You have authority because you are under authority.
I’ve learned over the years about many issues when it comes to leadership but today was another reminder of how important it is to understand the issues of authority. I’ve worked in many environments where authority was wielded properly and improperly. I’m thankful that I’m in an environment where authority is understood and isn’t wielded at all but instead is a life-giving environment that nurtures restoration instead of religion.
Jesus gives a great illustration on the topic of authority. In this passage, Jesus shows us that we have authority because we are under authority.
Matthew 8:5-13 NIV
When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.” Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?” The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
This soldier submitted himself to Jesus in faith. Jesus complimented his faith because submission is an equivalent of trust. You have to trust those who have authority in your life. It’s an act of faith when you submit yourself to authority as well.
In the church, I’d venture to say that we have a misguided thought process of what “spiritual authority” looks like. Spiritual authority is given to us by God through the finished work of the cross, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The purpose of that authority is to take dominion in the earth. We have this to dominion over our flesh, our soul, over the devil, and any demonic activity that may try to crop up in our lives. The problem I’ve seen is that church leaders many times have used spiritual authority as a tool to leverage control and therefore manipulate people to do what they want them to do rather than what may be right. I’ve been in these situations more times than I care to remember and often I’ve made decisions based on control versus what I know God wants for me. It’s a delicate balance though because I’ve seen people make decisions based on what “God said” rather then getting good counsel from people God has truly placed in their lives.
It’s important for us to use this authority properly and to submit to it in a way that is humble and teachable.
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Please leave your thoughts if you feel led and let’s continue the conversation! May God bless you!