The Marks of True Spiritual Authority

I’m late getting this post done this week because of things I had going on this pastlion 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.

Changing Seasons

seasonsGod said in His Word, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc. 3:1) There are seasons in nature, and seasons in our lives. I find it amusing though somewhat annoying at times at how we so often complain about changing seasons, especially when it comes to the weather. It’s too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too humid, etc. Often, we do the same in whatever current life season we are in. We want to finish school, or start that new job; we want our kids to become more independent so we can do what we want. We want to grow up and move out of our parents’ house, get married, have a baby, go on that mission trip…and so on.

We humans have such tunnel vision. We search for the light at the end, but totally miss the journey to get there – perhaps because it is dark and we can’t see what lies between where we are and where we long to be. We focus on the destination – on our destiny, the fulfillment of our dreams, arriving at that place where everything will be as we want it. Yet within the journey, God has stored the greatest treasures. Every season has its unique beauty and challenges. Each serves a vital purpose in preparing us for our ultimate destination – Christlikeness and spiritual union with Him.

It matters not whether we are going to school, learning a new job, raising children, supporting a family, serving on the mission field, training for ministry, running a business, being a wife, husband, mom, dad, brother, sister, friend, daughter, son, aunt, uncle…I hope you get the picture. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity. That sounds like it includes pretty much everything to me!

Colossians 3:23-24 says, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward…”  Whatever season we are in, whatever we do every day, matters to God. He sees it all, and uses it all for our good, to accomplish His purposes in our lives. Remembering this can help cure us of tunnel vision. Seeking the treasures He has for us on the journey will help us to be filled with gratitude rather than complaints. It isn’t always easy, but it is worth the struggle because we get to discover more of who He is and wants to be for us in each season. This will lead us into deeper intimacy, the greatest treasure of all and the ultimate destination we all long for. If we ask Him, He will help us learn to enjoy the journey!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Intentionality of God

Sunbeams in forestGod is intentional in all that He does or allows. According to the dictionary, intention means, “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result; the end or object intended; purpose.” In other words, nothing is ever accidental with God. He has specific purposes in mind for His children. He made this clear in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  He always intends to accomplish His plans.

As a Father, His intentions toward us are always in our very best interest. His greatest purpose for each one of us is to conform us into the image of His Son. Everything that He does or allows to touch us is unto that end. What’s more is that He is totally committed to this plan, so much so, that He promises to complete the good work He has begun in us. (Phil. 1:6)

Not only is He intentional in what He does or allows, but He is also able to use our choices, including our mistakes, sins, and stupidity to help accomplish His goal of Christlikeness. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” (Rom. 8:28-29) 

No matter how bad, how painful or difficult, no matter how unjust or inhumane our trials and troubles may be, His intention in allowing them is always to make us more like Jesus, who suffered more than anyone who ever walked the earth. This is why Scripture repeatedly tells us to “count it all joy” when we encounter various tests and trials. We may not enjoy the pain, but one day we will see it was worth it all!