Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Umbrellas UP

Perhaps one of the greatest inventions that has ever been born as an idea in the head of some great inventor is that of the umbrella. Imagine going through life without an umbrella! Think about having to walk from your vehicle to your house, a store or the church during a driving rainstorm without an umbrella. Or how about you parents who have had to stand through many downpours while watching your kids run up and down the soccer filed. What if you had to do that without your trusty umbrella to protect you from the inclement weather?

Umbrellas provide us with protection. That is their purpose. For that reason I liken authorities that God has put into our lives to being like an umbrella. Why does God give us authorities? Some believe it is because He is some big “Cosmic Killjoy” who wants to keep us from having any fun as we endure this thing called life. If that is your view of God, you have a very warped thinking and you probably are living your life in rebellion to your authorities.

The truth is that God gives us authorities in our life for one reason…to protect us. When we stay under the umbrella of God’s authorities and guidelines we are protected from the many consequences that come as a result of sin. It is when we snub our authorities and move out from underneath this umbrella in our lives that we also become susceptible to many consequences.

For example, years ago while I was a youth pastor, a very famous professional athlete announced that he had been diagnosed as HIV positive. With this announcement came the admittance that he had been involved in an almost unbelievable amount of sexual escapades with many multiple partners. During his news conference he made a statement that really bothered me. He said that if he could get HIV, anyone could. I don’t think so. At least, not like he did. If I choose to live under the umbrella of God’s authority in my life and be committed to just one sexual partner (my wife), and she likwise to me, then I can’t get HIV like he did. I may get it through another means like a blood transfusion but not through the same means that he did. Why? Because I am protected by the umbrella of God’s authority.

God has given us several authorities. The ultimate authority is the Bible. That is without question God’s guidebook for living and the foundational authority of our lives. The Bible would also tell us of other authorities. There is the authority of parental leaders over children; governmental leaders over citizens; church leaders over parishioners; and yes, even the authority of a husband over a wife. Why did God give us each of these authorities? Did He do so to make us miserable? Absolutely not. He gave them to us because he loves us and He wants us to be protected from the consequences of sin.

We live in a society where many resist authority but the truth is that the very best way that we can be protected from the consequences of sin is to see all of our authorities like an umbrella of God’s protection. It protects us from the rain that comes as a result of sin.

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