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How to wield spiritual authority

I’ve watched so many Christians crash and burn over the years. They start off well, but then start believing lies somewhere along the way. We recently had two key leaders get taken out this way. It’s discouraging. And it makes me want to ensure that our people understand how to use the spirit…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I’ve watched so many Christians crash and burn over the years. They start off well, but then start believing lies somewhere along the way. We recently had two key leaders get taken out this way. It’s discouraging. And it makes me want to ensure that our people understand how to use the spiritual authority Jesus gave them.
 
Because we followers of Jesus are targeted by an enemy for destruction, we need to have some kind of weaponry to counterattack. David’s life is instructive. He starts out as a shepherd looking after the family business.
He has few responsibilities. All he has to do is keep himself and a
few sheep out of trouble. As a young man, he is learning to wield
authority in the first realm – the realm of the Self (for more on the four realms of spiritual authority – Self, Family, Tribe, Kingdom – see this blog post).

Saul
positions him to wield influence in the realm of Kingdom by fighting
Goliath, but Saul doesn’t give him authority there. In fact, David has
to go through a period (as described in 1 Samuel 16-31) where, because his
influence is greater than his authority, those in authority see him as
illegitimate. It’s a difficult phase where David is in perpetual danger.

Later,
David’s authority begins to grow when he has to fight for his
family at Ziklag, fight for his tribe in various battles, and later,
fight to unite the kingdom of Israel.
 
Ultimately, he succeeds, but
he continues to endure attacks at each level throughout his life.

Most
of us never do manage dominion at even the realm of Self or Family. We
feel insecure and struggle with identity. And as parents, we struggle to
protect our children from those issues, only to watch the pendulum
swing too far in the other direction because we’re overprotective.

Some
of us may launch out to try and save the world in one way or another,
only to find that we’ve come under attack at the level of the Family.
Yesterday, for example, I found out about a ministry guy who has
traveled so much that his life is out of balance. His lack of spiritual
authority in the realm of Family threatens his authority in the realm of
Kingdom. It makes me thankful for all the grace I received when I was younger and more ignorant concerning spiritual reality.
 
Who hasn’t been there? I suggest you get a mentor to help you see your blind spots and then in learning how to navigate in each realm. Yes, inevitably moving into a new realm will bring you pain. The fact is, the only thing more painful than moving to a new level is camping out in the one where you currently are.

Comments (6)

  • Thanks Seth.

    I know the story all too well in my life and the lives of many women and men who live life feeling they are the “tip of the sword” for a kingdom God has no heart for.

    Simple is best.

    You and Karen have helped teach me that.

  • Another one worth engraving into a monument:

    “The fact is, the only thing more painful than moving to a new level is camping out in the one where you currently are.”

  • Good, Seth. I see this as closing gaps on the enemy. I know this seems like a “duh”, but it’s good to remind ourselves that the evil one who is inflicting unthinkable tortures on the persecuted and preying on small girls for sex trafficking, etc., etc., is the one who is ever scheming and working to take us out and render us ineffective. No wonder we are to be “sober and alert.” You have exposed one of his favorite, effective schemes.

  • Staying humble and realizing we have victory only through walking in the Spirit seems key.

    When our eyes are fixed on Jesus we begin seeing God work through our lives in miraculous ways, similar to when Peter walked on water. But then what so often happens is we begin looking around, depending on ourselves. Then we sink. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

    This even happened to David more than once.

    But I also really enjoyed your thought though about how our influence can be greater than our authority and how frustrating of a situation that is. Another situation I’ve also seen is when an individual is given more authority than their influence warrants. Especially dangerous when that happens within church leadership.

  • Wow, as a youth guy, I see a very distinct connection that often in youth ministries where influence outstrips authority. That is a good reminder to me and I hope others who serve under a sr. pastor.

  • Hey Seth this is so true .These are very inspiring words ,i can identify with most of what is written.God is my number one mentor,but i do have a good earthly friend i talk to at times,who gives me support and inspiration.
    I will forever seeking wisdom and “Guidance” from “GOD”asking him to help me to seek his will to reach new levels towards my spiritual growth and development.
    Thank u for your article and words of encouragement and inspiration.Clyde!!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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