All authority in heaven and earth is given to me… go…
Pretty strong words, and of course they do not carry the meaning of authority ‘over’ people in terms of making them comply. However, they do carry with them the sense of authority over spiritual powers (whether we demythologise them or not a la Wink).
Authority is distributed not localised in one person or place and diverse authorities are inter-dependent, however my focus for this blog here is with regard to the exercise of spiritual authority for change. Good news – his authority is absolute (‘all’) and under his instruction it is exercised by his followers. This raises a question (possible ‘bad news’) as to what have we done / are we going to do with what has been given?
If authority is simply speaking with a loud voice surely there has been enough of that to change the Universe a few times over. Scriptures such as: ‘If you say to this mountain…’ and ‘if two of you are agreed…’ have been quoted enough times and then implemented with some bold (
stupid) declarations to change everything around us. I have certainly made a few in my time and hope I will continue to make a few more!! However, the resultant change has not been as great as we would have wanted.
Jesus had and has authority. His words carry authority because he carries authority. So maybe there is a gap between who we are and what we say? I remember being hit by the words (from the evil spirit) in Acts 19:15:
Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?
Three distinct levels. And it is vital that we move from the last to the middle category. My guess is that takes place when the reality gap is closed. So far pretty clear? To take it though one step further and come back to the issue of ‘what have we done / going to do’ with the authority that he has restored. What if…
What if the body of Christ has an authority, even if it is impaired because of the integrity gap, and that authority is more intrinsically related to life (who we are) than speech (what we say/ declare/ pray). What then if we devalue / dehumanise the lives of others… and at the same time take a strong stance against abortion on demand? Are the two related? I certainly think so.
Maybe the positive use of authority does not begin with what we ‘bind’ (restrict) but what we ‘loose’. If I do not loose joy, life, generosity can I really bind death, robbery and violence? Can I really bind witchcraft and occult power while being power-focused and controlling? If I do not see my neighbour (local and global, national and trans-national) as my friend, but can categorise them as a ‘them’ and not an ‘us’ what shift will I make to the issue of the life of the unborn?
I am sure we have released what we should not have released while at the same time we have thought we were binding what needed binding.
The opportunity to bring about change through prayer, apostolic declarations and prophetic intercession is immense. Yet the very real possibility of continuing to release compounded problems through not considering what the effects of what we are sowing while ‘exercising our authority’ remains.
My thoughts are I need to be slower to ‘exercise my authority’ and quicker to have his pure authority, that came his way through the cross, exorcise my life.