As I have been contemplating what makes or confers legitimacy, I have observed some things that I hope will be helpful for you. The word legitimate comes from an old word that means “legal” or to make legal.
There is an order in society that confers legitimacy, validity. I am concerned that we, as believers, so often errantly take our queues from society on what is valid. Let's keep in mind that the natural world does not embrace the reality of the spiritual realm, much less it's superiority, as the modern scientist portrays himself as irrefutable.
Finding the center of a worldview can help us understand what seeds are being carried along in it's stream.
All institutions of society make claims to legitimacy, and operate as if they have the power / right to convey legitimacy or validity upon their subjects, their subscribers.
One such institution of great concern in these moments is the government. A trend of government in our times that concerns me deeply is the trend toward a “super state”. In a super state (government that has outgrown it's rightful commission before God) claims are expressed that the State (or government) is the source of legitimacy, and also it's highest expression. Now legitimacy, in an ultimate sense, comes from occupying faithfully the commission you have received from God, and staying within it's limits. The super state is just humanism dressed differently, and has a strong expression in hyper-nationalism. Nazism, as we know, was a form of hyper-nationalism. This was a trap set by the devil himself, and Germany won't be the only example of how effective this trap can be when all is said and done.
Over time I have observed and studied the reaction of believers to these concepts of legitimacy. “This guy used to be a missionary but now he works for the government in some impressive / secretive agency,” was one such comment I have heard. In the outplay of this situation, the person in example is considered to have instant credibility and is considered above reproach. But where does this reaction come from? It is not coming from the fact that the person is (or was) a missionary. It is coming from the fact that they are in government work that they can't talk about openly. In this example, we are responding to the wrong stimulus. Do we actually believe that the government is the source of legitimate power? If no, then why are we acting like it? Is hyper-nationalism running thru our veins too?
The scriptures are clear that we are to test all things, and hold fast to that which is good. This is to be done no matter the badge, rank, or title of the person or entity.
We are not to despise government, because it has been established by God. But this reality in itself, when contemplated, should also restrain us from worshipping the government. God is at the center, not the government, in a healthy worldview.
We should, by now, be aware that society and the Kingdom of God are following different paths, and are founded on different ideologies. God's kingdom is established on His ways, which are different from the world's ways. For example, a central tenant to His kingdom is humility. This is because God Himself is humble. This is the opposite to the mindset that moves the world. If we are going to live and function in God's kingdom, we will walk in humility. In some ways, we can see where we are getting our guidance by observing the level of humility we are walking in. Tough words, I know.
I have, for many years, studied military special forces in an attempt to understand some things I believe that the Lord is raising up in his body. I have heard people I respect speak about this, and there are ways I believe that this is true. There is a lot to learn from this field, but there is also a lot we want to arm ourselves against. One of the main things we must avoid is pride. It seems that as people grow in usefulness and stature, that our egos can also be quietly growing. In the Kingdom, we can not follow this track. In the world, it seems almost unavoidable.
Are you valid? Are you legitimate? Are you “for real”?
Where does reality come from?
We can be trapped by the reality that is all around us in the natural world, but if we are, we must fight to escape it's clutches. We must see, recognize and follow a higher reality, whose central figure is the One who sits on the throne.
One central tenant to the fallen reality of this realm is confusion. The more we ascribe to it, or the more aligned we are with it, the more confusion will be a hallmark of our lives. Don't despair, though, peace is waiting for the person who lifts their eyes to the reality that surrounds this fallen one, the reality of God and His kingdom.
What the world considers great and valid rises and fades so quickly that it is hard to keep track of it. This is foam that is generated by the sea of humanity, and it vanishes immediately. However, what God does lasts forever.