Authority in Christ
Here in China, we use these wonderful electric paddles to zap mosquitoes. Whenever we see a mosquito we grab the paddle and electrocute it. It gives a wonderful sense of power!
What if we just stood there, though, and didn’t use it?
Like mosquitoes, Satan’s fiery darts fly towards us. The shield of faith will extinguish them (Ephesians 6:16). But many believers never raise their shield. The darts fly and they get hit, thinking that God must not want to help them or it’s just the way things go.
The truth is that God has given us authority, and He expects us to use it. “Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall in any wise hurt you” (Luke 10:19; ASV).
Born-again believers have even been seated together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6). The enemy knows very well of the authority of Christ and can do nothing but submit to it. We, on the other hand, tend to forget or lose sight of our position and rights. And many Christians don’t even know they have any rights, so they just let the darkness beat up on them. Or, they pray and ask God to help them, and when those prayers don’t seem to be answered they say it “must be God’s will.”
I’m in charge!
-Not in place of Jesus, but He has conferred His authority to us. We are seated and positioned with Him above. Therefore, the Word says, “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Take charge! You may not feel like you are any match for the devil, but Jesus is! Start believing the Scriptures that speak to your situation and use them with His authority. Speak to your situation using those Scriptures! (see Mark 11:23).
Authority is in the Word, and Jesus overcame temptations by responding with, “It is written…” (Matt.4:1-11). However, this is not about simply saying the right words. They have to proceed from a life of faith. Remember the horrible incident with the seven sons of Sceva? When they tried to cast out an evil spirit, they heard, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). Their religious words meant nothing to the demon, who violently overcame them.
Authority is not something that is available for the occasion alone; the believer must develop a lifestyle in it. The only way to be strong in the authority of Jesus Christ is to live faithfully and carry it well. Imagine a teacher who has let his class get away with everything for so long, and then one day tries to put his foot down. Are the students going to so easily submit? But the teacher who from the beginning enforces the law will be able to deal with trouble.
Jesus has given authority to His church. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?” (1Cor.6:2). The storms of the devil and man cannot knock faithful Christians off of the Rock. Jesus Christ will return on a white horse and rule the nations with an iron scepter. We are His ambassadors, and he “treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God” (Rev.19:15). Most Christians believe this, but they still cling to an “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” mindset. They expect to live in powerlessness and cite Romans 7 as justification for it. Instead, they will have victory when they start seeing themselves in Christ, seated with Him in heavenly places.
What do you embrace?
There is a strong tendency in Church circles to dwell on suffering. They have come to the conclusion that suffering must be embraced. I don’t believe that. Suffering should be expected, but not embraced. It is victory that should be embraced.
Jesus said it: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). These words speak of dwelling on the victory. Paul, as persecuted as he was, walked in this victory and wrote, “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Rom.8:37).
David was in the midst of a desperate situation. When he fled from Saul he recorded, “My soul is among lions; I lie among them that are set on fire, Even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword” (Ps.57:4). He didn’t deny his troubles, but he didn’t embrace them either. Instead of panic, he responded with praise:
“Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; Let thy glory be above all the earth” (vs.5).
While his heart could have given into the madness around him, he would not give in: “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing yea I will sing praises” (vs.7). David was not embracing the trial and praising God for it. He was trusting God for his deliverance.
We don’t have to cave in. This doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen, but it does mean that we treat the bad as bad. God can and does use all things for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28) but His best is to deliver them: what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me (2Tim.3:11).
My heart is fixed
This requires a state of seriousness. The Word has to be activated, not just read. That means it has to become a part of you. It must be received by the Spirit of God. It takes spending time with Him and a growing knowledge of His Word.
Then we have to believe it. We have to persuade our stubborn selves that God loves us and is for us. We have to believe the promises. But if we read the promises and think they are for others only, we will miss the revelation.
Paul wrote, What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? (Rom.8:31-33).
There are charges flying at us all the time. If not from man, they are from our unseen accusers in the spiritual realm. The natural reaction is to take these charges (of guilt, fear, inadequacy, etc.) and try to deal with them on our own. This is the work of unbelief. Faith defers these charges to the Father and trusts in His provision and His Word.
Don’t let the mosquitoes bite. Take action against them. Raise up the shield of faith. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith…(1Peter 5:8-9).
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