With the approaching elections I’m hearing more about God as king and not an elected official then I ever have before. The observation I’ve heard repeated recently is that we as American’s struggle with understanding God as king more than we would, say, if we lived in England. We’re all about freedom, and we overthrew our king.
(Insert rant about how frustrating it is that Christian leaders prefer to harp on culture rather than find things that are positive and relate them to the Christian faith.)
And so we continue to have these discussions about how we want to be self-governed, self-directed and self-empowered individuals not under God’s authority.
Bad, bad, bad.
You’re all bad Christians.
And they’re right. We do struggle with power and authority and surrendering it to God. This is especially prevalent in Matthew’s Gospel. Everyone leaves everything, follows “immediately” and “surrenders all to Jesus” as the old Hymn goes.
Great study. Worth Repeating. Worth reminding ourselves that we need to give everything over to God. It’s all his. We’re all his. He needs to be first.
And then we move on.
And that’s where my frustration with devotionals and sermons grow from. We’ve all heard that drum beaten before (at least if you’ve been in Christian circles for a year or listened to KLove for more than 10 minutes).
We have got to go deeper.
Because Christian culture tends to categorize that desire for ruling and power as a result of the fall–and it’s not. God created Humans in his own image and set them as his representatives and caretakers on Earth (Gen. 1:27, 2:16).
God not only created man for authority, but gave him authority, power, control.
So where are the sermons on what our authority is as Christians?
And not just over one another in the work place, where are the sermons and discussions on authority over all of creation—our cats, our dogs, over creation and whether we pillage the earth’s resources for our own benefit like tyrants or rule over it justly and with great concern?
And who is asking the questions about why God gave us authority anyway? And if he did give us authority over his creation, why are we not affirming that God given desire? Because then the question becomes “How do you use it?” rather then the denial of power and authority (that it’s “bad” and a result of the fall).
And that has got to be the question because people in authority—which we all are—who are unaware or refuse to acknowledge their power and authority will still have it and use it, but not necessarily in helpful ways.
Which would you prefer, the authority who gives careful thought to his use of power, or the one denies they have any power?
And why the negativity toward those who want to be self governing? Government is installed and encouraged by God after the fall, not before.
And why the disparagement of humans before their creator? A king with absolute control is usually called a tyrant. Aren’t human’s more of subservient partners with God as rulers over this earth rather than drones?
And why is the electoral form of government so inferior to a kingship in being able to understand our God? Don’t we have to choose him daily as our commander and chief? And don’t we continue to elect and choose to do things that are harmful to us? And shouldn’t we commend that desire for honorable and just leaders? Would it be better to have a king who is in authority simply because he is born into it? Does that help us understand God better? Isn’t He king because he is virtuous and not because he was born into it?
And “king” falls short of an adequate descriptor for God anyway. Why is it so relished with favor? God’s not of a certain bloodline who inherits his kingdom from his father before him. “King” was just a useful term in Biblical times to help communicate that God was a ruler over land and people. By analogy “President” may be just as helpful.
They all fall short. He’s the creator father king lamb of sacrifice redeemer of all things who works with and through people to whom he gave power and authority.
We need to be partner-servants who recognize our power, authority and resources for God and his kingdom. If we continue to ignore the fact that we have those things then we will continue to cause harm to this world and that which is under our care. I wonder if the real area we’re falling short in is not misunderstanding who God is but it’s misunderstanding who we are; ones with authority and power. We can’t surrender something we don’t have.