Do Yo u Need To Be Put In Place? Walking Wisely Part 4

Luke 7:1-9 NASB When He had completed all His discourse in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum. (2) And a centurion's slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. (3) When he heard about Jesus, he sent some Jewish elders asking Him to come and save the life of his slave. (4) When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, "He is worthy for You to grant this to him; (5) for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue." (6) Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; (7) for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. (8) "For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." (9) Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith."

You may have heard me share my first day driving in drivers Ed as a high school student. That first day behind the wheel of a car was my first ever. Sitting beside me was the old retired football coach who knew more creative descriptions than I had ever heard in my young life. No doubt he was once a drill sergeant. The most memorable part of the day was the moments following running a stop sign. I recall him yelling at me: “What did that sign say?!?!” “Stop,” I replied. “What did YOU do?!?!” “I drove through it.”

There was no force-field to stop me. There was no wall to run into or any car in my way. Coach had his own brake and could have stopped the car. It was just a piece of metal right? Yes, but it carried with it the weight of the law and coach had the weight of grades which that day was an “F.” Those who walk wisely walk under the truth that there is authority in this world. But we may not realize that how live with this truth can and does have eternal implications.

In our lives we will often be both in authority over others and at times under the authority of someone. How we conduct ourselves in both situation is the concern of Solomon. Throughout his Proverbs he makes note of the truths in leadership. Most often in Proverbs, this issue of authority is spoken of in regards to kings. Yet, the implications are applicable to us all in the places we find ourselves.

Whether one is a king or a president, a teacher or a manager, an elder, or a parent, a team captain or a patrol leader, God expects us to exercise authority with justice. But that isn't determined by our title BUT but by our character. In a leader it starts by taking away evil influences as Solomon says in Proverbs 25:4-5 GNB Take the impurities out of silver and the artist can produce a thing of beauty. (5) Keep evil advisers away from the king and his government will be known for its justice. In Tolkien's Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the imagery is shown in the corruption of King Theoden of Rohan through the advice of Grima Wormtounge. Because a leader is charged with the care of others, Solomon points to the heart of the leader as a key place to start namely that Kings cannot tolerate evil, because justice is what makes a government strong. Proverbs 16:12 GNB

It was King Lemuel who shares the words of his mother regarding the role of leaders. The temptation is always great to grasp for power for its own sake. But it is in the nature of a godly leader to be others centered as Proverbs 31 notes - "Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless. (9) Speak for them and be a righteous judge. Protect the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8-9 GNB

But I am no person of power or influence! No, maybe we don't serve as the president of the U.S. and I am not a bishop either. We live under authority and regarding being under authority, Solomon challenges us to (21) Have reverence for the LORD, my child, and honor the king. Have nothing to do with people who rebel against them; (22) such people could be ruined in a moment. Do you realize the disaster that God or the king can cause? Proverbs 24:21-22 GNB
But there is more to it than just that. Our own lives should reflect certain qualities in response to those who are in authority over us.
1. Wise conduct, not shameful - Pr 14:35
2. Righteous speech - Pr 16:13
3. Purity of heart and graceful lips - Pr 22:11
4. Excellence in one's work - Pr 22:29
5. Self-control of one's passions and appetites - Pr 23:1-3
6. Humility - Pr 25:6-7
7. Patience and gentleness - Pr 25:15

And are these not the very character traits we want to see in our leaders, in those in authority over us?

It makes significant the incident here between the centurion and Jesus. The centurion saw the character of Jesus, who (7)... of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. (8) He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death--- his death on the cross. (Phil. 2). And so, as one who was both UNDER authority and who HAD AUTHORITY, he put himself under Jesus.

And then we catch a glimpse of what faith looks like in the eyes of Jesus, the King of the Jews. Faith is seen when we place ourselves willingly under the authority of God. The centurion had practiced it in his career. When one came worthy of his submission, one whose character was beyond question – this centurion – stepped out and placed himself under the authority of Jesus. And Jesus said – this is what faith looks like.

How silly we have been! How silly I have been! Faith is not out there – something unable to be grasped or claimed! No! But it is our nature to rebel. We see the cost of the rebellion, the results of our fallen nature, our sin – but the answer is simple but not simplistic – it starts with looking at Jesus, the King of Kings.

Kids, we practice it in our homes with our parents and guardians. Youth and adults, we practice it in our work and our world. It is in the simple things. Look at life wisely – if you've not had faith or as I have often done, lost my faith, then today is the day and now is the time to say, place yourself under authority,


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