Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Invoking Authority

Our youngest, Olivia, is two and a half. The half is important for a variety of reasons. She is most definitely not a baby anymore (as she loudly proclaims if we forget and label her that way). She is close to being potty trained, she's out of the high chair and the crib, she climbs stairs on her own, and her vocabulary is better than some adults I've met! She's also better able to relate to her older sisters, especially in their make-believe world. We can reason with her, to some extent, and she is able to understand and follow instructions independently (though she doesn't always do so willingly).
Lately, she's developed a new way of arguing her way out of obedience. Taking cues from her older sisters (who have most certainly learned the value of truth-telling and the consequences of lying), she has begun to invoke authority when she wants to accomplish her own will. Here's an example:

Olivia, please put on your shoes so we can go to the store.
I don't want to.
Well, I understand, but we are still going to the store, so you must put on your shoes. Let's go.
Daddy says I don't have to wear shoes.
(Hiding a smile) I'm sure Daddy didn't say that.
Yes he did.
No, I don't think so.
Yes! He! Did!
Okay, let's ask Daddy what he said.
I'm going to put on my shoes.
Sounds like a good idea.

I could list countless incidents like this one. The issue for little Olivia is she is trying to apply false authority to get her own way. She has figured out that mom and dad carry more clout, so she "borrows" that clout for her own purposes. It's funny, in a way, but it's also sin. It made me question whether I invoke false authority in my own life...

I don't mean in obvious ways. I know who Jesus is. I know God is God and my Father and the ultimate Authority over all. What I mean, is do I invoke God's authority to get my own way? Do I use my walk with the Lord to justify avoiding situations or people? Do I use it to justify something that's actually (gulp) sin? Do I casually say, "I'm praying for you, sister" when I clearly am not? Do I claim Jesus is Lord of my life, when in reality He's only Lord over things I allow Him to have?

They are good questions and questions I'll be pondering over for awhile.

Father, forgive me if I invoke Your authority inappropriately. Forgive me if I have knowingly or not tried to justify something as part of Your will when it is clearly not. Thank You for showing me these things, though it is hard to confront them. I love you. In Jesus' Name, Amen.