Everything you do is motivated by some "authority." Your beliefs, opinions — deepest convictions, are based on some "authority." Your dress, customs, diet, and personal habits are the result of a certain "authority." Who is your authority?
"LIKE, Man, I'm MY OWN authority," answers the hippie, when asked the question, Who is your authority? But his answer is not the truth. He's wearing a uniform. He is conforming to a nameless, faceless, anonymous "authority" — the "hippie image" on conformity to WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.
The Hippie Is a Slave
The hippie slavishly cringes before the opinions of OTHER people who have "dropped out" from society. He wants their approval and acceptance! His craven desire to belong, his desperate search for identity with other humans leads him to incredible filth, immorality, long hair, beads, psychedelic clothing, and all the accoutrements and paraphernalia of the "hippie." So, in his professed NON-conformity, he is actually a classic CONFORMIST. It's only a matter of WHICH GROUP OF PEOPLE comprise HIS AUTHORITY. A man in the military isn't so dimwitted. He KNOWS who his "authority" is — from the platoon sergeant right on up to his ultimate commander-in-chief, the President of the United States. He knows his dress, haircut, work habits, uniform, and whole BEING must conform to the dictates of that AUTHORITY which governs his life. But few others, outside the military, know WHO their authority is. Do you?
Right about here, most people use the familiar ambiguity — "that depends" — "That depends," you might answer, on just what you MEAN by "authority." "If you mean," you might continue, "someone who RULES me — who dictates to me, or tells me what to do with my life, then the answer is NOBODY!" Nice try. But it's not true. I used to feel that way, too. Discharged from the Navy after four years' service, including nine months' offshore Korea during the blistering winter of 1951-52, I had decided I would NEVER "take orders" from ANYONE again. Deluding myself I was the classic independent, I kidded myself I was a "free" soul. I smoked, of course. But then, I argued with myself, I smoked because I WANTED to, and not because I HAD to. No one was COMMANDING me to light up a cigarette. No one but my own self. The truth was — I was a whipped SLAVE to the cigarette HABIT. I HAD to smoke — as I finally began to see when I tried to quit. I would toy with the idea of quitting — even try to convince my wife a certain brand had virtually NO NICOTINE in it (as per the implied statements on the package), and therefore was conducive to good health. But finally quitting time came. I knew I HAD to quit ANY habit that was degenerative, destructive to health, and directly condemned in the Bible. But it was tough. I would throw away a pack in disgust, after, of course, having smoked "just that one" to satisfy my craving. Then, the next day — I would try to remember where I threw the pack — and actually drive over to the ditch and search for it! Free man? But smoking is only ONE example. I wasn't ever going to wait in a line again. Never say "sir" again — never take any orders of any kind. But that was all a childish pipe dream. And it all went up in smoke. I finally discovered it's all a question of WHICH AUTHORITY you decide to be under. Because WE ARE ALL UNDER AUTHORITY. We don't recognize our slavishness. We can't even IDENTIFY our "authority" most of the time — but we're under authority, nevertheless. So what I mean by "authority" is simply this: Your "authority" is that sum total of every motive in your life, and the SOURCE of that motive. What DECIDES whether you wear a mini-skirt, or long hair? What MOTIVATING FACTOR in your life makes you the "kind" of person you are? What FORMED your habits of diet, physical exercise, dress, entertainment, and relaxation? What specific series of influences shaped your BELIEFS? What about RACE, RELIGION, and POLITICS? You are the sum total of a series of personality-shaping AUTHORITIES. To some people, their CHURCH is their ultimate, final, absolute "authority" for DOING OR NOT doing some act or another. To other people, it is their family; their traditions; their friends; their club or lodge. Of course — authorities, like loyalties, change. The model church-going, civic-minded, pillar of the mid-western community whose authority is the whole complexity of church-oriented, socially accepted customs of his own environment can become, by virtue of a button, badge, or hat, liberally laced with various kinds of booze, a braying, glazed-eyed jackass at a ribald party following a political convention. "Sophisticated" big-city citizenry recognize these types — have names for them — and smile in knowing tolerance at their business-trip antics. But even the once-yearly drunk is conforming to a temporary authority. And it is inevitably OTHER PEOPLE. What are other people DOING? What are they doing NOW? That social urge to be part of a group action has caused many a philosopher to ponder the likeness between humans and sheep. What DECREES what you believe? Did you HONESTLY (really, now) research all available sources of information for yourself? Have you PROVED the source of each motivating action? Do you know WHY you react the way you do? Do you really KNOW why you "believe" this or that about the members of another race? Your AUTHORITY for all of this is that collection of people who have made you what you are. You will be shocked to find out how LITTLE you, yourself, by yourself, have had to do with it.
Science, the backbone of education, can give us no purpose in existing — no reason for being. It can't tell us why we are — what we are — or where we're bound. But science gets all-fired AUTHORITATIVE when it comes to WHERE WE CAME FROM. "In the beginning," goes the modern fable, "was the hydrogen atom." Thus, evolutionary, atheistic, God-denying science preaches its own peculiar dogma, all the while pityingly ignoring those who believe the more accurate version, "In the beginning, GOD created..." But science is forced to recognize LAW. It searches and explores a Lawful, LAW ABIDING universe. It ponders the marvelous LAWS of the solar system. It investigates the wondrous LAWS of the environment of earth, and all living creatures upon it. But science stops short of realizing it takes an AUTHORITY to make a law. And it takes an AUTHORITY TO SUSTAIN and UPHOLD a law. And it takes an AUTHORITY to PUNISH FOR INFRACTIONS OF LAW. For the professor and his fellow who first shook violently a vial of nitroglycerine, it was instantaneously too late for such profound thoughts. But in the aftermath of that primitive explosion, it would seem logical the principle should have impressed itself on the survivors. No one goes around trying to argue it's only true, "historically" in chemical labs. They only do that in college textbooks. You live in an AUTHORITY. The whole universe is bound by authority. The solar system, earth, and all life. But the only authority of which you really become aware in early life is whatever authority thwarts your desire — restricts your impulses. Usually, you resent this. Unknowingly, you FOLLOW whatever authority comes along with appeals to the pull of your senses. You don't recognize it as "authority" because the experience IS PLEASANT to you. But it's about time you understood the true beginnings of man — WHAT we are — WHY human nature is what it is — and WHAT IS YOUR TRUE PURPOSE IN BEING. So let's investigate, briefly, your own physical beginnings. We're speaking of you as a baby! Not the philosophical and theological question of where all mankind came from — but just where YOU, personally, began. You were immediately governed by AUTHORITY! Even your bodily processes could be so construed. Your nervous impulses were all the authority you needed for otherwise unacceptable and disgusting acts — personal enterprises of babies — near mindless, thoughtless, but vastly important to us as little, struggling creatures. Hungry? You cried. Wet? You cried — and it was nobody's fault but your own. "Lonely?" (you didn't really know the meaning of the term) you still cried. Sometimes you cried because you didn't know it, but it was your only form of bodily exercise. If you were overseen by somewhat "average" parents — they probably let you gradually work out, FOR YOUR OWN SELF, whatever system of authority appealed to you the most! If they, like millions of Spock-taught parents, abhorred the idea of corporal (ugh!) punishment, you began finding yourself living in a frustrated limbo of NOT KNOWING what your limitations were. You were utterly without guiding principles. There was no counter authority in your life which would help you realize your emotional frenzies had to be controlled. Maybe this sounds hypothetical. It's not. It's absolutely true in too many thousands of cases. Your first "authority" SHOULD have been loving, corrective, kind, merciful but FIRM PARENTAL authority! You should have, at the tender age of WEEKS, begun finding out there are LAWS in this environment of yours — LAWS TO BE OBEYED — and AUTHORITIES to punish if those laws are broken! Let's skip ahead to teenage.
Your Really "Greatest" Authority
In teenage — your authorities were most awesome, all-ponderous, demanding and important. You didn't know what these authorities were — didn't even recognize you were under them (you fancied yourself "free") but you obeyed. Without a complaint. Usually instantly. Where did you go? With whom? Why? In "hanging around" the corner drugstore, malt shop or drive-in, sort of "waiting to see what happens" you were actually cowering in front of a giant dictator — a huge authority in your life that DROVE you to do what you did, dress as you did, cut your hair (or refuse to) as you did, and eat, talk, walk, play sports, date, kiss and even repair cars like you did! Teens DESPERATELY try to "belong." They must be just as "mature," rough, tough and ready — JUST as "in" as all the others. (Who, incidentally, hope to be "in" like the ones who in turn strive to be "in," assuming others are already — if, that is, all this makes any sense). Were you striving to be dashing, handsome, sports-minded and the life of all parties? Or did pimples prevent it? If so — you probably resented the smooth complexions from the other side of the tracks, and found for yourself a set of friends to go with your face. Complete with all habits and modes of dress to match. Like long hair, cigarettes, autos with huge rear tires, and a rebellious attitude. Or like short skirts, ironed hair, blonde dye, canvas sneakers, and a walk that resembled a cross between two different savage rhythms. Be honest with yourself. Regardless as to the mode of the times — forgetting the era in which you grew up, what were the real authorities in your life? What were you like? Not what you THOUGHT you were like or what you wanted to be like — but what were You like? You were striving desperately, the chances are, to be just like all the others in your particular circle of friends! So those friends, THEIR modes of dress, THEIR likes and dislikes, THEIR morals and habits — THEY BECAME YOUR AUTHORITY! You can probably remember MANY occasions when your parents and those friends were in complete opposition one against the other. Which one did you follow? If not follow, which one did you WANT to follow — even though forced to follow the dictates of your parents? Like most young people, you very probably respected the "authority" of OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE your own age, and THEIR customs, far more than the authority of your parents. So your really GREATEST authority in your life, during those years was VANITY. Some want to be "rugged," tough, calloused, indifferent — want to "drop out" and become known for their "don't care" attitude. So they adopt that particular pose. They're unhappy. They don't REALLY want to drop out — they want to drop IN — IN with a group whose acceptance they covet. Some want to be popular, the life of the party, active in sports and school activities — and so try to become that type of person. But in every case — VANITY is behind it all.
Human nature — VANITY
You are the sum total of all the thoughts, experiences, and occurrences that have made you what you are. Without realizing it — you have been subject to certain powerful AUTHORITIES all your life. I said you live in an "authority." That's only another way of saying you live in a LAW ABIDING universe, a LAWFUL solar system, and an ecology that follows patterns and LAWS. Man, himself, in all the creation, is lawless. But, like the physical laws that act upon you, there are certain spiritual forces at work as well. Human nature in you exerts a powerful PULL. Just as the PULL of gravity pulls you DOWN to this physical earth, and other humans through the earth think they are "right side up" — so is there a powerful MENTAL and EMOTIONAL pull inside of you that pulls you in a downward direction, spiritually. That PULL is a hidden, unseen, spiritual FORCE. The only source to which you can go to understand human nature — to see WHAT it is, and WHY it is that way, is the source of the inspired Word of Almighty God. In the Bible, and in the Bible ONLY, can you come to understand your own nature! God REVEALS what your nature really is. He says: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be" (Rom. 8:7). It just CAN'T be subject — God says. Sometimes, it kids itself it WANTS to be — that it wants to obey God, and live according to the laws of God, but it just can't seem to resist an unseen, powerful AUTHORITY that is everywhere present in this world! Jeremiah was inspired to write: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9) Yes, — DECEITFUL — above all things. We like to KID ourselves we're FREE. That we are in bondage to NO man (as the Jews said to Christ) — when ACTUALLY WE'RE SLAVES. Slaves to our own NATURES. To the PULL of our flesh, and to a hidden SPIRIT BEING WHO RULES OVER MEN IN THIS PRESENT WORLD! Human nature Is the same KIND of nature as that of Satan, the devil. His nature is DESCRIBED in the Bible, in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. He is described as the epitome of VANITY. Vanity consists of JEALOUSY, LUST and GREED. The devil is described as the beginner of all lies (John 8:44), as the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2) and as the very GOD — the LEADING AUTHORITY — of this present world (II Cor. 4:4). As such, the devil HOLDS SWAY over the minds and hearts of men! Let's understand this! Human nature might be likened to a powerful NEGATIVE CURRENT. The devil is, for the sake of this analogy, a powerful POSITIVE current. There is a terrific ATTRACTION between the two — for the flowing of that powerful current. It's like a powerful magnet — human nature. It PULLS you in the direction of covetousness, lust, jealousy, greed, VANITY. Your desires to HATE one person, and COVET the affection of another — your DISGUST toward one race and feelings of SUPERIORITY toward another — your physical, sensual PULLS of the flesh — all these are the same feelings of the devil. They are the powerful AUTHORITY that wields RULE over you! Without knowing it — you have allowed your vanity to DRIVE you — to WHIP you into submission, to COERCE you into committing acts, harboring resentments and attitudes, doing things you KNEW WERE WRONG! Human nature, believe it or not, is VANITY, jealousy, lust and greed! It is as if the nature of the devil himself had been PUT WITHIN man.
The "FREEDOM" Preachers
But only a RARE one-in-a-million person will ADMIT he has been a slave! Only a tiny handful have come to the place they have been willing to see themselves as in literal BONDAGE to the hidden authority of the devil, to the pull of their own nature, and the authority Of THIS WORLD around them! Millions fancy themselves FREE. They especially fancy they are free from having to OBEY GOD! They speak of "grace," which means, to them, being in some sort of spiritual CONDITION which releases them from obligation to OBEY GOD'S AUTHORITY! But grace is NOT a spiritual "condition" — it is a quality of the nature of God! Grace is merely GOD'S FORGIVENESS — His attitude Of MERCY and PARDON, unearned, undeserved, which He will show toward anyone who REPENTS of sin! Never make a mistake! You ARE under authority. You always WILL be. The only question is; "WHOSE?" You have been under the authority of this world and its customs, habits, beliefs, fables, false religions, dogmas, prejudices, politics, warped history, and its people. You have been — though you didn't realize it, and may deny it still — UNDER the authority and sway of the hidden god of this present age, who Is Satan the devil. But the great influence who presently holds sway over mankind likes to allow man to believe himself free. He even has ministers (II Cor. 11:13-15) who preach his special kind of "freedom." Listen to this! "While they [the false ministers of Satan] promise them [their followers] LIBERTY, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage" (II Pet. 2:19). Peter was inspired to write of these teachers, calling them '... beguiling unstable souls... cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way and are gone astray... wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved forever" (II Pet. 2:14-17). They preach FREEDOM — "grace," as they call it. And, inevitably, that "grace" they preach means their listeners are "free" from ANY OBLIGATION TOWARD GOD'S LAWS. They preach it is perfectly all right to BREAK God's laws, and that such DISOBEDIENCE and law BREAKING IS "liberty." But, true to the prophecies of Romans 1, and the modern-day admissions of evolutionists, there is always an underlying MOTIVE in such messages. And what is the motive Peter reveals? "For when they speak great swelling words of VANITY [which appeals to vanity!], they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error" (II Pet. 2:18). Lust of the flesh — SEX sins — these are underlying MOTIVES in many a false doctrine.
The Political Freedom Preachers
And what a striking parallel between the false ministers of Satan; PREACHING FREEDOM, all the while slaves to their own lusts, and busily trying to enslave others; what a parallel between these and the political preachers of the same doctrines. Would-be "leaders" in various movements scream about lack of freedom, deprivation of rights, social injustices and the like. They decry the virtual SLAVERY of the peoples they wish to incite. Yet they, themselves, preach a NEW kind of slavery — that of mindless obedience to the dictates of their own policies. Inciters to chaos and violence loudly deplore violence; whole racial movements begin solely as a power play for personal aggrandizement. And so the human pendulum swings. For centuries, humans have kidded themselves they can find true liberty for themselves — in their own governments, social orders, and religions. They have only succeeded in drifting from one kind of enslavement to another — and have never achieved true freedom. We're enslaved by our own inventions. Afraid of our own hugeness — terrified by the works of our own hands. Today mankind sees himself facing that ultimate disaster of all — the suicide of the whole human race. And all because we wanted liberty. Freedom. But we didn't know WHAT it was. And we didn't know WHERE TO LOOK for it.
What is real liberty? What is true freedom? Our child psychologists seem smitten with the notion it is total anarchy; the right to do to whomsoever, at whatever time you choose, whatsoever you please. In our homes and schools, we have seen the horrible consequences of this utter misconception; in violent youth, juvenile delinquency, growing riots, classroom disturbances, and even mounting homicides between parents and children. In our societies today, millions of us believe freedom is the freedom FROM law, to do whatever we can get away with — whenever the opportunity strikes. We lie, cheat, rob and kill; we gulp pills, swallow hormones, diet and exercise ourselves into a physical limbo; thus breaking every basic law of health; we cheat in school, cheat in business, cheat on our income tax, and drive too fast whenever we can keep a close watch in the rearview mirror — all because we feel "free" to. Whole segments of our society feel themselves in virtual slavery to their environment; without jobs, education, or the promise of either — or without jobs, education, or the DESIRE for either — increasingly larger percentages of us try to kill and violently plunder other percentages of us. All, of course, under the banner of "rights" and "freedom." But what is true freedom. It is freedom of SPEECH, to be sure. It's freedom of ASSEMBLY, too. But it is also freedom from FEAR, and from WANT, and from PAIN and SUFFERING. We seem to avail ourselves much of our freedoms of expression, and especially freedom to DISSENT. But when will we ever experience freedom of mind and spirit? When freedom from terror, from worry, from unhappiness, from pain and suffering? When freedom from DEATH? THIS is the true Freedom God offers. We ought to KNOW by now that our civil liberties and freedoms are GUARANTEED SO LONG AS WE LIVE WITHIN THE LAW. It's about time we realize LAWS protect, preserve, and GUARANTEE our liberties. But when we BREAK the law; those liberties can be taken away from us. It is exactly the same with the laws of God! Live within them, and we are TRULY FREE. Freedom never imagined by most of us — the lasting, secure kind that NO human can take away from us. Listen to the way Paul put it: "Let not sin therefore reign [RULE OVER you] in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof" (Rom. 6:12).
Which Authority Will It Be?
It is a CHOICE. A matter of deciding WHO WILL YOUR AUTHORITY BE? Will you continue to be RULED, FORCED, DRIVEN, like a cowering, whimpering, slave by your own habits (smoking, cursing, drinking, arguing, fighting, stealing, etc., etc), and passions (lust, covetousness, sex compulsions; even drug usage) — RULED over, by mere human emotion — or will you determine NO SUCH SATANIC AUTHORITY WILL BEAR RULE OVER YOUR LIFE — that you will be FREE? Paul continued, "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto SIN [and sin is the breaking of God's ten commandments — I John 3:4]; but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you..." (Romans 6:13-14). God says of HIS true servants, sin shall NOT drive you, whip you into line, FORCE you to commit acts that bring upon you all sorts of suffering. Your own passions, lusts, vanities and jealousies are NOT to bring you into abject, groveling SLAVERY! Your own prejudices, notions, thoughts, concepts, racial bigotries and religious ideas are NOT TO BE YOUR AUTHORITY! Paul knew there was a literal BATTLE being waged. It was a battle of two different AUTHORITIES. HE was the prize! "I find then a LAW, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: but I see another law in my members, WARRING against the law of my mind, and BRINGING ME INTO CAPTIVITY to the LAW OF SIN [NOT, AS SOME FALSE PREACHERS MONSTROUSLY PURPORT, THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF GOD!] which is IN MY MEMBERS" (Romans 7:21-23). That "law of sin" in his flesh was his HUMAN NATURE, which is SUBJECT to vanity (Rom. 8:20), which is influenced by Satan the devil; by this present world, and by the pulls of the flesh. But Paul said he had been made FREE from that "captivity" to the law of sin. He said, "... For the law of the Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus bath made me FREE from the law of sin and death"! (Rom. 8:2) Now he was deciding, as a FREE moral agent, just WHO HIS AUTHORITY WOULD BE. He decided it voluntarily. No other person, no superhuman being, no influence FORCED him. And he decided his authority would be God the Father, and Jesus Christ, and the WORD of God. He would no longer mindlessly, blindly cringe before the whims of human nature. He would NOT be a slave to "what people think," and to the opinions and notions of others, equally enslaved to passion. He would not do obeisance to lust; bow down before vanity; salute vanity; obey the instant impulse of greed. He would not drift through life as fair game for the myriads of WRONG authorities all around him. He would CHOOSE. He would choose HIS OWN AUTHORITY. And he would NOT obey it out of fear! It was FEAR, fear of other people's opinions; fear of family, friends, associates — fear of all sorts of real and imagined consequences that made him part and parcel of his own society. But he would never be trapped into a FEAR RELIGION again. Now he would obey because he DECIDED to. Because he could plainly see which RESULTS he wanted — what was the BEST WAY TO LIVE. Never again would he stoop before the Molech of fashion; the Dagon of public opinion; the Ishtar of sex, or the Mars of hatred and war. No idolatrous power would rule him — not HIM — not the apostle Paul. He found TRUE FREEDOM. Because he FREELY GAVE Himself to God. He volunteered to SUBMIT to God's authority! And for that, He'll possess ultimate authority, for all eternity! (II Tim. 4:7, 8 with Rev. 20:4) God wants to give YOU authority. But HE first expects you to be freed from the slavery of your own lusts and passions, the world and its societies, and from Satan the devil. You're UNDER AUTHORITY. Right now. You LIVE in an "authority." You ALWAYS WILL be under authority. Whose?