"Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit." -Hebrews 13:17
We rarely like hearing about the words "submission", "obedience", and "authority." Mainly perhaps, because they have often been abused by people in positions of power. But, possibly also because each of us struggles with being under authority. It goes against our very nature to follow someone else and serve. However, this is one of the primary ways the kingdom advances.
Jesus was an incredible example of someone who lived under authority. The Bible says He only did what He saw His Father doing. (John 5:19) Some other examples of living under authority are Joseph and Pharaoh, Joshua and Moses, Samuel and Eli, and Elisha and Elijah. If we are married, we are called to "submit to one another" in honor, with the husband being the primary one responsible for the well-being of his family. We also live under the authority of our national and local governments. (Romans 13:1-5)
The challenge with living under authority is that no leader is perfect. But, even so, God can work His perfect will in our lives by living under the wing of a leader who is imperfectly human. This is not to say we blindly follow someone just for the shear fact of this principle, but we generally respect and do what is asked of a proven leader with integrity.
Simon McIntyre in his book Follow the Leader states, "I am convinced that many a destiny has been short circuited by an inability to hold the line under pressure. We interpret pressure as a reason to flee, whereas great followers like Joseph allow it to change them into the kind of people who can bear the load of fulfilled dreams."
Do you live under authority? If you have trouble with this, ask God to help you with it today. We can trust Him by submitting to His leadership for our lives.