A thought about Spiritual Authority…
Posted on April 3, 2012
Ephesians 2:19-22 states: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” Spiritual Authority is an often misunderstood and feared term in today’s society. There are many abuses of spiritual authority in our recent history, which cause people to fear living in submission to God’s delegated authority in a leader. I would like to suggest that most of the fear is based on a wrong understanding of how God uses authority.
We derive most of our understanding by how man uses his authority and can inappropriately project that understanding on how God may use His. Man uses authority to bring pressure and heaviness as a means to ensure tasks and initiatives are accomplished. We see Jesus describe this in the book of Matthew (Matthew 20:25-28) when he exhorts the boys to not use their authority to ‘lord it over’ people, as the Gentiles do. This ‘lording over’ use of authority is what people fear and resist. However, in the Kingdom proper use of authority is found is serving the people you lead. In the Kingdom, authority is a foundation for the lives of the people being led, so that they may stand upon what God builds in the life of a leader and go further up and further in, in the call of God.
When leaders realize servanthood is the foundation and strength of authority, the people they are leading do not have a problem submitting because they understand submission is employing the leaders strength to launch themselves into their personal destiny. Finally, as a person learns to submit or trust a leaders authority, they become a source of authority to launch others they influence, to fulfill the call of God in their lives. Learning to be under authority, in its right context and use, prepares us to be an authority (a place of strength) in the lives of those around us. So, let us not fear the word authority or submission as they are all based in the context of servanthood and humility in this wonderful Kingdom that we have been grafted into.