Jan 31, 2015

Are You Authorized?

My last post had to do with the subject of authority. The take home message was that each of us has been granted authority from God in a number of different areas. Metaphorically, these areas can be thought of as mountains. While it's helpful to know what specific subjects Jesus has given us authority over, it's also good to know the areas He has not given us authority over and what the consequences are when we get involved in things outside our scope of authority.

A few years ago I had a dream where Jesus came to the church to check the credentials of people who were teaching others about God. Those who were teaching without being authorized by Him were in a bit of trouble. The primary issue He was concerned with was authorization.  A secondary issue was the content that people were teaching. Many false ideas about God were being taught by people who weren't authorized by Him. Along with the Lord's authorization of someone to speak on a subject, came the content of their message. The fact that they needed to be authorized to speak on certain subjects came as a surprise to most people, even though Jesus warned us about this.

Social networking has become a global platform for anyone who wants to share their opinions about God. You don't have to look very far to see people publicly preaching their ideas about what or who God loves and hates. We're bombarded with theological opinions everywhere we go, and apparently, Jesus is listening to what we're saying.

Over the last few years, I've learned that Jesus is very interested in the things I say. What I'm authorized to speak on as a representative of my King is pretty limited. I'm authorized to speak on healing, deliverance, prophetic ministry, dreams, and a few other things, but the list is fairly small. I have opinions about things like tithing, the rapture, abortions, etc. I think I know what the bible says about them and I could offer my views if I wanted to, but God hasn't authorized me to speak on them. He hasn't given me specific revelation on them. Since I know that His authorization on a subject carries with it His revelation, the things He shares with me I'm willing to share with others, but the things He's silent on, I try to remain silent on. I don't want to to step outside the realm of authority He has authorized. One of the sticky points of  being granted authority is that in addition to giving us freedom to speak on certain issues, it restrains us from speaking on other issues. Jesus modeled this restraint by only saying what the Father authorized Him to say and doing what the Father authorized Him to do.

Due to our unique personalities, gifts, talents and life experiences, God authorizes each of us differently. Those who have been authorized to speak on a subject are given God's heart on that subject, the right life experiences and the right message. God also provides an audience with ears to hear the message. Having God's authorization to speak on a subject creates a favorable environment. Those who speak on subjects He has authorized tend to bear good fruit. Those who speak without His authorization bear the fruit of the flesh. Their messages tend to create discord, division, and enmity. Since God is not the author of confusion, if there is confusion surrounding a message there's a good chance that someone who is not authorized is doing the talking.

I'm often asked questions about things which God has given me no authority to speak on. An example is generation sins and curses. While I know people who have personal revelation from God on these subjects, I can't think of a single thing God has revealed to me about them. So when people ask me I simply tell them, "I have no revelation on that," and point them to people who have received revelation on it. There's no shame in admitting to your ignorance on a subject. If you give people counsel that isn't from God, you're probably going to lead them astray. I think it's wiser to say nothing on subjects we're not authorized to speak on.

My suggestion (if you're looking for one) is pretty simple: Check with Jesus and ask Him what you are and aren't authorized to speak on and make a list. Once you have clear direction from Him, ask Him to reveal His heart on those issues and confine your conversations to those which He has authorized you to speak on. Then watch how He moves through you.

Jan 24, 2015

Authority - How Does it Work?

There seems to be growing interest in the subject of authority these days.  I read the other night where an exasperated woman said she was “claiming her authority” over a desperate situation, as if this might help resolve her problem. I think statements like this reveal part of the problem with our understanding of authority. Most of us know we've been given authority from God, but we don't know how it works.

One thing to consider is the relational aspect of authority. It is often (though not always) the case that authority is permission granted to one person to represent the interests of another person who prefers not to manage their affairs personally. Authority is granted by one person and exercised by another. This arrangement makes authority dependent upon a relationship of trust.

The authority that a person receives usually gives them freedom to make decisions without requiring special permission before exercising their authority.  Authority is permission to act without permission. The exercise of authority is generally at the complete discretion of the one to whom it was granted, even if the exercise of authority is not wise, or beneficial to the one they represent. The one who has been granted authority has the right to make both good and bad decisions. Generally, the wise exercise of authority provides opportunities for promotion to a higher level of authority, while poor exercise of authority leads to a reduction or complete removal of it.

The concept of authority is illustrated in the kingdom parables where Jesus spoke about servants who were given charge of their master's affairs while their masters were away.  (See the parable of the faithful and wicked servants in Matt 24 and the parable of the talents in Matt 25.)

Now I'd like to illustrate how authority works in everyday life:

A shift supervisor who works at a factory has authority over the operations on his shift, which might include personnel management, scheduling, ordering supplies and resolving employee disputes. But his authority is restricted to the hours that he is at work and to the specific factory he works at. He doesn’t have the same authority during another supervisor’s shift or at a different factory. His scope of authority is limited and it is also relational. It was granted to him and can be revoked by the manager of the factory if trust is eroded.

The manager of the factory has similar authority. It is likewise limited to the factory he works at, and it is relational. The CEO of the company is the one who grants his authority and it can be removed at the CEO's discretion. The CEO has similar authority. It may have been granted by the company’s board of directors, who were appointed by the shareholders. His authority gives him the right to make major decisions involving the company’s interests and it can be revoked at their discretion. Everyone in the chain has authority that is given to them by someone else. Any of them can be promoted if they exercise their authority well, or have their authority removed if they exercise it poorly.

Christians have been given a multitude of different types and levels of authority. As God’s personal representatives on earth, our authority encompasses many areas, but unlike in the world where people are given authority over other people, we are not given such authority. Some people will disagree, but the New Testament believer is subject only to the authority of Christ. We do not have other humans in authority over us. While we may have teachers and people who encourage and train us, these individuals do not exercise authority over other believers. Authority that is exercised over individuals is the model that has been used throughout history by governments and military institutions. It was specifically this model of authority that Jesus said would not be allowed among His disciples.

Instead Jesus gave us authority over such things as sickness, disease, and storms, and each of us is given authority to speak on certain subjects. (That will be discussed in my next message.)

Some of us are given authority to influence the communities of music and art. Others are given authority to influence the fields of physics and chemistry, while still others have authority to represent God’s interests in the field of medicine. These are just a few examples of the areas of society God grants us authority to operate in. As we identify the areas of authority that God has granted to us and as we represent His interests in accordance with His desires, our level of authority increases.

The relationship we have with God is the key to it all. We must begin by asking Him what areas we've been given authority in. That requires us to develop the ability to communicate with Him. Next, we must learn how He wants us to exercise our authority in those areas. Again - this requires a deeper relationship. As our relationship grows, we'll be given more details about how He wants us to exercise the authority He gives us with wisdom and righteousness.

Jan 20, 2015

Let the Living Water Flow

"...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."
Jn 7:38
When He found someone who was sick or spiritually oppressed, Jesus released the kingdom of God upon them. They were healed, set free of demonic oppression or they were given a new perspective of their value in God's eyes. Notice how Jesus met people's needs: He released the kingdom of God upon them.


The way a dam releases water when it opens.

There is a river flowing out of the throne of God that carries His presence wherever it goes. This river of life flows into you and I, bringing God's presence, His glory and His kingdom to us. We are the dwelling place of God's presence in the earth. His purpose for giving us the Holy Spirit is to turn us into people who carry and release His presence.

Just as Jesus manifested the character, the power and the glory of God to reveal and accomplish the Father's will here on earth, we're commissioned to do the same today. He is our example. We are gateways to the kingdom of God. When we open our gates His presence flows out of us, bringing joy, peace, healing, deliverance, revelation, and other things that people need.

It's a good idea from time to time to examine how well God's presence is flowing in and out of us. The flow can be gauged by the fruit of the spirit that we produce. It can be restricted by things like bitterness, anger, fear, unbelief, and unforgiveness that act like rocks and sticks which clog up the flow. These attitudes also taint the flow with flavors that don't represent God's character. When they're removed, we receive a greater inflow of His presence and it's easier for it to flow out of us, untainted.

The life of the believer is one of being filled with God's presence and releasing it to others.