What is your spiritual hygiene like? What do you smell like in the Spirit? Is there whiff of fear or a whiff of faith about you? Is there a stink of gossip or a fragrance of prayer? It would probably be going too far to ask if you are wearing Holy Spirit aftershave or perfume, but I’m sure you get the point!
If the Centurion told a soldier to “Go” he would go. If he told him to “Come”, he would come. There would be no pause or questioning. The soldier would not think about it he would just do it. Failure to obey would result in swift and harsh punishment, witnessed by the whole unit.
But think about it. In front of the Centurion are a large number of strong men who could easily over-empower him. He’s got one wooden stick, and they’ve got hundreds of sharp, shiny metal swords. Why do they go where he tells them to. Why do the instantly and unquestioningly obey him in everything? It’s not because of his own power, it’s because he is a man under authority.
Authority in the world is fear based. Authority in God is love based. First John 4: 18 says, “The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” Christ himself was not operating on earth as an all-powerful God, but rather, He operated on the authority that comes from God. To walk in godly authority means to walk under godly authority. The two are inseparable. Authority is not a matter of doing, it’s a matter of being. It’s about identity. Jesus asks that we “all may be one, as you, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent me” (John 17: 21 NKJV). One definition of authority is “privilege and delegated influence.” The Bible says that all authority on heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, and that we have access to this power because He has transferred His ministry to us (see John 20: 21–23).
Over and over again throughout the prophets, the parables and the apostles’ preaching, we see that God’s heart is for us to know that we’re sons and daughters who have been given free access to the rich and full inheritance of Christ. My belief is that one of the primary battles Satan wages is his attempt to keep us from a full revelation of that. Called the Accuser, he works to keep us in poverty when it comes to knowing God’s love and walking in the authority God has given us. Satan wants us to keep our prayers in survival mode, focused on begging God for small withdrawals to cover our basic sustenance. He doesn’t want us to realize that we’ve been entrusted with the Kingdom itself.
You cannot say you are not ordained. You were ordained when you signed Articles of War, under the blessed Flag. If not, I ordain every man, woman and child here present that has received the new life. I ordain you now. I cannot get at you to lay my hands upon you. I ordain you with the breath of my mouth. I tell you what your true business in the world is, and in the name of the living God I authorise you to go and do it. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature!
How commands can function in relationships and communication. If I hear someone on the street shout, “Freeze! Put your hands behind your head!” I need to know two things. First, who is shouting? If it’s a police officer—someone whose authorized command I need to submit to—then yes. Second, is he addressing me? Likely the answer is no. It’s addressed to the guy who just robbed a street vendor and is running away. So the command has authority because of who gave it, but it is not addressed to me in that moment. It claims my respect—I should not break the law in that way either—but it does not claim my compliance.
The answer to abusive authority is not an absence of authority but rather righteous authority that rules under the authority of Scripture and Jesus. The right response to abusive authority can be calling the Church and even the police. Sadly it is all too common that people in the Church are guilty of the sin of Diotrephes, "who like to put himself first, and does not acknowledge our authority"