Sunday, August 23, 2009

Authority (3) - Voluntary

Voluntary Authority develops when a person freely chooses to submit to another. People gain Voluntary Authority when others freely submit to them. This is why submission is important in the scriptures. When a group of people freely submit to a good person for a worthy purpose, they create Voluntary Authority that did not previously exist.

Voluntary Authority is controlled by the person who submits. They specify the scope and term of the authority they are surrendering. The paradox is that we can submit to authority while continuing to be free. Although under authority, we can step out from under it at any time, because we submitted freely. Those who submi lose nothing in prestige or dignity, because they retain their freedom.

Voluntary Authority is fragile and can easily be destroyed. If the person exercising Voluntary Authority is controlling, or being oppressive, it turns into Imposed Authority.

Those given Voluntary Authority must continue to provide sufficient benefit to preserve the loyalty of those submitting to them. Employers must pay wages to their employees. Judges must make wise decisions, or people will stop submitting cases to them. If the expected benefits are not forthcoming, submission may be withdrawn.

The best way to attract Voluntary Authority is to demonstrate love. The disciples gladly submitted to Jesus, because they knew he loved them. Love and freedom meet perfectly in Voluntary Authority, so it flows to good leaders.

God is love, so he uses Voluntary Authority. He created all things and everything belongs to him, so he is entitled to impose his authority on the world. Despite his enormous power, God opted for Voluntary Authority. When he had finished the universe, he immediately created mankind and gave authority over the earth to them. He surrendered his authority to those who live on earth. Because he has perfect wisdom, mankind should submit to him, but they are free to reject his authority.

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