The Authority We Want and Need

Attending college in Columbus, Ohio, I introduced a friend to the joy of skating at the OSU ice rink across town. She quickly grew in fondness and ability for this winter pastime, and decided to buy her own skates. While fitting her, the rink worker noticed she was wearing two pairs of socks. “You’ll only want one pair of socks for skating” he told her, at which point I interrupted and said, “No, she’ll need two.” We went back and forth a couple of times, so I pulled out my ace: “I grew up in northern Michigan and played four years of hockey in high school, and I’m telling you, she’ll need to wear two pairs of socks.” To which he replied, “I grew up in Ontario and played five years for the Boston Bruins; she will only want to wear one pair.” With a keen recognition of authority, I humbly conceded.

God’s Word is authority for life. His commands, wrote Paul, are “the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,”1 and we live “on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”2 Yet our sinful nature is prone to challenge His Word—and thereby, His authority—rebelliously subjecting His truth to our flawed judgments and twisting it to appease our self-centered desires. This is not new, for through Jeremiah God declared of ancient Israel, “every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God.”3 Nor are we immune from it now or in the future, for as Paul warned Timothy, “the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”4

Then amid the escalating cacophony around us, how do we discern and flourish under the voice of authority? First, recognize that truth exists—“[God’s] word is truth”5—and that He who reigns in authority loves us, for “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”6 Then in such confidence we, like David, walk today with this assurance firmly placed in God: “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”7 God’s Word is authority; we humbly concede. He speaks it in love; we gladly submit.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”8 Light our path today in the truth of your Word. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Romans 2:20 NASB
2 Deuteronomy 8:3
3 Jeremiah 23:36
4 2 Timothy 4:3-4
5 John 17:17
6 Proverbs 30:5
7 Psalm 119:105 KJV
8 John 6:68