Lots of thoughts and musings are filling my head today. In our SS class we’ve been talking about authority (first the apostolic authority of Paul and then authority within the world today). Then our pastor preached on joy from Philippians 1:1-5 (along with Paul’s visit to Philippi from Acts 16:12-32).
In our SS class we saw that authority has 2 aspects of it: one is authority from command, as in those who actually have authority from God to tell us what to do (in certain areas of our lives) and the other from influence. It is this second one that God is mulling over in my mind today.
I have always linked the submission of a wife to her husband’s authority with joy. I’ve understood how joyful it is for us to walk in the authority structure God has set up for us, and how freeing it is for us to know what our limits and responsibilities are. But today, for the first time, I realized that God also calls us to live joyfully within ALL authority structures.
I don’t think it was an accident that one of the sweet ladies in the class was sharing about the contractual regulations in her sub-division and my hackles (if I had hair, that is) immediately raised up! Why is it that I become rebellious over that or over the ordinances my city puts into place? SIGH. Another opportunity for me to practice the JOY OF THE LORD in my life!
Also (discussions in my home stirring my heart as well) I was thinking about dealing with unlovable people. You know how some folks just get under our skin and IRRITATE us (and very often, these are the very people who CLING to us)?? In this whole topic I see that our sphere of authority by INFLUENCE gives us greater responsibility in the lives of these people. We don’t have the liberty before the Lord to ignore, reject or mock them. We are actually called to invest into their lives (as the Spirit leads) our authority of influence. BUT (and here’s the corker) we are called to do it IN JOY. OUCH!!!
It is so much easier to just be snarky about it. But that attitude and behavior do nothing to imitate the life of Jesus, do nothing to bring His transforming power into my life, and do nothing to share the love of Jesus with others.
What influence is God calling YOU to bring into the lives of others to draw them closer to Himself?