Have you ever thought about the difference between a wild dog and a pet dog? Furthermore, have you ever thought about which dog has more freedom? In a way it seems that the wild dog has more freedom because he is accountable to no one. He can do anything he wants. But he actually is not very free because he is constantly searching for safety, protection, food and water. He is actually very vulnerable and a slave to many things. Similarly he is easily a slave to his own sinful desires. He may not be accountable to anyone but he is living in extreme situations. Now the pet dog on the other hand has a master. He has to be obedient to the master. He has to submit to the master. Some might say he has less freedom. But then again he has shelter, food, water and loving affection. Similarly he is no longer a slave to his sinful desires. So maybe the pet dog is actually more free than the wild dog. It ultimately is a matter of perspective.
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles,to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:11-17
We as Christians are supposed to be following the rules of those in charge. We are supposed to be respecting those who are in leadership. For this is God’s will. Although this seems simple it can be challenging especially if you do not agree with the decisions of leadership. It can be even more challenging if the leadership is requiring something of you that you feel unable or uncomfortable providing. Therefore it sometime challenging to know how to submit to authorities who maybe not acting as the best ruling authority, or at least not in your opinion. But this passage of scripture is a good reminder that through our obedience and respect of authority our good deeds as Christians can be a light to others. Similarly in our modern world we often have checks and balances of power and ways of reporting questionable behavior so that leadership and authority figures themselves have their own accountability to others. We as Christians should always utilize these systems when faced with questionable behavior rather than disrespecting rules or not submitting to authority.
Submiting to the authority of others and following leadership does not take our freedom. Rather as Christians we has been freed from the bonds of sin so that we can become willing bondservants of Christ. Part of becoming a willing bondservant of Christ is submission to human institutions, governing bodies and leadership. For us Christian that often means submitting to the leadership of a church congregation that you claim membership. When you evaluate your own life are you submitting and respecting the human institutions in a way that is glorifying to God?