The Authority of the Believer
If anything is going to be accomplished in the natural or spiritual realm, you must assert your God-given authority. That said, there’s a fine line between doing what is necessary to get things done and overstepping your boundaries.
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Asserting Your Authority
Luke 10:17-20 makes it clear that we have authority in Christ as believers. Many people take the authority issue too far, but just because people take a particular truth to an extreme does not in anyway diminish the truth the Holy Spirit has given us. To reject the truth because it has been taken too far only means we have gone too far in the other direction.
Have a Sober Estimation of Yourself
We are not to think too highly of ourselves – pride, but we should also not think too lowly of ourselves – false humility. We are not to be filled with pride and come across as egotistical and cocky, but not to be confident in what the Holy Spirit has called us to is an insult to God.
If we have been called and gifted in a particular area, we must assert our authority accordingly. I’ve always struggled with low self-esteem, but the Lord made it clear that He gifted me with the ability to teach and present His Word with authority.
This is not pride because I know without Him I would not be able to do anything. Not to step forward in the confidence and authority God has given me would be a slap in His face. This is false humility and pride in reverse.
Ed Cole once said, “Without an element of ego, nothing will ever be accomplished for the Kingdom of God.”
Romans 12:3 – “I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”
This is in the context of the motivational gifts. When we are gifted in a particular area we are to assert our authority in that gifting and move forward in it with confidence and boldness. Not to so is to neglect our gift and we will miss out on all God has for us (1 Timothy 4:14). God has a purpose for each of us. If we don’t puruse it it simply will not get done. However, to assert authority in an area we are not gifted in is error and can do much damage to the body of Christ.
For instance, over the years in pastoring, we often had people who desired to be on the worship team when they had little or no gifting in worship let alone singing or as a musician. This puts much preasure on the pastor and worship leader and can cause irreperable damage and schisms in the body. The same is true with those asserting themselves into leadership positions or any other position that they are not gifted in.
Balance is Imperative
Extremes are always dangerous. One person receives a revelation of a particular truth, gets excited, and takes it so far that it is no longer truth but a perversion of it. Another sees the extreme that particular truth has been taken to and runs the other direction. They take the truth to the opposite extreme which is also a perversion of truth.
God’s truth is usually somewhere in the middle. Thank God for men and women who always seem to find the proper balance in extremes in the church. Just because some people abuse their authority in no way nullifies the truth the Holy Spirit has given.
God enables us to meet the need of our calling while also giving authority to believers in general. It’s our job to assert the authority God has given us, whether for a specific ministry or the authority of the believer in general.
Prayer: Holy Father, help us to maintain proper balance and be doctrinally sound in all things. Help us not overly assert ourselves where we have no business going. Also give us the grace and confidence to boldly move forward in the authority You have given us. In Jesus’ matchless name, Amen!
The Authority of the Believer
God has given the church and every follower of Christ authority and victory in both the natural and spiritual realms where He is head over all things. The devil has been attacking many of us for too long. It’s high time we begin to excercise the God-given authority He has alotted us as believers.
Romans 16:20 – “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
Notice, it says the God of peace. Sometimes the only way to make peace is by fighting. This is a prophetic word for many who are reading this. God is fighting on your behalf and is about to place Satan and all the demons coming against you under your feet!
Exodus 14:13-14 – “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians (your enemies) whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.”
Ephesians 1:19-23 – “What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.”
Ephesians 2:6-7 – “And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
1 John 4:17 – “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”
Luke 10:18-19 – “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power (authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”
2 Corinthians 10:4-5 – “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
Hebrews 2:5-10 – “For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all things in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Ephesians 4:27 – “Neither give place to the devil.”
Joshua 1:3 and 5 – “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you. There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life.”
Deuteronomy 11:24 – “Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours.”
Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
1 John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
1 John 5:4 – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
Romans 8:37 – “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
Deuteronomy 28:1-14 – “The Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And All these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways.
The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and He shall bless thee in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The Lord shall establish thee an holy people unto Himself, as He hath sworn unto thee… All people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the Lord; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the Lord shall make thee plenteous in goods – abound in prosperity.
The Lord shall open unto thee His good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many, and thou shalt not borrow. And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath.”
2 Kings 6:16 – “Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.”
Hebrews 1:13-14 – “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness (vindication) is from Me, Says the Lord.”
Isaiah 59:9 – “When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against him.”
Areas Over Which We Must Exercise Authority
- Life and prosperity (John 10:10, Deuteronomy 30:15 and 19, 3 John 2, Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus came that we might experience life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). This has to do with much more than just finances. It has to do with every area of our life – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and materially.
- Health and wholeness (Isaiah 53:3-5, Psalms 103:1-5, Romans 8:11). “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The context deals with more than physical healing but emotional and mental as well. Someone who is reading this is battling emotional scars that God is completely healing right now. Someone else has been told you have a mental illness and God is healing you as you read this. Receive it now by faith. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is bringing life and healing to someone’s physical body this very moment (Romans 8:11).
- Finances (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Malachi 3:8-10, Philippians 4:18-19, Deuteronomy 8:11-20, Isaiah 48:17). “It is He who gives you the power to make wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Listen for Him to speak to you. If something pops into your head, it may be God giving you just what you need in order to prosper financially. Seek counsel, pray and if everything seems to be a go, run with it.
He is able to make all financial grace abound toward you ( 2 Corinthians 9:8) and open the windows of heaven blessing you until there is no longer room to receive it (Malachi 3:10). He promises to supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:18-19). The context of each of these verses deals with giving. We cannot expect God to bless and meet our needs if we are not willing to be faithful in our giving.
- Salvation of family and loved ones (Acts 2:38-39, Acts 16:31, Isaiah 59:21). The devil has robbed us of our loved ones long enough. Let’s start standing on the Word of God for our loved ones to be brought to Jesus. He able to reach even those who seem farthest from Him. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
- Growth of the church body (Isaiah 43:5-7, Acts 2:39, Ephesians 4:16, Acts 2:47). Pastors, leaders and congregants, it is God’s desire and will that your church grow both spiritually and numerically. If you will be faithful, pray, witness, follow up on the wayward, work hard and believe God, He will make your church body to grow exponentially. He has “ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit – multiply and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). Notice, you have to go in order to multiply. It will not happen with you sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing.
- Peace and joy (John 14:27, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7, John 16:23-4, Isaiah 35:10, Isaiah 52:9, Isaiah 60:5, 1 John 1:4). Read, study and memorize these scriptures. God wants to give you peace and joy even when these things aren’t a reality in your life. There will be times when you will have to “break forth into joy” (Isaiah 52:9) when there is nothing to be joyful about. It’s something you must choose to do. You must “choose life so you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
- Restoration of all the enemy has stolen (Joel 2:17-27). The Bible says, “Do not despise a thief If he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore seven-fold” (Proverbs 6:30-31).
The devil is the thief who has come to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). Whether what we have lost in life is from the original sin, through direct attacks of the devil and his emissaries, or through our own sin, faults and poor choices, Satan is still the thief and source of our losses. Let’s demand all that has been taken from us be restored seven-fold.
Joel 2:20, 23 and 25 – “I will remove far off from you the northern army, and will drive him into a land barren and desolate. Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for He has given you the former rain moderately, and He will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, My great army which I sent among you.”
How to Implement Our Authority as Believers
Now that we’ve discussed the authority given to us through Christ, I want to share how we can implement that authority. Read Ephesians 1:19-23, Ephesians 2:6, Joshua 1:3, Ephesians 4:27, Matthew 4:8-10, and Colossians 2:15. In the first half of Ephesians, Paul is trying to help us realize who we are in Christ, before telling us what we are to do for God.
Hebrews 2:8 says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all things in subjection under him, He left nothings that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” It’s clear in this verse that God has placed all things in subjection to us, under our feet. “But now we see not yet all things put under him,” also reveals it hasn’t completely materialized yet. Therefore, there must be something we can do to bring this into the realm of reality. Below are a few things to help us start moving in that direction.
- Tenacity and discipline (2 Timothy 4:6-8, Galatians 6:9, Luke 18:1). This is not easy. It is something I have struggled with, especially in recent years. The real struggle is maintaining your authority. It takes discipline and stubbornness. It’s hard, when we face battles and things don’t go right, to continue standing firm and exercise and implement our authority in the situations of life. It is easy to become discouraged, fainthearted and give up instead of continuing to fight the good fight.
This is particularly difficult when we have faced continuous hardships and reversals in our life and ministry. It is easy to get tired and beat down. Even when we have been very tenacious in the past, we have a hard time stirring it back up again and maintaining it. You must reach deep within yourself, as David did, and encourage yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV).
This was a major turning point for David. If he had not done this he would have missed God and the greatness God had prepared him for. It was shortly thereafter, at the very beginning of 2 Samuel that David is crowned King. This materialized not only because of God’s calling and destiny, but also because of David’s tenacity. We will never know what would have happened if he had given up.
- Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Life and victory are ultimately a choice. Things will not always go our way. We will be attacked and at times viciously. We may, at times, feel beat down and defeated. We may even get discouraged and depressed. We may feel there is no way out and no hope (Proverbs 13:12).
It is in these times we must choose life. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). This is the only way to pull out of the pit we are in and begin to head toward and experience victory. Shout it out, at the top of your lungs, “I choose life!” We must choose life and keep choosing life until we have taken authority over our situation and victory has come.
- Visualize victory (John 5:17 and 19, Judges 6:11-12, Proverbs 29:18). As with effective praying, we must see the victory in the spiritual realm before it can become an outward reality. Jesus saw the Father working and therefore He worked (John 5:17 and 19). Gideon was hiding in the wine press for fear of the Midianites. When the angel called him he said, “The Lord is with thee thou mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:11-12).
I remember, when my oldest son was going through a rebellious stage, when he would leave the house, I would say, “See you later you mighty man of valor.” I’m sure he thought I was crazy, but I was trying to see him as the man God had called him to be even if everything in his life was contrary to it.
- Exercise faith (2 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 6:13-15, Romans 4:18-21). If we are to implement the authority given us in Christ, we must be men and women of faith. It was said of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18). “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is expressed in four ways:
- Having vision (Proverbs 29:18, Hebrews 12:2). We not only must see God doing something in the spiritual realm, but we must have a vision for what we want to see God do, accomplish or what He has promised us. We perish and experience defeat without vision. Jesus kept His eyes on the joy that was set before Him of what God had promised. Paul likewise kept his eye on the prize set before him (Philippians 3:14).
- Claim His promises. “Every place the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given unto you” (Joshua 1:3). This speaks of putting your foot on and claiming the promises of God. In whatever area you are needing to assert your authority over, find out what God has said about it and claim His Word and promise for you. Stand on it and claim it saying, “This is mine,” on the authority of God’s Word and the promise of God, who cannot lie (Hebrew 6:18).
- Resist the enemy. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7-8). “Whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8). We must resist the enemy, negativism, our situation, and everything that opposes God’s Word and promises.
- Taking action (Mark 2:5, James 2:17-19). We have to move in faith to adequately place things under our feet. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Jesus saw the faith of those carrying the paralytic man and was moved to intervene in their situation (Mark 2:5). The Word must be mixed with active faith if it is to profit us (Hebrews 4:2).
- Be aggressive (Joshua 1:3). “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). It is incumbent upon us to take aggressive action if we’re going to implement the authority Christ has given us over the things of this life.
Aggression is “A forceful action as an unprovoked attack when intending to dominate or master” (Winston Dictionary). The problem is the devil is the one who has initiated the aggression against us and done the provoking. We need to begin to initiate the attack against the gates of hell and stop waiting on the devil to attack us before doing spiritual warfare (Matthew 16:18).
We must begin to take the offensive, instead of merely reacting defensively. Gates don’t attack but are there to keep something out. “Place” in Joshua 1:3 translates from “topos” in the Greek Septuagint and is where we get the word topography. It is “used of a region, locality, room, of a place which a person or place occupies” (Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). We must begin to take aggressive action and take back all that the enemy has stolen.
- Move forward (Philippians 3:12-14, Hebrews 6:1, Hosea 6:3, Isaiah 43:18-19). Standing still and looking back cannot be an option. This only leads to more reversals and going backward. Even if we just stand still, sooner or later we will begin sliding backwards. We must, therefore, continue pressing on and aggressively moving forward in all areas of life.
- Watch what you say (Matthew 12:36-37, Proverbs 18:20-21, Mark 11:22-4, Deuteronomy 30:14, Romans 10:8-10, James 3:5-6, Ephesians 4:29, Luke 6:45, Judges 6:11-12). What we say does matter. This is an area I have personally struggled with. If we get discouraged and begin speaking negatively, criticizing and complaining, we will retard the implementation and exercise of our authority, our occupation of the land and the promises of God. Our words can build up the kingdom, God’s church and one another, or tear down and destroy (Ephesians 4:29). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).
God has given us authority in Christ. Scripture clearly bears this out. It’s high time we begin exercising our God-given authority.
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