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Published: October 16th 2005
Playing in the leaves.
Today was a continuation of a teaching that began the previous day on authority. We started with the basic understanding that there are three ‘levels’ of how people can be viewed. The first is through our actions (or what we do in life - this is the level on which most people make judgments). The second is motive (this is your heart & mind - what controls you). Most actions are the result of motives and it is possible to do a good action with a bad motive (and vice versa). The third is our character (this is who we are - our routines and our habits - this is what God looks at). Our motive is a consequence of our character.
The next basic premise was that we all have a problem with authority. It was Adam’s problem as well (he went against God’s authority regarding the apple - sin). God made authority from the very beginning not because of sin or evil but authority was part of God’s original plan. The teacher used an illustration of a chain to explain authority. God is ‘foundation’ the whole chain is attached to. Then Jesus is directly attached to God because He
has God’s total authority. What is interesting about this is that in order to have God’s complete authority Jesus has to be totally bound to God or completely submitted to God. We may find this ironic but by being totally submitted Jesus was as well totally free (to use the authority given to Him). The chain continues with us falling in down the line. There is always some authority above us and we also have authority over someone else as well. We tend to only look up and wish we were above that authority, not really thinking that even if we did we would just be under another authority. Everything is under God.
Authority, responsibility and freedom go together. You can’t have authority without being responsible for it (God is merciful but everyone will be held accountable) and there is freedom to use the authority. People think they can just hang on to God and that they don’t need a middle person, in authority above them. Satan couldn’t find a mistake with God but he still had a problem with God’s authority and as soon as Satan ripped himself out of God’s authority he dropped (just as we will if
we take ourselves out of the chain).
We also looked at how there are two basis categories of sin: moral sin (ex: adultery, theft, etc.) and authority sin (ex: pride). Our teacher pointed out how it is interesting that we are very strict with the first one but not the second while in the Bible God tends to be more forbearing with the first and more strict with the second (they got immediate punishment). All sin is equal but it seems like judgment came sooner with the second and the first got room for repentance (see Numbers 12:1-13).
God is dealing with our inside so He can trust us to give us His authority and power.
Then we went on to look at what the Bible teaches us to submit to:
God (first to God - above all the rest), society (Romans 13:1-7), Wives to Husbands (Eph 5:22-6:9 - the instructor made an interesting observation that if men weren’t wimps and stepped up to be the men God called them to be
women wouldn’t have a problem submitting), and children to parents, and at work to your boss (1 Tim 6:1), at church (1 Tim. 3:1-7, and finally to each other (Eph 5:21).
Bottom line: You do not qualify for leading more than you can follow. Only until we learn to follow can you lead others.
During this teaching the instructor said the same thing I felt God impressing on me yesterday morning about following God in the little decisions so when the big decisions come we will make the correct decision. It is so cool when God confirms things He tells us through other people.
Sometimes in teaching we get a little side tracked but one of the tangential factoids I want to share with you was “if you have a true friendship based on love, than you love the person more than the friendship. If this is so, then you love that friend enough to speak truth to him to help him, even if it costs you the friendship.”
That evening we went down to the harbor and had our team meeting. We first took pictures with all of the leaves. Then we shared how we are doing
and prayed for each other. Then as we were about to leave there was a fireworks show on the water (so cool!).
That evening I went evangelizing with one the Latvian guys from my team (Kaspers B). It was such a great experience! If you want details let me know & I’ll send you an email.
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