The secret to releasing life-giving authority is within the heart of the person in authority. When we seek to give life to others through our areas of responsibility we release freedom and blessing. When we seek to get our identity from what we do we can become confused and we can get caught in the trap of controlling others. Rather then seeking to make them more because of who we are, we limit others through controlling forces. The line between life-giving authority and destructive forces that come from a grasping for power is within the heart of the person in authority. When a leader’s heart is to bring life to others, the testimony of their leadership will be life to others. Like the fruit of a tree, the evidence of their authority will be life-energy to those they lead. When a leader seeks to lord over others, their grasping for power will injure those they seek to lead in the same way that thorns on a thorn bush injure those who come in contact with them. Lording over others only causes offense and abuse of the flesh.
Matthew 7:15-18 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”
If a leader has the mentality of a king he may see his followers as ‘subjects’, existing for his own purposes. Rather then seeking to expand the life of others, a lording leader will produce death in the lives of those they lead. A godly leader sees his role as existing for the good of those they lead. They will seek to lead in a way that causes those within their measure of responsibility to become all they are meant to be and to fulfill the purposes of God in their lives. Godly leaders view themselves as servants of others in fulfilling their God-given purpose of activating, facilitating, and releasing others to their full purpose and destiny.
Mark 9:35 And He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
True authority is always an attribute of giving life to others. Power alone feeds on the life of others for the sake of being powerful. Those who merely seek power will see those they lead as mere resources to fulfill their own agenda and purpose. Like savage wolves, they feed on the lives of others in order to maintain their position of power and control. The apostle Paul warned that savage wolves would come into the flock of God. These are individuals who seek to take life from others for their own agendas of power and control.
Acts 20:29, 30 “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.”
A mindset of lording over others will open the door to oppression and destructive controlling forces. God doe’s not intend for us to make a name for ourselves.
All authority is from God; therefore all authority serves the greater purpose of God. Having authority doesn’t authorize someone to build his own kingdom. It makes them responsible in God’s kingdom.
Genesis 11:4-8 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the LORD said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.
When we seek to build a name for ourselves we become self-seeking in our motivation. There is no place for self-seeking motivations in the life of a leader. Authority always serves authority and all authority comes from God. The purpose of all authority is to seek and serve the will of God in the realm of their responsibility. In order to exercise the wisdom of God-given authority a leader must be willing to yield in their own understanding in their pursuit of the will of God in their task of leading.
James 3:13-18 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing will be there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Control and manipulation are the result of someone exercising authority outside of that which God has given them. Control and manipulation will result from a violation and crossing over into someone else’s authority. We must stay within the boundaries of the authority God has given us. A leader must know when and where God has given them authority. Leaders must respect the other lines of authority. In respecting the lines of authority of others, leaders must see their responsibility of authority as one of serving and not lording over others.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson