Authority is always given in a measure. No one has complete authority, because authority is relational and is therefore connected to the authority of others. We must each know the measure of authority given to us by God. That measure of authority is the sphere of influence given to you by God, a sphere of influence for the sake of giving life to others. That sphere is often a growing and changing one, but it only grows as authority is given and received. It is never a sphere that expands through the taking of power. The apostle Paul wrote concerning the responsibilities of his own sphere and the authority there.
2 Corinthians. 10:13-18 We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us–a sphere which especially includes you. For we are not extending ourselves beyond our sphere (thus not reaching you), for it was to you that we came with the gospel of Christ; not boasting of things beyond measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but having hope, that as your faith is increased, we shall be greatly enlarged by you in our sphere, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, and not to boast in another man’s sphere of accomplishment. But “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.
We each have the ability to give life to those within the measure of authority given to us by God. If we cross a boundary line of our authority into the arena of another’s measure of rule, we will produce death. Being the pastor of a church doesn’t make you the pastor of everyone else’s church. If a pastor seeks to function as a pastor with pastoral thoughts, attitudes, perceptions, judgments, and actions outside of their measure of rule, the result will be dysfunction and death. Authority only lies within the boundaries of an individual’s specific responsibilities. If you are not responsible, you don’t have any authority. A pastor is responsible to care for the sheep given to him by God, but not for those of another fold.
I have a prophetic anointing upon my life. Within the measure of my God-given authority, there may be times when I give directional and even correcting words to those within my sphere of influence. If I attend a small group of another church in my community, my prophetic authority is not one of direction or correction. It may not even be one of giving prophetic words. It depends upon the liberty that is given to me by those who have the authority of the home group. My authority in the group is that of being a participant like anyone else, unless those in authority give the authority to me. Many people think that because they have an anointing they have an authority. Anointing without authority is simply power and it will often promote personal pride. It will definitely collide with true authority and will produce some form of trouble. As I have written earlier, David had the anointing of a king, but he had to first be faithful as a shepherd of a few sheep.
The leaders in a congregation have authority in the areas of their leadership responsibilities. They don’t have authority where another’s authority begins. They can be heads of ministry departments, but they are not heads of individual families. They are not fathers and mothers to the children of other families; they simply represent fathers and mothers in the corporate context of ministry. They are responsible to set an example for families in the community to follow, but they are not carry the authority to make decisions in individual homes. They are husbands to their own wife or wives to their own husband, but not to others in the congregation. They are parents to their own children, but mere examples of parents to the associate families in the church community.
Leaders have a God-given authority to speak into the lives of their congregation, but that does not mean they have authority to decide what people do in their businesses, their families, their homes, or in any area they are personally responsible. In the corporate setting the door to the sheep is the shepherd. The shepherd can be defined as the head or the accountable one. This is also true for the individual. Every individual person holds the door to their own hearts. Everyone has unique things that they are responsible for and no one else can rob them of that responsibility.
Jn. 10:1 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.”
If we fail to enter through the door we are a thief and what we do will not result in life.
Jn. 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”
We must not cross over into those areas that are the responsibility of another. There will be many times when people will put pressure upon a leader to cross a boundary line of authority. All decisions in life belong to those responsible for the decision. No person can make a decision for others this is beyond their measure of rule. We must avoid being forced into a role that is not legitimately ours.
We must not extend our influence beyond that which God has given us. If we do, spiritual forces can be activated that will influence true authority in a negative way. If we go beyond our sphere of influence we grasp for power and the result will be some form of dysfunction and death. Every one of us needs to know where our authority stops and another’s begins. Authority is a matter of relationship, not power.
Our authority lies in the areas of our responsibility. Whatever we are personally responsible for today is our authority today. We may be called to be something more, but calling is what we are not yet and authority is based upon who we are. Our authority is not in what we used to do or be nor is it in what we are yet to do or be. It is relevant to today.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson