Picture a police woman standing in an intersection; it’s her first day on the job. She’s nervous, the cars whizzing past. She sports the badge, the gun, and the training of a police officer but she doesn’t feel like it. As confused drivers block up the streets waiting for her direction, they start to honk and swear. In a panic, she calls her chief for help…he gives her three words.
“Raise your hand.”
Jesus said, Behold, I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. (Luke 10:19)
I am grateful for the way Jesus modeled his authority. He did not doubt that his Father in heaven had short-changed him in any way. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and even confronted the devil face to face in the desert with remarkable poise and confidence.
We could learn a lot today by not just asking “what-would-Jesus-do?” but also by carefully examining “HOW did he do it?”
The disciples in the book of Acts had his method down. They had seen Jesus in action. And the way they exercise their authority precisely resembles their teacher. Check out the day Peter and John meet a crippled man begging for money. Peter must have thought to himself, “this man’s real need is not money, it’s healing! Let’s try acting how we saw Jesus act.” And so he boldly proclaims, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you.In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” (Acts 3:6). Guess what, the man walked!
How different would our lives look if we picked up where Jesus’ disciples left off? Sometimes we, as believers, forget that we have this same authority to overcome evil. We resign ourselves to life’s challenges. Like the police officer, we keep our ‘hands down’ and our authority at bay. We put a call in to our Chief and trust he will bail us out. We do this for many reasons; usually not so much out of fear but more often out of ignorance.
Take for instance a friend who says he’s tired of being overweight. We quickly discern he needs not just to stop eating excess food, but also needs freedom from all sorts of lies he believes about his identity, value and worth. This kind of freedom demands an exercise of spiritual authority. But how do we do it? I suggest we start acting like Jesus did. We confront those lies in the name of Jesus, and we speak with authority against and over them.
I am not suggesting we oversimplify the complicated nature of healing, emotional pain, or any other issue of freedom. Neither am I suggesting a posture of one-time deliverance prayer. This needs to be applied with extreme wisdom.
But I do want us to think for a minute.
Do our ministry approaches resemble the latest fad or book, OR do they resemble the way Jesus acted?
What do you think: How would a biblical understanding of your authority in Christ impact the way you live?