There is only one source for true authority. True authority is linked to the omnipotence of God. Only an all-powerful God can truly dictate and be Sovereign over His creation. He has the power to command and the power to enforce, to reward and to punish. Jesus said not to fear him who can kill the body (and Satan does have some power and authority), but fear him who can kill the body and throw the real you into hell. Now that’s authority! Satan cannot do that. He himself will experience the lake of fire for his pride and insolence.
So true authority flows from God and God alone. All authority that flows from God must be obeyed and submitted to. That includes the family, the government, man’s laws, employers, the courts (justice system), the church, educators/administrators, etc. Of course we know that God’s righteousness does not always fully make it down to each of these authorities in the right way. The apostles said that it was better to obey God rather than man. So long as God’s principles are not violated, it is right and pleasing to submit to the governing authorities. This takes wisdom, understanding, maturity, and practical experience. We are beseeched in Proverbs that the Heart of the King is in the hand of the Lord…as a river course He sways it whatsoever way he will…this should be our prayer concerning all authority and it may, at times, require a firm stance and fight for what is right…
There is authority that derives its power from position and authority that derives its
power from influence. Authority that rules from position can accomplish some good. But history has proven lots of abuse, control and misapplication often comes from positional leadership. In one sense we are all brothers and sisters, and even Jesus is one of our brothers. This is the opposite of positional leadership which lords it over others and mandates respect, honor and benefit for the leader. Authority that operates by influence is based on loving and sacrificial service. A brother’s life, faith, and example command respect, honor and allegiance. This is the kind of brother who is truly an elder and who needs our support, prayer and loving encouragement. Such a brother is worthy of double honor and can rule by the spirit rather than by force. His meekness only allows him to be headed up in Christ, the true Head of the Church.
Without authority (POWER), nothing can be accomplished for God. Jesus clearly states in Matthew 28 that all authority on heaven and earth has been given unto him. He then delegates all His authority to the likes of us. He trusts us to love each other, to be one and to live an undeniable testimony, to the glory of God. Paul shared that the kingdom of God was not a matter of talk, but of God’s power…in other words our talk is just the first step…we need the same authority as Jesus to show forth an indestructible life, a life that has the authority to overcome all things, by grace, because by faith the believer is trusting Christ to overcome through them…
There was once a woman who authored a book about coming to Christ after living as a witch. She observed how each believer carried around a certain weight of authority which she claimed she could see with her eyes on the inside of every believer. At first she was very afraid of these people and wondered how they obtained such power. However, over time she learned not to be afraid because it became evident that these believers were unaware of the power that was within them, and seemed unable to wield it.
We, as Christians want to be aware of that authority and wield it for good all of our