In part, to choose to submit to an authority when I disagree is to say, "There is something more important than being right."*
Some will look at this and call it futile, ignorant, and foolish.
But it might be the message of the cross.
1. For those who are married, we may find that we practice this with our spouses. There are times when my wife asks me to do something that I have absolutely no desire to do. Further, there are times when I think that something other than what she asks is what needs to be done. But, in choosing to do what she asks anyway - regardless of my lack of desire or lack of agreement in its necessity - is to participate in something bigger than my desires or orthodoxy. (We might call this love.)
In this situation, I am submitting to the authority of my wife.
2. Often, as the pastor of North Street Church, I make decisions or lead in a certain way that I wish would be otherwise. For instance, I wish we would worship in different ways. I prefer high-energy music with the words of aged hymns, highly-reflective mediums, and weekly Eucharist (to name but a few). But the collective authority of my local church doesn't. And so I submit to that. I'm not always the greatest at it, but that's why we all need the grace of God working through us.
In this situation, I am submitting to the authority of my church community.
3. I disagree with some of the conclusions of the Church of the Nazarene. If I had written the Manual myself, some parts would be very, very different. But for the most part, I follow the Manual and teach it.
In this situation, I am submitting to the authority of the Church of the Nazarene.
I have come to know God in some way through each of the above relationships. And in submitting in some ways to each of the above relationships, I believe that I am submitting to God...even if I come to find out later that I was "right" or that what I had thought should have been done (and chose not to do) would have been better. We love in the moment, as much as it might hurt, and in doing so we hope for greater things. To me, this is the picture of the Christ's passion and death, and then resurrection.
There have been and will be times when saying, "No" to my wife or to the Church seems to be necessary because the given act at the moment does indeed have greater implications (like my understanding of what it means to love a third party). Finding and choosing when these times are is a hard thing...and hence, why grace must abound, not necessarily in giving the ability to discern what is right, but all the more to heal, form, and restore when we find out that what we chose was wrong (or vice versa: what "they" chose was wrong).
Either way, grace must abound.
Choosing not to submit is to take power unto myself. While this isn't always wrong, more often than not, it can be wrong and certainly can lead to bad things. Paul says, "It's no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me." Paul has learned to completely submit to Christ in this statement. This is our goal, both today and in the long run. I'm still learning. And I believe that we can learn this by practicing it with the authorities that exist in our lives (= "spiritual discipline").
So for me, the authority of the Church is very, very important. A lot of my peers disagree with me in this. They see that the Church has been deeply wrong in the past and even now. And they are right. But the quest to be right is futile in and of itself, and ultimately, not the point of following Christ. For in following Christ, the only goal is love. And love, while hoping to be right, isn't chiefly concerned about being right.
*We might look at Adam & Eve's grasp of the apple as the desire to "know everything". The desire to know everything ("being right") might be considered the beginning of sin. Apparently, it wasn't in God's plans for humanity and creation. Relationship and submission were primary.