I’ve been contemplating four verses in scripture I feel are guides that reveal to me what God desires for my life in following Jesus.
- Galatians 5:22
- Luke 4:18
- James 1:27
- Micah 6:8
I want to look at these verses to help answer these questions: What is my nature? How can I be more like Jesus? What does following Jesus actually look like? How can I be good?
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against things like this. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the self with its passions and its desires.”
Galatians 5:22-24 CEB
The things mentioned in this verse are beautiful and reflective of Jesus. I think we can all recognize these things in others and also in ourselves, but we can also recognize when these fruits are absent in our lives. I don’t believe these are things to strive for, rather I believe they become natural to us the more we commit to following after Jesus.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me. He has sent me to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to liberate the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19 CEB
The things that stand out to me in this verse are “to preach good news to the poor” and “to liberate the oppressed.” I think that this verse applies to Jesus Himself, but if He is focusing on the poor and the oppressed, then as His followers, we should do the same.
“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
James 1:27 NLT
I think Christians spend FAR too much time on the second half of this verse and not nearly enough on the first. In Jesus time, widows and orphans WERE the oppressed. They were the marginalized of society who, if they had no other family to help them, were totally without means. Again- our focus should be on using our power for good (helping those in need).
“He has told you, human one, what is good and what the LORD requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.”
I feel like this verse is pretty self explanatory. We as new humans should use our power to promote justice, love mercy and be humble. These requirements should be apparent in our lives as Christ followers.
So…. what does this have to do with anti-authoritarianism?
It’s just this. The Bible has been used by people for centuries as a vehicle to exercise power over other humans. They take up “authority” standing on “biblical truth” and claim the “anointing” of God, and then proceed to tell the people who unfortunately follow them that the truth that THEY are proclaiming is “the truth.” Only by following them, and their teaching are they “really” saved. They use fear of punishment (hell) to hold power over others. They add meaningless tradition (like patriarchy and gender roles) in order to maintain power and control. THAT is Authoritarian. And I hate it. God hates it too. (Matthew 23:1-12)
My thinking is that if we can focus more on “how do I make myself look more like Jesus (a perfect human)” then people will see less of a need to “have greater faith” or “have a more biblical worldview.” The former (being like Jesus) is a practical way of using your power as a force for good in the world. The latter (being Biblical) is a trap that unscrupulous people can lay to exercise power over you.