Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And all that is within me,   
bless His holy name.   
Bless the Lord, O my soul,   
And forget none of His benefits.   
- Psalms 103:1-2   
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Jesus' Respect For Authority

During our Spring Meeting with Brother Mark McCrary, we were reminded of our differences with much of the World when it comes to "religion."  We see so much difference and change that we sometimes question our own stance on issues.  It is hard to stand firm for truth sometime when change swirls all around us making us dizzy.  Once again, Christ is our best example when it comes to authority and truth.  And after all, he will be who judges our lives.


          Jesus reminded us continually that He never spoke or acted on His own accord.  "I can of Myself do nothing.  As I  hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me" (John 5:30).  He also warned us that any other doctrine was of man and it was spoken for man's own glory.  "He who speaks from  himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him" (John 7:19).


          We are expected to be Commandment Keepers today.  You can't separate love and commandments when it comes to Christ, our example.  He taught us that the two go hand in hand.  Christ emphasized over and over, "If you love Me, keep my commandments" (John 14:15).  "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves me..." (John 14:21).  Placing all authority on God's will through His commands.


          We are to learn from examples given us in God's Word.  If we look at the life of Christ we are reminded of His strict respect of His Father's word.  His Father's will was his authority and He often reminded his listeners of the importance of authority.  Authority is often discussed and taught today in the church because it is constantly being attacked and sadly, it is often relaxed as the world demands something a little different than what God said He wanted.


          The world today is found struggling with trying to find anything in God's Word that can be considered as binding.  This is because they have relaxed and relieved themselves from commands and examples in God's word on subjects where they wanted something different, to the point they are confused on where that stops.  If you excuse yourself or restructure one thing in God's Word, what then determines what can't be altered?  Who gets to make that call?  Sadly, in the world it is man, so now man does what is right in his own eye.  I think we know how that works out for man (Jer. 10:23; Judges 21:25).  God's Word is not confusing, it becomes confusing when man alters it based on his human-reasoning.


          Ask yourself today if you have instruction, example or necessary inference for what you believe.  Keeping in mind, necessary inference WILL NOT change what God's has already said on the matter.  If you have practiced something without there being instruction from God's Word, or there are no accepted examples of it and have altered what God has said on a subject, you need to go back to God's instruction and seek it's wisdom.  Find book, chapter and verse for what you practice and then you can have the assurance that you are following God's Word on the matter.


          God's authority was very important to Christ and He constantly taught and reminded us the importance of it.  Love of our Heavenly Father and what He wants has to out-weigh the love of the world.  We must learn from the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ.


-Marc Hopkins