“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 ESV
Dear Heavenly Father – Please guide us in these times. Help us know your will and obey it. Please open our eyes and ears and understanding to know what you are saying to us today. In the name of Jesus – Amen
I was extremely blessed today. I happened upon a social media post from a brother in Christ which asked a significant question. Paraphrased, the question was: if and when it is appropriate for Christians to participate in civil disobedience. His question enveloped the mask debate as well as points on the civil war in the United State in 1961. His question was moreover, as times grow harder and mandates are treated as laws, what will we do – what are we to do?
Amazing, Godly, conversation was had – love shown for all opinions – and my friend kept guiding the responses back to ‘where is it in the Bible?’ He made sure everything had a verse to back their opinions.
I learned I was using the wrong terminology for my stance on the mask mandate. I have said in the past, that I wore it out of obedience. This is NOT the correct wording although my scriptural backing was sound. From now on I shall say I wear my mask when required because I am subject to under my obedience to God. God gets so much more glory from this new statement.
Let every person – everyone – except….. oh wait, there is no ‘except’ so this is every one.
Be subject – defined as (Merriam Webster) affected by or possibly affected by such as ‘subjected to the law’
I am not obeying a government blindly. In my obedience to Christ I am “subject to” as defined in Romans 13. Today – I am focusing on the mask part of His question – its lessons may keep us through these times ahead.
Let’s read the whole passage:
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13 ESV
It all boils down to being right with Christ – putting off the flesh and being obedient to God’s will. God’s will may be different for each of us. Some may be called to not wear a mask and other to wear a mask – this is NOT for me to know. What I am to know is: am I obeying what God tells me for me?
As with any decision we make – let’s run it through the word of God, prayer and through examining our own hearts – are we choosing to obedience or disobedience to the government mandate out of fear, rebellion or pride?
That is a loaded question. Honestly, there are days, when I have to leave the house and I sit in my car checking my heart’s motivation and my mask – before I go into a situation where I may potentially NOT be social distancing.
“8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 ESV
Paul (the author of Romans) brings it all back to obedience and obedience always bring us back to faith, hope, and love. As we have studied in this blog before: obedience is always the action of faith. And faith is the essence of things hoped for (Hebrews 11:1). Then LOVE – is what we are obedient to.
Stores and businesses are asking on of their staff to be the mask police. That poor staff person – every day – has to deal with someone who is too self-righteous to wear a mask – and usually it is not by a calling from God. Do you know how I know? God has NOT called anyone to not wear a mask and berate staff people who are just doing their job. God HAS called us all to be vessels by which His can extend His grace and mercy and save them. God is NOT glorified through anger, hostility, and lack of love – actually God is love (1 John 4:8). This is why Paul goes from being subject to authority to obedience in love.
If God is telling you NOT to wear a mask, then He has shown you how to do it in love and bringing glory to Him. I do not know how this plays out as I, personally, am told by God I must be subject to this mandate.
As for those who say they cannot perform their ministries with a mask – I cannot speak to it. I have been called to witness and share the gospel and I can do so wearing a mask. My glasses get fogged, I inhale the mask, it moves and I must adjust it – but I can still speak.
I have been called to pray – God hears my thoughts when I pray in my head. God hears my prayers when I pray out loud through a mask. The mask does not hinder my prayers. And although my mask may muffle my voice – the Holy Spirit in me and the power of the name of Jesus is NOT hindered or muffled – my authority over evil is NOT muffled – my God is not restricted by my obedience to a mandate to wear a mask. (and I can still pray that this mask mandate goes away!)
I can sing in my mask – I may not be able to open my mouth wide and belt out a song (but even without a mask, I cannot do that well – singing is not my gift). But I can take an attitude of worship and sing with the mask on.
And I can still do my Bible studies and post them – which I do from a quiet place in my home so there is no mask required.
And in my daily relationship with Christ – I do not need to wear a mask and I pray He draws close to me as I draw close to Him – no social distancing from God and no mask.
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!