What was the potency that drove the ministry of Christ, and caused even the darkness to obey? Authority. By His authority, Christ drove out demons, healed the sick, raised the dead, and destroyed the work of the devil. As He summed up His ministry here on earth, Christ passed this authority onto us through His resurrection power. This is now the same authority that drives the weapons of our warfare, the boldness of our witness, and the proclamation of the kingdom of God.
“And He called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.”– Luke 9:1-2
What is Authority?
When I was 14 I wanted to drive a car by myself. I had the ability to drive; I was tall enough to reach the pedals, strong enough to turn the wheel, and cognizant enough to understand the road laws. Yet, because I had no license to drive, I did not have the legal authority to get in the car and drive it. My ability could only take me so far before my lack of realized authority limited me. Likewise, spiritual power and authority have been designed to work together, while each having a unique function.
The meaning of the Greek word power is a force or ability that enables us to overcome the tactics of the devil. The word authority, is the Greek word, “Exousia”, which is a delegated influence, or jurisdiction; The right to administer justice. Simply put, power gives us the ability to overcome oppression, while authority gives us jurisdiction to subdue the oppressor.
The source of our authority is in the resurrection power of Christ and can only be asserted through His Lordship in our lives (Hebrews 2:14). In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul explains how all authority was brought about through Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand. Chapter 2 adds that we too have been raised up and seated right there with Him. Proper power and authority cannot be exercised outside the salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Trump Card
“Behold I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you.”– Luke 10:19
It is of great importance to realize that your authority annihilates the power of the devil in your life. This verse in Luke 10 reveals that while the devil has dunamis power (force and ability), he has no authority (jurisdiction) over anything. He can try and attack you, but he cannot destroy or overcome you. Your power alone vs. the devil’s power will often times cause never-ending cycles of struggle; leaving you feeling hopeless. But, exercising both power and authority conquers the devil’s power, releasing victory to you, so that you can occupy the position of freedom. Here’s a practical example of applying power and authority:
Joe Christian struggles with an addiction; drugs, alcohol, pornography, food or the like. When desire threatens to carry him away, power gives him the ability to call on the name of Jesus. He invites the Spirit into his situation, thus empowering him to overcome the attack of temptation (2 Cor. 3:17); Joe's power gives him the ability to overcome the temptation in the moment. Additionally, he must exercise his authority over the devil to uproot the issue. Joe must enforce his authority; removing the stronghold of the enemy's power over him, so that he does not find himself in a constant power struggle with the devil.
Three ways to Exercise Authority
1. Flex Your “No” Muscle
Make a decision that you will not passively manage strongholds in your life. Be honest; face your struggle. Embrace humility; recognize your need for Christ. Be diligent; exercise your authority over the enemy by saying, “No! You cannot operate in my life this way any longer, get out!” Put your foot down and refuse to let the devil continue to assault your life (James 4:7).
2. Speak the Word!
Jesus responded to every one of the devil’s schemes with, “it is written” (Matthew 4). The word is a weapon of warfare; it is truth, life, and it is final. Use the scriptures to pray, praise God, and declare truth; Knowing the word of God is imperative in exercising your authority.
3. Fill the House
Abide in Christ (John 15:4). Since Christ is the source of our authority, it cannot exist apart from His Lordship. Anchor yourself in Christ through constant study of scripture, worship, and prayer. Pray daily, “Lord, sit upon the throne of my heart and be Master over my thoughts, and behaviors today”
When you exercise your power and authority over the enemy, it’s like bringing a nuclear bomb to a knife fight. Go kick some tail and take back your territory, friend!