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Authority and Power...


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#1 Jay Turner

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 08:33 PM

At its very essence, sin is valuing our judgment above God’s. It is the desire to have power and the ability to wield it, without having to submit to the authority by which that power is given. Salvation and sanctification, on the other hand, is the process by which we seek the proper balance between authority and power in our lives. First and foremost, we see this in our relationship with God, but the same basic principles are applicable in every other relationship we may find ourselves in. If, as believers, we seek to restore this relationship between authority and power, a good starting point would be to better understand what these are. So in general terms:
  • What is Authority?
  • What is Power?
  • What is the proper relationship between the two?


#2 Lori Smith

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:55 AM

In my life it is about complete submission to God and His power. I then give up my own right to judge or act. However, God may choose to act through me, but He never puts me in a place where I feel superior to another. If I am to relay something from God to another, it must be with a servant's heart and with fear and trembling. I don't tremble because I am mostly afraid of God's chastening (although I do fear that), but because I fear losing His fellowship. Thus I love my friends and enemies alike because God loves them. I also deal gently with all (when I'm in the spirit), because God is over all and not me.

I must add: this is my goal, but I'm imperfect so I don't always live this way. When I fail, I repent and seek God's grace and face.
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In The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer writes, "Jesus taught that He wrought His works by always keeping His inward eyes upon His Father. His power lay in His continuous look at God (John 5:19-21)."

#3 Jay Turner

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 12:08 PM

You bring up some good points Lori. I would like to rephrase them into more general terms and add a couple of my own. Many of the principles that we see in our relationship with God can be directly translated into our other relationships and in the process may bring some things to light.

Authority - having the right to do, to govern, to make decisions and to judge.
Power - having the ability to accomplish a goal or a task.
  • Godly power is an extension of the authority by which that power was given.
  • Along with power comes a limited amount of authority.
  • Ones authority and power will never supersede that of the authority by which it was given unless authority is given from a higher source.
  • Just because someone is set into a place of authority over another, that doesn’t mean that they are better than them. It simply means that they are responsible for them. The real responsibility lies in the hands of the one in which the authority and power has been bestowed.
  • One in authority is responsible to fight for, protect and provide for the needs of those in which they are over, within the bounds of their authority.

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#4 Jay Turner

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 04:15 PM

In my last post, I shared basic definitions for authority and power, and started laying out some core principles that make up the relationship between the two. This isn’t an all encompassing list, but it should be enough to get us thinking in the right direction. When reading through them, they seem very cold and lifeless. It is basic data about the topic. It is the law that governs over how this relationship is supposed to look and function, yet it is devoid of the context that gives that data life. This is the essence of what authority is.

One of the problems that we see in the idea of law is that it doesn’t always fit the situation. The problem with the law, is that laws are created with specific problems or circumstances in mind. Yet when it comes to the application of those laws, the circumstances quite often do not fit within the letter of the law. Because of this, more and more laws have to be created to fill the loopholes, and before you know it, you have a mess like you see with the legal system here in the states. The answer to this dilemma doesn’t lay in the creation of more, and stricter laws, but in the flexibility to interpret laws and standards to fit the situation.

When someone is placed into a position of power, it is to perform a specific task, with a specific set of parameters by which that task should be be accomplished. The person giving the task doesn’t know all the details or circumstances that that task will ensue. They just see how the task needs to be accomplished and the perceived outcome. When giving the task, they have the responsibility to put the tools and resources into the workers hands, so the work can be accomplished, and to address problems that may arise, so the work can continue moving forward. The closer to the workings of the project they are, the more details they will see and the better they will be able to address the needs and issues that may arise.

One indispensable part of being placed into a position of power is having the freedom to look at the parameters attached to the task and being able to interpret those parameters to best fit the circumstances that surround it. There should be a level of mutual trust where micromanagement has no place, nor the need for it.

When these things are in place, it should allow for things like creativity, innovation, diversification and the pursuit of dreams and callings at each of the various levels of authority and power. On the other hand, when they are out of balance, there will be disquiet and imbalance and eventual burnout.
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#5 Travis Richey

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 05:41 PM

Starting in Genesis 17, and all the way through Revelation 20, God calls us to a relationship with Him that is spelled out very clearly. God says that He will be our God. And He states that we will be His people. In that relationship lays the structure of power and authority...it belongs to God as our God, and it cannot belong to us, because we are His people and He is our God. He Is that He Is. God Is Power, and God Is Authority. I believe that it is in and through prayer that this relationship is clarified for us, as we humble ourselves (becoming His people, and not our own) and giving thanks to, and praise to Him for all He is and does (He is our God). In learning our relationship with God, we also learn our relationship with everyone else all around us. And we allow power and authority to be established as it ought to be.

"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:16-19

Power flows from God to us as He sees fit, to accomplish His desires and achieve His purposes.
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#6 Charles Miles

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

Authority and power are interesting subjects and are linked to a degree by how they are used. Somebody wrote(and I`m not sure who) that authority carries the implication of the power behind it. If you are driving down the street and a policeman holds up his hand for you to stop your car, you will stop. Not because the policeman has the power to stop you and a 5000lb machine, but you recognise that he carries the authority of the government, who actually DOES have the power to bring to the scene more than enough power to stop you and your car. If, on the other hand, at that intersection there was an M1A1 Abrams tank with a large bore gun pointed at your car, you can readily see the power that can and will be used to enforce the command to stop.
So as I see it, true authority is realization of implied power. We as Christians have been given authority by Jesus to use His name. Any demon ever created knows the power of that name. Back to the policeman...what if you are driving along and the officer holds up his hand for you to stop, and you know for a fact that he actually does not represent any governmental power at all...or any other power at all. You are in a hurry and need to get somewhere right away. Would you feel the need to stop? A bad place to be is to think you have authority..and you don`t! Just how bad was the situation when the people following Paul started casting out demons, and the demons came out alright, but then said..."we know Jesus, and we know Paul, but just who are you?" Not a good position in which to find oneself.
Before I confronted a demon(and I never have), or made a suggestion at a church committee meeting, I would want to know exactly who I am(a child of the living God), who gave me any authority that I have, and be confident of the power that backs me up. I, as a Christian, have very little, if any, power at all...but my Father in heaven does and He has given me authority to call upon that power.

Praise God for His Omnipitance and His promises

Charlie
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#7 chipped china

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:28 PM

I think it's interesting when two believers meet each other they almost instantly know who is in submission. I mean this with no bad connotations. They can also be closely yoked in authority and submission. All this is because the Lord is the ultimate giver of Authority and Power. Each has it's cross to bear. The elder has more responsibility before God and must be without pride and long suffering. It's joyful to bring Truth to someone else. The submissive must humble themselves and listen, there can be pure joy when the Light is shown to you. What ever the case we still have things to teach each other that come from our Lord and Savior Most High!

Jay said:
When someone is placed into a position of power, it is to perform a specific task, with a specific set of parameters by which that task should be be accomplished. The person giving the task doesn’t know all the details or circumstances that that task will ensue. They just see how the task needs to be accomplished and the perceived outcome. When giving the task, they have the responsibility to put the tools and resources into the workers hands, so the work can be accomplished, and to address problems that may arise, so the work can continue moving forward. The closer to the workings of the project they are, the more details they will see and the better they will be able to address the needs and issues that may arise.

I like what Jay says here because it's such a good example of a perfect boss, and I think God will give us the tools for the task if only we'll let Him work in all the details.
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#8 childofrevival

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 01:35 PM

Jesus was known as a man 'having authority'. This was not a designated authority granted him by the Pharisees or scribes, but a divine authority given from above. Today we have many who would exercise authority over the children of God, but such authority is too often only designated - by a denominational college or church leadership - and only extends to the limit of that denomination/church. I long to operate with a divine authority as Jesus did. His whole earthly ministry was lived in obedience to the Holy Spirit with whom He had been baptised at the Jordon. It was the divine unction of the Holy Spirit that was His authority, exercised in power over nature, sickness and demons. Jesus promised greater power to His disciples "when the Holy Spirit is come upon you".
When one is operating in the ministry that Lord has called him/her to, using the (charismata) gifts the Holy Spirit has given for that ministry, then the Spirit is pleased to put His unction upon that ministry, evidenced in a divine authority recognised by others, even when no designated authority may be present. I have had the joy of knowing several men and women who have operated with a divine authority and power, often outside any designating by others. Consider, for one, Jacky Pullinger whom I was privileged to know in Hong Kong in 1969/70. There were hundreds of missionaries there with designated authority but few with such divine authority that Jacky's ministry displayed. O for more men and women in our pulpits and churches who display divine authority and power!!
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#9 chipped china

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 11:16 PM

When you meet someone like that it changes your life. I want more too, actually I'm content if I can just see the Spirit.

#10 Jay Turner

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 10:24 PM

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. Genesis 1.1-3

When I read this passage, the picture that pops into my head is that of an empty womb. I see eggs just sitting there waiting to be fertilized. Waiting for the instruction in the sperm to give them the authority to start growing. For what is life? It is the offspring produced when authority and power come together, planted into fertile soil and given the chance to grow.

Think of a spoken word. A spoken word is a thought being shared. The thought behind the word is that thoughts authority. In order for that thought to be verbalized, there has to be breath; the power giving it life and allowing it to move forward where it can be heard. Now if that word is lacking authority, it is but a breath, and if it is lacking power, it cannot go beyond the stage of simply being a thought. So if that word is lacking either authority or power, it is functionally impotent.

When God said, “Let there be light.” He set forth the instruction and the authority for that light to exist. When that word was heard by the Holy Spirit, it was infused with the power for the light to become a seed. Then that seed could be planted into the womb, filling the void and giving the new creation of light the chance to grow and to take on form.

#11 Charles Miles

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:04 AM

I have often wondered why more people(people of God) don`t have, or seem to have, "gifts" of the Holy Spirit than manifest themselves as a function of their lives. As Christians, we are told that we have the authority to use the name of Jesus to overcome and to do the things Holy Spirit directs us to do. We therefore have authority, but maybe most of us don`t hve the maturity(read that "close enough relationship with the Father) to be given the responsibility of having actual use of the power that is autherized. Can we evn imigine the chaos that could be produced by well meaning christians using Holy Spirit power without getting "self" out of the way?

Maybe our prayers should be that we remove self and replace it with Christ living in us, as we should pray, and then allow these "gifts" to flow through us as they will. As I see it(I could be off a bit here, but I don`t think so), when we die to self and the lif in us is then Christ living in us and in our place, all the authority and all the power that is His, then comes into effect to use as He will. Jesus said that all authority is given Him by the Father, as is all power......when we allow Him to live in the place our "old man" once lived, .........things will change and change for the better. Paul said we are heirs with Christ in all things...brothers and sisters, that covers everything that was, is, and will ever be.

As near as I can see it, God never did anything but SPEAK. He also never asked us to do but one thing...BELIEVE WHAT HE SAID.

In Christ`s love,

Charlie