In the devils’ personal war on words, the word “authority” is one of his favorite victims. I think he chooses his targets based on how much God likes them and how important they are to God’s people. This word matters to us all. No wonder it is so viciously under attack.
Given total freedom to operate the devil would have us resist and fear authority. And there is a good reason. The reason is that the devil fears authority and he realizes that when we grasp it rightly we will have the ability to resist his advancement in the earth.
Properly used, authority is the mechanism that God uses to deliver His power from where He is into the places that we are. Improperly used, all manner of damage and wounding can occur.
The dilemma that we face is that the word authority actually has two meanings. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the word authority has two applications. Spiritual authority and human authority are not necessarily the same thing.
Human authority depends on systems and positions. People have authority over one another because of position, title, or in some cases, simply sheer ability to dominate. Human authority can move people and organizations, and can get tasks done. The tasks can be anything from moving a nation to moving a cardboard box, but authority is what gets this done.
Spiritual authority depends on relationship and submission. The degree to which you respond rightly to authority, is the degree to which you gain authority. Spiritual authority has to do with the ability to move creation. Sick bodies, storms and wind, the atmosphere in a room or relationship, and demonic forces can all be moved by someone functioning in spiritual authority.
In an ideal world people with spiritual authority would also have positional authority. For a number of reasons, this is not always the case. Often people in great positions of authority find it difficult to maintain spiritual authority while people in lowly positions find it easier to operate in spiritual authority.
Pontius Pilate, a king, with human authority stood in front of Jesus and said to Him, “don’t you realize I have the authority to give you death?”
Jesus, a King with the Highest authority stood in front of the tomb of a friend and said, “I have the authority to give you life, come forth”
He stood in front of the lonely and commanded love.
He stood in front of the broken and commanded wholeness.
He stood in front of the captive and commanded freedom.
Sometimes we have to choose which arena we will rule in. Always choose life.