Authority In Spiritual And Earthly Life
05.07.2017, Daniel Glimm
The Importance of Authority
Authority, from lat. 'Auctoritas' (originally from 'auctor', meaning 'author', 'creator', 'promoter'), is present wherever order is required and needed to organize life and areas in society.
An appropriate understanding and comprehension of authority as well as towards God and man is a profound goal of saints in Christ. Why? Because only an appropriate understanding can reflect our relationship to God Himself as the supreme authority of all authority as He is author of every authorization, so that God would be honored (see Matthew 5:16 i.c.w. 1 Peter 5:6; Hebrews 12: 9).
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
1 Peter 5:6:
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!
What is authority?
A) Authority is the lawful right and the power to enforce obedience, alter and restrain behavior.
B) Authority also includes conduct by one person or group using the authority of a higher one.
Authority is linked to positions and to persons who are in positions. People enter authority when being assigned for particular jobs or installed in an official post.
This means also authority is contained within positions, so that titles of positions can provide information about the work, scope of duties and range of power. These titles exist prior to the person's entrance into a position, so that authority precedes authorization and persists.
Authority creates the place where lawful actions and legitimate initiatives and power can be exercised.
Leaving any post or exiting positions removes an individual's authority because it was resident within the office. A person may have a considerable influence (note: through life and work experience and/or by contacts acquired during the period of service) after exiting, but legal actions are not permitted.
Authority exercised apart from an official position (note: may contain lawlessness or influence) is limited in its ability to lawfully effect change or enforce rules that govern conduct and behavior.
In order to achieve the effects of an authority figure, an influential person as a recipient of the influence must be legally installed in an office with authority to enact, legislate, or perform what the influential person desires or envisions. <= (based on an explanation of the term 'authority' from the book 'Divine Order for Spiritual Dominance' by Paula A. Price, Ph.D.; page 26 and page 27)
True Authority And Abusive Authority
=> In a biblical context, governing authority take place where leaders get favored by God and by men (see 1 Samuel 2:26; Luke 2:52).
1 Samuel 2:26:
26 And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people.
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
By the assigned power of God people occupy the Promised Land and it's authority. As an example we could take the rulership of a king, so the right hand of the king would symbolize the side of power that instructs and the left hand would represent the side of authority. This means authority is located within the Kingdom and power is exercised with the intention to expand the Kingdom.
Therefore it is important, that responsible leaders within the Body of Christ as well as in the secular area are not reigning by power in terms of control but through the authority that they have. However, when they only rule by power, they are dictators.
Governance in authority will take place when persons find favor in the eyes of God and men.
Dictators govern by positional authority over people who have been forced to being subordinated.
True spiritual leaders with a humble heart, are focused on doing God's will and not the will of men. It is God who puts favor into people's hearts for their executives, so that they can work effectively in their given authority. This favor supports them to take influence in the hearts of men.
Therefore it is important that leaders do not demand their authority by humans. If this kind of demand occurs, it would only lead to and be developed from this area of 'power' that ultimately leads to an oppressive dictatorship.
God does not want His people to be governed dictatorially, but fatherly-royal (see 1 Corinthians 4:15).
1 Corinthians 4:15:
15 Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.
We have to know what authority is, how and when it works in order to walk in the authority of God within the assigned realm of responsibility. In the kingdom of God authority is the result of responsibility.
Generally speaking, in every area of the church we only have authority to the degree, to where we have responsibility. If we are not responsible for an area or defined scope of duties, we do not have authority in it.
And in order to have much authority, a person must stay submitted to saints of more authority than herself/himself.
We can see this also in the examples of the leading of the people of Israel by Moses and Aaron, in the following of Elisha after the prophet Elijah and the discipleship of Jesus. <= (note: based on a message from John Paul Jackson†, that he once taught at a conference)
It is very important that persons who are submitted to the authority of a mature, competent leader, deal with him/her respectably in public.
A respectable attitude implies that even if the submitted person knows the leader personally or is related to him/her, it should not come to any extent of any perverted extreme of friendship and close relationship. For example, if leaders get called by their nickname in public or things of privacy are improperly mentioned in public.
This manner usually has its origin in the desire or addiction for approval and can be described with 'clumsy or too great familiarity'.
This kind of 'familiarity' is the breeding ground for disrespect and generates contempt and rebellion.
'Clumsy familiarity' is the exaggeration of friendship and relationship, with the effects of promoting dishonesty, breach of trust and finally reducing authority.
Too much familiarity usually ends in slander, gossip, insult, neglect, criticism or condemnation.
This method is the attacking tactic of the adversary (note: Satan) in order to undermine the God ordained leaders in their authority. This means confusion and division can increase (see John 10:10a i.c.w. 1 Peter 5:8).
10a The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; …
1 Peter 5:8:
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Wherever 'clumsy familiarity' occurs, it is necessary to confront and to stop it.
Authority And Recognition
=> Authority is not primarily defined as a virtue, but primarily as a quality of relationship; authority requires the recognition of others, authority proportion is bilateral. Though there are diverse forms of relationship, in particular, the levels of voluntary recognition in terms of authority may be expressed in many forms, in particular:
- voluntary admiration, recognition and respect for the professional, intellectual or moral superiority of others, up to the negatively connoted authority
- accepted authority in social roles and posts (e.g. parents, teachers, supervisors, police officers, judges, coaches, scientists)
- pretending acceptance of authority outwardly in order to avoid disadvantages, at the same time having articulated rejection privately or within a small group of people
- forced recognition of authority due to physical subjection or physical compulsion as in situations of imprisonment or massive fear of repressive measure insurgency and rebellion, for example against the state authority ... <= (partial excerpt to the term 'authority' from: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autorit%C3%A4t)
The Relationship With God The Father
In order to be able to properly comprehend and discern authority as a believer, as a son of God in Christ it is necessary to have a close relationship with God as the Father. From this relationship with God the Father follows or rather results appropriate judgment, decisions and full understanding of authority and the related responsibility.
So only this close, personal relationship with God the Father can build trust (heart attitude, behavior as well as the expression in communication) which finally excludes mistrust or suspicion.
If a close relationship with God as the Father is missing any understanding of authority will be dulled and/or adulterated as a consequence. Trust is the essential basis for authority because it works from relationship by alliance, contract or agreement (=> acceptance).
Suspicion and resistance within this relationship inevitably lead to disturbances that can be offensive or subtle and have a negative impact on all parties involved.
Trust And Loyalty
In this context, the word of God clearly shows what trust (note: in the German language is the word derived from the the origin word 'trouwen', 'trauan' => 'faithfulness') implies, namely faithful, being faithful. Trust therefore means also being faithful.
And if the person receiving trust is faithful or faithfully exercising authority (through submission) this will positively affect the trust, affirming to the trusting persons involved.
To develop trust and fidelity so that God's character is reflected and also to reflect Him in the visible realm, it is indispensable to being completely submitted to God as the Father with sincere devotion.
[The word 'trust' belongs to the word group 'faithful' = 'strong', 'solid', 'thick' ... partial excerpt to the word 'faithfulness' from: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treue]
Amen and Amen.
In His Wisdom,