I have begun a series of teachings on the topic of authority. It is possible to have power without having authority, but it is not possible to have authority without having power. It is possible to default in laying hold of the power needed to fulfill authority, but legitimate authority comes from a life source and therefore the power to fulfill that authority is always given when legitimate authority is received. For a glass to have the authority of being a source of water it must be under a higher authority of water, such as a pitcher of water, a fountain, or a faucet. Because it is under a life source of water it can receive water and thus have the authority to give water to others. Illegitimate authority is really a grasping for power, because it is the taking hold of responsibility without being sent to receive that responsibility. Authority equals responsibility, or being responsible for what has been given to you. To take responsibility for what hasn’t been given is illegitimate and is merely a grasping for power.
Legitimate authority brings life to those that are under it. The mark of authority is release to others. If I am operating in true authority as a husband to my wife, my wife will become fully alive in who she is. To the degree that she flourishes in who she is as a wife is a testimony of who I am as her husband. To the degree that the members of a congregation flourish in who they are meant to be is a testament to the authority of their God-given leadership. When leadership operates in legitimate authority the members of the congregation will grow in liberty, maturity, and intimacy with God. Since the authority of God has been given to us through Jesus Christ, the testimony of that authority should be His increasing life.
Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
The discipline of authority is one of grace and not law. That grace is the power of God to bring life to those who receive it. The submersion of authority is one of the character, nature, way, power and authority of Christ. It is not a subjection to a power of control. The teaching of that authority is one of activation, facilitation, and release. It produces a power of transformation in the lives of those who receive it. The testimony of that authority is that of the manifest presence of Christ.
As leaders we must stand in the authority given to us by God. To grasp for power is totally different than standing in the authority given to us by God. True authority is standing in the measure of rule given to us by God. If the son of the morning (Lucifer) had stood in the measure of rule given him by God, he would have remained a magnificent testimony of the light of God in heaven. He traded his authority for a lie by grasping for power (Isa. 14:12-19; Ezek. 28:12-19). He grasped for something that was not his to take hold of. The result was, he became a perversion of what he was created to be. The worst thing anyone can get is someone else’s measure of rule. The result is a perversion of who they are meant to be and the testimony is that of the power of death. It is important that we all stand within the measure of rule given to us by God. This is our God-given authority and only our God-given authority will bear the fruit of life.
Let’s say you find the keys to a new BMW car and you see that car parked along the road. You get into the car and find that the keys fit and the car starts to run. You now have the power to drive the car down the road, but the problem is you don’t have the title deed to the car. The keys to the car are the power to start the car, but the deed to the car is the authority to take the car. If you don’t pay the price for the deed you are a thief with the keys. The result will be the pain of arrest and prosecution on your part. If you purchase a car valued at $500 you will have the authority to drive a $500 car. To drive a car the costs $50,000 requires the full price of $50,000 to secure the deed to own the car and drive it legitimately.
Our salvation is free, but there is a price to pay in order to stand in the authority given us by God. There is a process to the journey of authority in life. When a man or a woman is single they have the authority of being single. They can grasp for the power to produce children, but the result will be a dysfunctional family that will struggle in its attempt to find the freedom of true life. Their grasping is most often an attempt to reap the benefits of a marriage covenant without paying the price of that covenant. They are grasping for power. It is an attribute of taking and not receiving what is legitimately given them by paying the price of authority. The authority to produce children is the covenant of marriage. It is like the deed to the car. They have the power of the keys, but they lack the authority of the deed. This is why societies are so filled with the testimonies of death. Illegitimate authority will always produce dysfunctions in life. The authority of a single person is to live within the boundaries of a single life. The authority of a married person is to live within the boundaries of a married life. A married person cannot grasp for the sphere of singleness nor can a single person grasp for the sphere of married life. If either does they will produce a dysfunction of death in some measure. They will be bound to a sphere of taking and will not live in the true liberty of authority and life. Societies suffer for lack of understanding authority. Grasping for power will always produce dysfunction and death. Standing in God-given authority with God-directed function will always produce life. Ministries suffer for lack of understanding authority as well. When someone grasps for power to produce the benefits of a covenant without paying the price of that covenant they will create a measure of death and dysfunction in some way.
All life comes out of authority. Proper authority will always produce life. Improper authority will always produce death. Anything that is not birthed from authority will end in death. Authority is sent from a life source and is much different than a grasping for power. Illegitimate children are birthed from power, not authority. The end result is dysfunctional families. The authority to produce children is called the covenant of marriage. The power to produce children alone will produce a measure of death. God can work it out and can intervene with a supernatural grace to work things out, but if we pay the price to receive legitimate authority we will always produce the legitimacy of life. Our rights in life do not come because of power. They come from authority. God wants to release the sweet cane authority from heaven that brings the sweetness of His life in all things. The issues of authority are true in every arena of life, in spite of the ignorance of mankind toward the issue of authority. As leaders in God’s kingdom, we must seek the life that comes from authority and we must not seek power. We must accept and receive God-given responsibility, which is the testimony of true authority. God will anoint us for the place He appoints us.
Food For Thought,
Ted J. Hanson