“Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.”
1 Corinthians 4:15 (NIV)
Many Christians today run away from authority and discipline because they simply have not been taught the bible. As a result, we have become misled on why we are on this earth. We are on this earth to glorify God, by being a disciple and by making disciples.
The key word in our purpose is “disciple,” which is where we get the word “discipline.” A disciple is someone who follows the disciplines of God’s word and Jesus. As a result, Jesus has commissioned spiritual leaders to bring authority into a believer’s life so he can be a better disciple.
We need to become people who embrace spiritual authority and don’t just tolerate it because submission to spiritual authority sets the stage for full spiritual maturity.
In the 1976 classic Rocky, Rocky Balboa an amateur boxer is given the chance to fight a heavyweight champion. When he begins training on his own, Mick, the owner of the gym Rocky attends, ends up kicking him out. The lack of discipline and drive Mick notices, would eventually lead Rocky to become a loan shark instead of fulfilling his dream of becoming something better. He calls it “a waste of life,” knowing that in order for Rocky to succeed, he must let Mick impart the wisdom of 50+ years in the boxing industry and teach him to work harder than he has before. If Rocky wants to be a great fighter and multiply himself into other great fighters in the future, then he needs to go find someone more disciplined than him, submit to their authority, and give that person the invitation to discipline him to be better.
The same applies for Christians. If we want our lives to reflect more of Christ, then we must submit to spiritual leaders and give them the invitation to discipline us to be better Christ followers. In fact, this is exactly what Paul said to Timothy in 1 Corinthians when he said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).
Once we learn the disciplines from our authority, we do not stop coming under authority, but now we are ready to help someone else become a great christ follower. The goal is discipline. Our generation has a tough time not being the man in charge, but that paradigm never works in the kingdom of God. In other words, you cannot be correctly disciplined without spiritual authority. Paul says we don’t have enough spiritual fathers to bring discipline into people’s life. This means we must not run away from Spiritual authority, but rather embrace it!
How do I find Spiritual Authority?
- Read 1 & 2 Timothy and ask yourself, “Who do I look up to that resembles these qualities?”
- Talk to your Pastor
What if I feel like he or she is wrong?
Your spiritual authority are not perfect and will be wrong at times. You must test everything through scripture, bring the issue to them in love and seek reconciliation. (We will look at this further, later in this series).
We are raising people to be disciples and make disciples which is impossible without spiritual authority. The plans that God has for you will require you to submit to authority in one way or another and it’s better to embrace it sooner rather than later.
Questions to Ponder:
- How has authority treated you in the past?
- Who do you consider to be a disciplined person (spiritually, or unspiritually)? What do you think happened in their life?
- Do you have an issue with authority? Are you willing to let go of those issues to pursue spiritual discipline in your life?