I’m late getting this post done this week because of things I had going on this past weekend, so, better late than never, as they say. I don’t normally feel inspired to write, but today I was soaking up some glorious sunshine in my back yard and had a thought hit me that I felt I should write about.
As with all of my posts, I write, not from the perspective of an expert, but from one journeying toward maturity. I have found that sharing the things I am learning not only often helps others, but it helps me process and take to heart what I am gleaning along the way. In fact, one key to discipleship, I believe, is to have some who speak into our lives, and others whose lives we pour into. It should be a circle, a cycle, of receiving and giving, receiving and giving, that continues until we reach the end of our lives. But this is not the subject of today’s post.
What came to me was a topic the Lord began to teach me about several years ago. In my spirit, I heard Him say, “I am going to teach you about true spiritual authority because what you have been taught until now has come from a spirit of control.” My initial reaction, as it usually is when He speaks to me, was one of bewilderment, like, “Huh?” “What do You mean?” But He had my attention, so I began to listen and journal what He showed me.
Many seek and/or claim positions of authority, but true spiritual authority is only given by God, the Ultimate Authority of heaven and earth. (Matt. 28:18) Those who confer authority upon themselves are often wounded and in need of healing. Their so called authority is a cover for their fear, pride and insecurity, and a vehicle by which they seek to control others. In order to gain authority, they will seek to usurp it from those having true God given authority. (See the story of Absalom and David in 1 Sam. 13-15) Spiritual hosts, both heavenly and demonic, recognize true spiritual authority. (Acts 19:13-16; Acts 16:16-18; Dan. 9:21-27)
Those God gives authority to will be humble, as seen in the examples of Joseph, Daniel, and Moses, among others. Rather than seeking to control, they will strive to spur those around them unto maturity and fruit bearing. (John 15; 1 Thess. 2:4-12) True authority is given for the purpose of pulling down that which is not of God, and building up that which is. (Jer. 1:10) This purpose is accomplished through intimacy with God and intercession, coming into agreement with His will, not ours. (Matt. 26:39, 42; 6:9-10) Those whom God gives authority to will face extraordinary tests and trials, as seen in the lives of Joseph, David, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus, to name a few. These afflictions serve to burn away selfish ambition, pride, insecurity, fear of man, arrogance and anything else that would hinder the purpose for which He conferred it.
Jesus is always our model for life and ministry. As Sovereign of all creation, He is the source of all true authority for He will rule and reign forever and ever. We should be wary of those claiming positions of authority that are not noticeably growing in Christlikeness, who are arrogant and boastful, prideful and controlling. Those who gather followers unto themselves, as Absalom, are also to be avoided. We can trust leaders who have the heart of our Good Shepherd for He will never, ever lead us astray. We must pray for those whom God has granted authority to, for the body of Christ will never become the bride without them.