven’s decrees.
The real test comes when there is a conflict between God’s will and mine.
If I obey God as long as God says what I like, then that is not real obedience – it is self serving and my own will I am doing, not God’s. However, if my perception of God is that He has the right to tell me what to do, and I want to do whatever He wants, I do not really have many problems about understanding what he says and complying with his will. God wants to have fellowship with us, but it will only be upon the surrender of our wills to his. He is the Lord who has the right to tell us what to do – it is EITHER NOW OR LATER.
– Jim R. Everett