Here’s some of the treasure I’ve discovered while reading and studying Romans chapter 13. I pray this helps you.
Romans 13:1-7 says,
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority. (NLT)
I have to admit, it has alarmed me in the last number of years to see how some Christians think it’s ok to publicly gossip about those in positions of governmental authority, including The President.
Of course, It’s not ok to privately gossip about those in authority over us either, but I mentioned public gossip because of some of the things I have read on social media.
I believe this attitude stems from a lack of genuine trust in God. There are some Christians out there who are trying to do God’s job.
Haven’t we all done this a time or two (or 5 or 6 hundred times) ourselves? I know I have, but the truth is that when a person really believes that God can make a difference they stop gossiping and start praying and believing God to bring the changes in our Nation that need to be brought about.
And just imagine all the great results that would come if every single one of us Christians started praying for those in authority over us instead of slandering them. One of the synonyms for slander means ‘to speak evil of.’
Of course, I’m not saying all Christians do this by any means, but I can write this with conviction because I was that person for so many years who was behind the scenes complaining instead of actually doing something that would make a difference.
I’m also not saying there are not certain actions we should take, such as exercising our right to vote, etc, but any action we take needs to be a Spirit-led action that comes from a heart of love and prayer, not a self-led action that comes from a heart of hate.
For instance, the Together 2016 Campaign (in Washington) was a brilliant, Spirit-led idea that actually brought about genuine change in our nation. People from everywhere gathered together to pray for our nation and prayer changes things!
A historic gathering! Why?
Now that God has changed me by His grace and continues to do so, I see many things differently than I used to. Here’s the bottom line for me now – here is what I ask myself: Did Jesus sit around and complain about the Roman government of His day and gossip about and slander those in governmental authority? He did not.
In the midst of the corruption that was going on in Jesus’ day He prayed, He loved, He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil.
Jesus understood that the things that were going on in the government and in individual people’s lives were symptomatic of a deeper problem; therefore, He spent His time getting to the heart of the issues at hand.
I really love this statement that I’ve heard a number of people, including my own pastor, say:
I’d Rather Light A Candle Than Curse The Darkness
This is what Jesus did!
We can’t forget that God is still the God of the impossible and no matter what’s going on around us, His kingdom shall reign forever and ever!
Revelation 11:15 says,
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices shouting in heaven:
The world has now become the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and He will reign forever and ever.
OH YES HE WILL!
Instead of complaining, God needs us to spend our time praying for and speaking His Word over our government system, government leaders, and our President.
After all, Proverbs 21:1 says this:
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it whichever way He wishes.
And look what the Bible says in Hebrews 4:12 regarding the power of God’s Word:
For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. (NLT)
The Word of God is the most powerful force on the planet. This is why we need to be speaking it over our nation and over our world!
The last thing I’ll say about this is that I do believe satan has some Christians distracted from what Jesus actually asked His followers to do.
Here’s what Jesus told us to do:
34 So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. 35 Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. – John 13:34-35 (NLT)
31 Do to others as you would like them to do to you. 32 If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them! 33 And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much! 34 And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return. 35 Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for He is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.- Luke 6:31-36 (NLT)
Romans 13:8-10 says,
8 Owe nothing to anyone except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet. These and other such commandments are summed up in this one commandment:Love your neighbor as yourself. 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law. (NLT)
I’ve got great news for you regarding this last group of verses. When you make the choice to live your life under God’s grace, His grace will change you into a person who has a desire to walk in love. The key is to keep receiving God’s grace on a daily basis.
It’s really true that a life lived by God’s grace will take you light years beyond any place that living under the law could ever take you. I’m a witness!
Romans 13:13-14 says,
13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires. (NLT)
If you’re reading these verses through the lens of God’s grace you’re going to see them totally different than if you read them as a rule book. As a grace girl, what immediately stood out to me is the advice that Paul gave us to clothe ourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I already know that if you and I learn to practice the presence of Jesus (which is what we were created for), the sins that Paul lists in these verses are not going to be alluring to us and even if there are things we are currently struggling with, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that as we behold Jesus we will be changed to be more and more like Him!
I’m not saying the sins don’t have to go. They gotta go, but there’s only one way they can be annihilated from any of our lives and that is by the presence of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit doing the work of change in us.
There are SO many ways that we can practice the presence of Jesus and behold Him. I go into this extensively in my book, I Tried Until I Almost Died, including giving you lots of practical examples as to what this looks like in your everyday life.
Next God’s Treasure Chest post will be on Romans 14
If you have not yet made Jesus your Savior and received the wonderful joy that His finished work on the cross has provided for you to live in, please visit my page here titled Jesus In The Driver’s Seat. On this page I explain the good news of the gospel and you will have the opportunity to pray a prayer of salvation, making Jesus your Savior! Jesus loves you and His arms are wide open!