Jesus spoke with authority. “When Jesus had ended these sayings, ..the people were astonished at His teaching for He taught them as one having authority.” Matthew 7:28-29 One of the most misunderstood principles in the Kingdom of God is authority. Much of this misunderstanding comes from believing we’re all equal in authority. This isn’t true. One of the great secrets of success is knowing our position in the Kingdom of God. Romans 12:3 It’s presumptuous and dangerous for us to disregard God appointed leadership. If we’re not careful, we curse ourselves by becoming critical of those who are above us in authority. II Peter 2:10-12 Here are ways we can measure spiritual authority in our lives and the lives of our leaders..
What we call “the ministry” is our attempt to answer the call of God on our lives. Hebrews 5:4 But just because God called us doesn’t guarantee our success. We must be diligent to make our calling secure. II Peter 1:10 The only type of leaders needed in the Kingdom of God are servant-leaders. Other ministers will also recognize God’s call upon our lives. John 5:32-33
Each person is uniquely gifted. “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us.” Romans 12:4 Again Paul wrote, “There are diversities of gifts.” I Corinthians 12:2 God gifts each of us with the abilities needed to enable us to fulfill the call of God upon our lives.
The Kingdom of God is built upon relationships. These relationships become circles or spheres of influence. “We will, however, not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God has given us.” II Corinthians 10:13 When we use the gifts of God to do the work of God within the sphere where God appointed us, we have authority. Jesus lived by this principle. There’s only one incident recorded of Jesus going outside His sphere of ministry to Israel, and He went then for some much needed rest. While in Sidon, He was approached by a Gentile lady who asked Him to heal her daughter. Jesus replied, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24. He understood His sphere of ministry and was focused on fulfilling His Father‘s will.
Jesus responded to the people’s doubts of His claim to be their Messiah by saying, “Though you do not believe Me, believe.. the works.” John 10:38 Again Jesus told them, “The very works that I do bear witness of Me.” John 5:36 Our gift of faith produces works according to our level of authority. To do great works requires great faith. This is why the person who has accomplished something has more authority than the person who only talked about doing it. Our works testify of our level of authority.
Many ministers attempt to do the work of God with the wrong spirit. They are like Jesus’ disciples wanting to call fire down from heaven and destroy people they don‘t like. Jesus said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man didn‘t come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.” Luke 9:55-56 There are different kinds of anointing. The spirit in which we serve defines our type of anointing. The apostle Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered.” I Corinthians 3:6 It’s the spirit in which we serve that people will remember long after our works are finished.
There’s a spiritual principle that faithfulness increases fruitfulness. In the Kingdom of God we go from “strength to strength”, from “faith to faith”, and from “glory to glory.” God rewards good work with greater work. “Well done good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:21 Many times the reward for faithful service is the joy of receiving a greater circle of influence.
Our level of authority is determined by many things. It’s when we combine the call, the gift, the sphere, the work, the fruit, and the clock that we’re able to measure our spiritual authority. It’s the sum of these which equals our level of authority. It’s wise for us to know our level of authority and the authority of the leaders around us, so we don’t fall into the snare of speaking evil of those who are greater than ourselves.
As ministers, we should see ourselves as students always learning and stay in God’s school to keep learning.