Submit To Your Spiritual Leaders

Submit To Your Spiritual Leaders

I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.
–Jeremiah 3:15

The writer of Hebrews told us to obey our spiritual leaders. He said in Hebrews 13:17, “Submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account.”

Exactly who are we to follow? After all, there are a lot of spiritual leaders out there. Well, that phrase “watch over” comes from two Greek words: “search” and “sleep.” The leader he was talking about is the one who searches for sleep. He is losing sleep over the condition of your soul because he knows he will give an account. There is only one person that is true of, and it is the pastor of your church. Jesus is the chief shepherd of the church, but He has temporarily left your flock under the care of an undershepherd. And one day, the pastor of your church will give an account to God for how he led the congregation. The writer was talking about your pastor and those who assist him in his role as shepherd.

How are we supposed to respond to that spiritual authority God has placed over us? Hebrews says we are to “submit to them.” Literally, that word means to quit resisting. Do not resist their leadership in your life in the areas over which they are responsible.

There are some pastors who abuse this. They want to try to control their people and everything they do. If I crashed a planning and development committee meeting and said, “God has told me that you need to use this grade of wiring in the building,” the chairman would look at me like I had lost my mind. That is not my area of expertise.

But there are other things that are under my purview. The pastor has authority in the areas that God has designated to him. For example, part of the role of the pastor is to correct members who are in sin. If there is somebody in the church who is living an immoral lifestyle that is hurting the reputation of Christ and the church, the pastor is supposed to correct that. If there is somebody who is causing disunity in the church, the pastor has to address that. If your spiritual leader talks to you about something that is wrong, the Bible says, “Do not resist. Do not rebel. Do not argue. Yield to that correction because it is for your benefit.”

Our spiritual leaders are watching over our souls; they are trying to help us in our relationship with God. And we are supposed to submit, not resist, in those areas that they have been given responsibility for. It is for our benefit.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “How To Treat Your Next Pastor” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2020.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.