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Is There a Time to Disobey the Government? Part 1

Vanessa Luu

Contributing Writer
Updated Apr 11, 2023
Is There a Time to Disobey the Government? Part 1

 It is not God’s plan that we forge our own way and assume that He’ll put His stamp of approval on it. That way of thinking does not jive with the God of the Bible.

I've obeyed the laws of the land my entire life. In my youth, I was often called a goody two shoes. I hated breaking the rules and didn't like it when anyone else did either. My obsession with following the rules was undoubtedly a result of my perfectionism. If I broke a rule, who would that make me? I would, indeed, have to suffer the most extreme consequence possible. Of that, I was sure. 

For instance, if I ever had premarital sex, I knew it would result in pregnancy, and it would be a sin, one I could not hide. And that was a reason enough for me to remain pure. I knew that if I called out sick to work to have some fun, God would surely strike me ill. If I were to cheat on a test, I knew I would be found out and given detention. What would people say? 

I've always followed our country's laws because that's what good Christians do. Right? We follow the laws of the land.

Paul talks about this in great detail in Romans 13. But for the last three years, I've had many strong convictions about following our country's new laws and mandates because they seem so far away from God. However, Paul clearly states, "Everyone must submit to governing authorities, for all authority comes from God. And those in positions of authority have been placed there by God" (Romans 13:1, NLT). But God also tells us throughout the Bible to follow Him above all else. 

Starting in Eden

Starting in the Garden of Eden, God offers us a choice, Him or not Him. By Genesis 6, the entire world was so evil and corrupt that God only spared Noah and his family (and two of every living creature) and killed everyone and everything else. 

Exodus is all about people falling away from the Lord and God's repeated forgiveness. God tells them that they can't have any other gods before Him. This was not specific only to golden calves. An idol or false god is anything we focus on more than Him. "I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me." Exodus 20:5, NLT.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10 (NLT) that He did not come to bring peace but a sword. And in verses 37-39, He clarifies what that means. "If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you're not worthy of being mine. Or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. If you refuse to take up your cross and follow Me, you are not worthy of being mine. (This is Jesus speaking, by the way). If you cling to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it." It's verse 39 that convicts me the most about following our country's current laws and mandates: "If you cling to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find it."

Today's Government-induced Fear

Masks, social distancing, and rushed vaccines all scream at me; why are you trying to cling to your life? Maybe before, I'd be right there with all of you who submit to only Romans 13:1, but not anymore because God has given me fresh eyes, eyes that discern deception and truth. 

Our current government and media have used fear to manipulate the masses, and they used the pandemic to push the envelope even further. First, it was the masks (which people are still wearing), the vaccines, and now they are pursuing our children with great fervor. According to the New York Post, “Nearly 6,000 US public schools hid child’s gender status from parents.” A public school funded by the government (funded by taxpayers) should not have more authority than a child's parents. But the collective US has been manipulated by fear, so we nod our heads and go along with it.

Fear is a very powerful weapon, and I consider myself blessed that God opened my eyes to this truth before the pandemic began.

Maybe you’re new to this way of thinking and have some questions, like how do I know they are using fear to manipulate us and not the truth? For one, the mandates and rules they push make no logical sense. Two, they go against God. 

Let’s go back to the masks. While they are not a hot topic right now, they certainly opened the door. Masks inhibit your oxygen intake. To wear them all day, every day is not healthy. Maybe you have the argument I heard often; surgeons wear masks to protect the patient. Yes, they do, but the difference between us is that they are walking into a clean room where everything is sterile and use the mask to limit possible bacteria. We do not live in a sterile environment, and we never will. So our masks do nothing except limit our air and have us fog up our glasses or keep the germs from our hands right in front of our noses all day long. In no way is any of this healthy.

(For additional data on the inefficacy of masks, consider the statistics gathered by Yinon Weiss, a bioengineer and graduate of U.C. Berkley, and research from News Medical Life Sciences.)

If the government cared about our health as they claimed, they would encourage us to seek fresh air, sunshine, exercise, fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and everything in moderation. They would not encourage you to isolate, stay indoors, and weaken your immune system with Uber Eats.

The countless inconsistencies around these government mandates and rules forced me to pause and think, is this something I should submit to? Are these leaders people of God? Should I let the government do what they want because of Romans 13:1 rather than submitting to the Holy Spirit?

Go Back to the Word

I've been doing my biblical research because the Word tells us to test the spirits. And we do that by using the infallible Word of God. So the question to answer is, are there any examples in the Bible of men or women of God who did not comply with the government for the sake of remaining obedient to Him? 

Yes! And in Acts 4, Peter addresses this very topic! Peter and John were getting in trouble with the council for their healing in Jesus' name. The council could not deny that the healing was real but asked Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus. Peter and John responded, "Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard." Acts 4:19-20, NLT.

Peter says something very similar in Acts 5:29-30 (NLT): "But Peter and the apostles replied, "We must obey God rather than any human authority. The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead after you killed him by hanging him on a cross." I was so excited when I read these verses because they confirmed that remaining loyal and obedient to God will always trump loyalty and obedience to man. I must add that in verse 31, God blessed them for their obedience.

If we look at some examples in the Old Testament, we have Shadrach Meshach, Abednego, and Daniel, for starters. They all did things that went against the governing authorities. There are plenty more examples, but these are the ones that stick out loud and clear. They disobeyed the government because honoring God was more important than submitting to man. 

"Shadrach Meshach and Abednego replied, Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves. Before you. Suppose we are thrown into a blazing furnace. The God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, your majesty, but if he doesn't, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship a gold statue you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18, NLT). These three men chose to honor God, whether it meant God would protect them or let them die. 

I want to be a Peter, Paul, Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego type of Christian. God did create order and did give humans dominion over the earth, but before we rule, we must submit to God to receive His promises. It is not God’s plan that we forge our own way and assume that He’ll put His stamp of approval on it. That way of thinking does not jive with the God of the Bible.

“Jesus replied, ‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40, NLT.

Notice the last verse in the passage above. It answers the question well. Is there a time to disobey the government? Yes, if and when the government’s laws contradict God's love and ways, then yes. If going against the law lands you in prison, persecuted, or killed, then you’ll be in great company with those who went before you, like Peter and Paul.

Photo Credit: ©Andy Feliciotti/Unsplash

Vanessa Luu is a wife, mother, and faith-based writer. She speaks and writes to believers to encourage them to live authentically with God.