When you think of ‘authority’, what comes to mind? For some, they immediately have a negative connotation, as they think of a boss who is demanding and harsh. A boss like this demonstrates his or her authority in a controlling manner that usually cannot be questioned and must be complied with. For others, they think of certain positions of authority such as a police officer or a teacher; these positions have a degree of responsibility and power within their sphere of influence. A problem can arise with those in authority if they misuse their authority for selfish gain or injustices. It’s not a surprise that people tend to dislike the word authority!
Yet authority sets in place the structure behind our careers, the government, and even in certain relationships we have. Authority is all around us – not only to be recognized when we get pulled over for a ticket!
Now for the question: what about spiritual authority? Is there such a thing and how do I use it? First, let’s take a brief look at how spiritual authority has been established.
We know that God is the ultimate authority behind all that there is. “For there is no authority except from God” (Romans 13:1) “and “Our God is in the Heavens; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). You have to be the One in charge if you’re able to do whatever you please!
While this may be obvious, let’s look at our authority. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were given their mandated authority by God to rule over all that was in it (Genesis 1:26) and to subdue the Earth (Genesis 1:28). When Adam and Eve gave way into temptation by listening to Satan (Genesis 3:1-7), their authority defaulted to Satan. Humanity’s choice led to sin (disobedience to God); sin gave Satan permission to have limited authority, power, and influence in our lives. As a result, we live in bodies that decay, are prone to sin, and will face death in this life. The rest as we say, is history!
This is where Jesus comes in. As the Son of God, Jesus’ plan was to not only to redeem mankind back to God, but to restore the authority back to mankind. Satan, who is known as ‘the god of this world’ (2 Corinthians 4:4) realized that his position was being threatened. Hence Satan tempted Jesus by saying that he’d give him “all the authority and splendor”, recognizing that “it has been given to him and he can give it to anyone he wants to” (Luke 4:5-7). Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t give into this scheme and goes to the cross for you and me. Hallelujah!
After Jesus rose from the grave, he told his disciples (including us) that, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth,” and we are now to go and fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus has taken back our authority and now He wants us to USE IT! Satan’s kingdom is now threatened as we take back what was rightfully ours.
Let me describe it this way: Let’s say that there is an evil dictator that has taken over the country. We as citizens want to take back the country and put the right person to rule in righteousness. To do so, we have to fight back against the forces of this dictator and win the land back one battle at a time. Since ‘the whole world is in the power of the evil one’ (1 John 5:19), we are using the Christ-given authority we have to win souls for the Kingdom, overthrown the repressive repercussions of sin, and to represent Him in our words and actions. We have been empowered by Christ to overcome!
That was a lot of theological explanation but was necessary for the foundational understanding of our authority in Christ. Now I’ll get right to it: How do we use this authority that Christ has given us? How do we take authority in the Spirit?
WE TAKE AUTHORITY WITH THE WORD BY OUR WORDS
All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16) and we wage war with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Therefore, there is power in using the Word of God! Isn’t that what Jesus did when he was in the wilderness with Satan? When he was tempted, he would respond with “It is written…” (Luke 4:4,8,12) because the Word is the ultimate authority over Satan and the spiritual world.
It’s important to know that the original Greek word for ‘word of God’ is ‘Rhema’. What does this mean? Rhema is the spoken Word of God whereas ‘Logos’ is the written Word of God. Therefore, to use this weapon with the authority of Christ you have to SPEAK the Word over the circumstances. Again, this is what Jesus did – he didn’t read the Word in his mind, he SPOKE the Word out loud in response to Satan.
How would this look like for us? We can use the Rhema word of God to overcome the doubts and tactics the enemy throws at us. For example, let’s say you are doubting your self-worth because of a recent conversation or experience you had that didn’t fare well. Certain thoughts like, “See, this is why I don’t put myself in those situations because I always mess up.” “I’m a failure” or “I’ll never be good enough” play again and again in your mind. What do you do? You rebuke those thoughts in the Name of Jesus with the Word of God. It’s not enough to simply read a verse – no, you have to SPEAK out your identity in Christ so you don’t give into the enemies plan for you to doubt your self worth and effectiveness for God. So you say truths from God’s Word such as…
- “I am more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus!” (Romans 8:37)
- “I am a child of God” (with all the benefits that come with it!) (John 1:12)
- “The old has passed away (specific sins, bad behavioral patterns, and attitudes against what God wants), because I am a new creation (I am holy, filled with joy, and doing what God wants me to do!) (2 Corinthians 5:17)
- “I am God’s friend, so I don’t have to worry even when I don’t know the plan in front of me” (John 15:15)
- “I am created in Christ Jesus to do incredible things for Him” (Ephesians 2:10)
The wonderful thing is that there are so many MORE statements of who we are in Christ because of the authority that he’s given us. God loves us so he wouldn’t send us out into the world without the authority to combat what comes against us. We are not alone and we are empowered to overcome!
Therefore, how are you going to use the Christ empowered authority He’s given you? Take a look at what has been going on recently with your life. What specific areas of your life do you feel attacked? If it’s regarding an area of your self-worth, find those verses that speak truth into who you are, regardless of how you feel. If it’s regarding a difficult circumstance, find those verses that shed light onto where your mind can be focused on things above and how you should respond in Christlike character. We all go through trials, so how are we going to fight through them? For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12); are we going to wage war accordingly so we can be free and free others? I’d love to hear your responses in how you took authority and how God came through for you.
Have a blessed week!