Lisa Sheffler, author

It’s Friday! Let’s take some time to celebrate the reign of King Jesus, spend with our Father, and invite the Spirit to transform us.

Reflect

What is your biggest takeaway from Romans 13:1–7? How would you apply this passage to your current understanding of government and your responsibilities as a Christian?

Connect

Echoing Jesus’ teaching to “give to Caesar the things that are Caesar, and the things that are God’s to God” (Matthew 22:21), Paul reminds the Roman churches of their obligation to their earthly rulers, and in the entire book of Romans, insists that their worship and allegiance belong to Jesus Christ, the Lord. We live as his ambassadors and should seek to bring his righteousness, mercy, love, and compassion to our neighbors. Until he returns, Christians will live under governments that are just and righteous to varying degrees. But our ultimate hope is not in government, but in Jesus.

In a sin-saturated world, government will fall short of its calling. When political or religious leaders use Romans 13 as a weapon to try and gain unwavering and unquestioning compliance, Christians should think carefully about why they are resorting to this tactic. We should honor the authorities God places over us, while also holding them accountable for those responsibilities that God has entrusted to them.

Paul is not advocating absolute, blind obedience to the government. The apostles certainly tangled with the Jewish and Roman authorities on more than one occasion. Peter seems to sum up their posture toward those in power when he was ordered to stop teaching about Jesus, “We must obey God rather than human beings!” (Acts 5:29). God is our ultimate authority.

Nevertheless, Paul is expecting Christ’s followers to live as good citizens under the authority of the government God has appointed. It’s easy to forget that these “governing authorities” are made up of individual people who have been given the difficult task of serving the citizens of a nation. From school board members to police officers to judges to members of Congress, they are asked to do their part to provide safety, promote good, provide justice, and help create an environment where every citizen can flourish. For every complaint or concern that we have about our government, let’s offer up a prayer for those serving in it.

Respond

How can you pray for those serving in our government? How can you support them? Could you have a meaningful conversation with someone in local government and ask them?

What can you do to promote righteousness, justice, mercy, and goodness in our government? What might that look like?

How can you become a better citizen of your nation by becoming a better citizen of Christ’s kingdom?

 

About the Engage God DailY

Jesus invites us to know him personally and engage with him daily. Through daily Bible reading and prayer, we can grow in our relationship with him. The Engage God Daily is a daily resource designed to help you better understand the Bible and take you deeper into the concepts taught on Sunday mornings.

Use this guide to prepare for next Sunday’s teaching. Each day presents a reading, Scripture, and a prayer to help grow in your walk with Christ this week. 

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Past Studies

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 4

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 4

Lisa Sheffler, author The conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman is not the first time in Scripture that living water is used as a metaphor to help people understand the nature of spiritual life. Many centuries before, the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed: “My...

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 3

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 3

Lisa Sheffler, author In the Gospels, one of the many ways Jesus stands out is in his way with people. From Nicodemus, to Zacchaeus, to the rich young ruler, the Gospels record some intriguing conversations Jesus had with everyday folks. With love and insight, he...

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 2

Neighbors and Nations | Week 2, Day 2

Lisa Sheffler, author One of the main reasons Christians give for not talking about Jesus is fear. We don’t want to offend anyone, or seem judgmental. In a secular culture like ours, we’re afraid we’ll be ridiculed for our faith. These concerns are nothing new. In...