I have heard many sermons about the authority that God has given to Christians. I’ve also read stories of men and woman who walked in that authority. At the same time I’ve struggled over the years. The Holy Spirit has faithfully guided me step by step in this journey. While I have not arrived, I am on the road towards my desired destination of a full revelation of the authority provided to those of us who call ourselves Christians.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
A major key that is missed by many Christians is that God has delegated certain things to us. One of these is authority. James tells us this begins with submission. Submission is not a popular topic for many people in our society. It is key though to our walking in Christian authority.
James provides an example of delegated authority in this verse. We can see that it is our responsibility to resist the devil. God will not resist the devil for us.
My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips.
As we spend time exploring this subject together, please let me encourage you to always go back to the Word. Look up the Scriptures that we review in your own Bible. God’s Word has been under attack for quite some time in our society. It is still absolute truth.
James provides us with three steps that will be important for our study of Christian authority:
- Submission to God
- Resisting the devil
- The devil flees
I want you to notice that each of these is an action that we take except the last which is the devil’s reaction to our doing the first two steps..
- I submit to God
- I resist the devil
- The devil flees from me
God’s Word is absolute truth. There are no errors in in it. When God speaks to us we know what He says is truth.If you submit to God and then resist the devil, the devil will flee from you!
The word translated from Greek as “resist” could also be translated “to actively fight against”. Resisting the devil will require some backbone. You have authority but that doesn’t mean you will not face resistance. God will not do this for you.
This is an area that many Christians struggle with. They pray for God to intervene and then become discouraged when they do not see any change in their situation. God is not going to intervene in a situation we are commanded to take care of!
Christians pray for God to intervene in affairs they are commanded to resist. They will also ask their minister or fellow church members to stand in prayer for them. It is possible for a mature believer to stand for a new Christian but God expects us to grow up!
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Notice that Jesus did not tell His disciple to pray for Him to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, or cast out devils. The word “you” is inferred in this verse.
- “You” heal the sick
- “You” cleanse the lepers
- “You” raise the dead
- “You” cast out devils
Christians pray for God to do what Jesus commanded them to do. If He commanded us to do what we are asking Him to do, why are we so surprised by the seeming lack of answers?
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
There is one thing I have to say as a disclaimer. Exercising our authority in Christ is not a mind over matter. It will require us to put our noses in the Word of God and spend time meditating in its truths to develop revelation knowledge of who we are in Christ. There are people who have tried things with some very bad results Acts 19 provides us one such example. These people saw someone else exercise their authority and decided to give it a try. Verse 15 provides us with the demons answer,
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
God told Joshua to “meditate day and night”. Notice that He did not say “day” or “night”. God told Joshua that the Word had to be kept before him continuously. I like to think of this as making the Word our life. Reading a chapter a day is good but it is not enough to walk in authority. There will be a price to pay if we are going to develop revelation knowledge of our position in Christ.
Are you willing to pay that price? I want to say that I am but reality is we all have a lot of distractions. Our first prayer then must be, “Lord help me to be willing to pay the price necessary to enter into the full revelation of who I am in you”.
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