We understand that police officers have authority that is backed up by the government which they serve. There is no question in your mind or the police officer's that when you hear the sirens and see the flashing lights, you had better pull over. This is assuming you are a law-abiding citizen.
We who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ should understand that in His Name we have an even mightier authority than that of the police officer. In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, ...all power [authority] is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Jesus has given this authority to us, His followers.
Luke 9:1, 2 says, Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
Mark 13:34 tells us, for the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. ... And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. Mark 16:15, 17, 18.
Clearly, Jesus has promised His authority to those who are His own. The problem is that we do not believe it, and therefore do not exercise it effectively.
Many Christians refuse to believe that Christ's authority belongs to the Church today -- although there is no Scripture that in any way hints that His authority would not be available to the Church through all ages. Many are content to get goose bumps by reading about the miracles that take place in third world countries when the authority of Jesus is put to use there. Some of us may go so far as to dare to command a sickness or a devil to be gone from someone we are praying for, but we are fairly complacent when nothing happens. It is what we were expecting anyway, isn't it? What we are forgetting is that the devil is not a law-abiding citizen. He is the lawless one.
What happens when the police officer attempts to use his authority, and finds himself resisted? Does he shrug his shoulders and say, "Well, I guess that didn't work!" No, he turns up the heat of his authority. He pursues and subdues the law-resister. Sometimes there is a stiff fight -- but the lawful authority wins in the end!
So it is with our authority as believers. We need to understand that the infinitely powerful government of heaven backs us up. Jesus Himself is the one who has given us authority in His Name. Sometimes -- in fact, most of the time -- there is going to be a stiff fight. Hell doesn't want to let go of its victims all that easily. We need to pursue, press in, and insist on being obeyed. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. -- Matthew 11:12. Sometimes the police officer needs to use force. Sometimes the believer does, too, in the process of obtaining the desired answer.
There are some qualifications which we must meet in order to have rightful authority in Christ. Let's continue to look at parallels between the police officer and the Christian.
1. The police officer must be under authority himself, obedient to his superiors. He goes where he has been assigned, not outside his jurisdiction. We believers must be doing what Jesus has said, according to the Bible and His personal word to us as well. We cannot be out doing our own thing for our own pleasure. A clean, submitted heart is imperative.
2. The police officer must continue to stay in contact with his superiors, and must get their direction as needed in difficult situations. We need to be in constant communication with our superior officer -- Jesus.
3. The police officer must know how to use his weapons, or his opponent will run roughshod over him, and maybe kill him. We must be skillful in the use of our weapons -- the Blood of Jesus, the Name of Jesus, our faith. Especially, we have to know the Word of God and use it properly. Appropriate the Word.
4. The police officer must understand the law and not step outside its boundaries. He can't arrest people if they haven't broken the law. We must understand what Jesus has given us and what He has not. If it's in the Book it's ours to use. If it's not clearly in the Book, we're on shaky ground. We need to research from Genesis to Revelation to make sure we're getting it right. Know the Word.
Remember whose authority it is in which we operate. We have no authority to come against the powers of darkness in our own strength. We come against them in the Name of Jesus. It is His authority, not ours.
Attempting to execute authority for anything other than His plans, His will, His desires is presumption. It will most certainly fail --and may put us in grave danger as well.
If something is important to you, you will go after it. The things God has promised us in His Word should be vitally important to us -- enough so that we are prepared to take hold and struggle for them at any cost until we obtain them.
Anything worth having is worth fighting for.
© 2005 by Lee Ann Rubsam. All rights reserved. Special thanks to Pastor Steve Driessen, The River Church, Appleton, Wisconsin, and Pastor Bill Myers, for teaching me these concepts.