Everyone is under the legitimate authority of a higher power and we are instructed to pray for those in such positions, who issue the orders we are to obey (1 Tim 2:1,2).

Most of us as employees in secular society, are ‘bound’ as part of our contract during work hours to obey our earthly masters, unless it violates a clear principle or Bible command as then “We must obey God rather than man” (Act 5:29; Eph 6:5-7). We choose our master, and are their slave with this principle appling to both the secular physical world of commerce and the spiritual realm of sin or righteousness (Rom 6:16; 2 Pet 2:19).

Orders are given to be obeyed, as obligations to be fulfilled not to be disregarded or debated as an option. They are issued for a reason, normally by a person who ‘sees’ more of the picture or the overall strategy while chaos prevails when everyone does what they want or seems best in their opinion (Jdg 17:6). The Bible states we are to submit to

Personal preferences don’t matter, obedience does

governing authorities as God has established them and if we resist, we are rebelling against Him (Rom 13:1-7).

By revolting against directives of those over us, we will open ourselves up to the ‘penalties’. Rebelling against orders got the human race into lasting problems in the Garden of Eden while “Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it” (Gen 3:6-19; Lk 11:28). We should not be looking for reward rather just have the mindset of “When you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are only unworthy servants, we have only done our duty’” (Lk 17:10).

If we can’t fulfill the order or consider it violates a Bible directive report back to the authority figure, otherwise they will assume the job is as good as done because the order has been issued. If we choose not to obey human orders, we must be prepared to suffer the consequences just like there will be ramifications if people choose to disobey God. Daniel negotiated an acceptable alternative, and in another situation the three Hebrew slaves in effect said, ‘our God is able to deliver us, but if He doesn’t we won’t disobey Him’ – the higher authority (Dan 1:9-20, 3:16-18). Again, Daniel disobeyed the king by refusing to bow before an idol and was prepared for the penalty (Dan 6:7-21). In the Bible, there are several other accounts of citizens disobeying the authorities, some for selfish reasons, others because of conscience (Ex 1:15-21; Josh 2:1-16; 1 Kgs 18:3,4; Act 4:18,19, 5:28,29; Rev 13:15).

The Bible records how the line of authority and obedience to orders works. “Say the word and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it” (Mt 8:8,9). There was no doubt that there would be anything less than total fulfillment of the instructions given. “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men…” (Eph 6:6-9; Col 3:22-25; 1 Pet 2:13-20).

When ‘asked’ to do something or suggested to by another of equal standing we can either agree or decline the request. This is different to an order from a person with some degree of authority and which should be fulfilled to the best of our ability.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep [obey] my commands [orders]” (Jn 14:15).

Jesus commanded evil spirits to come out of people and they obeyed, and as His representatives we have been tasked with delivering people possessed by these evil entities (Mk 16:17; Lk 4:36).

As servants of Jesus, we should be particular to carry out what He instructs, “Do what the Lord has commanded. See to it; you have [His] orders…Whatsoever He says to you, do it” (Josh 8:8; Jn 2:5). Jesus said everyone who puts His teachings into action will remain secure while those who fail to act will come to ruin (Mt 7:24-27).

Do I obey the Lord’s orders – fully and quickly?

See also: authority, commandments, instruction, obedience, rebellion, servant/serving, submission.