Saturday, October 23, 2010

Under Authority & Having Authority

In Luke 6:12-16 two words are used to describe followers of Christ. It says, “He took those who were disciples, and He commissioned them as apostles.” A disciple is a dedicated follower and servant. i.e., Jesus is teaching, they are listening. Jesus is commanding, they are obeying. Jesus is leading, they are following. Here we see they are UNDER authority. Jesus had a lot of disciples and followers, thousands in fact, yet Jesus selects only a handful of these followers and appoints them INTO authority.

Here’s the lesson: You must be UNDER authority before you can be IN authority. A lot of people don’t get this fundamental lesson about God’s kingdom and church government. They want to boss other people around, but they don’t take orders well. They want the limelight, but don’t want to share it with others. God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, so humble yourself.

Some people bounce from church to church or from ministry to ministry because they don’t want to be under anyone's authority. They don't want to be accountable. They don't want anybody to know what they're doing, preferring to hide in the crowd. They won’t commit to the church or to discipleship. That’s immaturity. They are part of the come-and-see crowd. You should settle down somewhere, come under authority, grow spiritually, be trained in godliness by church leaders, and maybe one day God will promote you.

Then there are people who bounce from church to church because they want to be in authority, but they’re not qualified. They don’t want to prove themselves under godly leaders, so will often leave a church in unresolved conflict. They will then look for a small church that is struggling and offer to help. This way they can just step into a position of authority and visibility without having to prove themselves first. It would be better for you to quit striving for a promotion and let God promote you instead. Proverbs 18:16 says that “a mans gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” If you have put yourself in your current position under those circumstances, God is not within a million miles of it.

A lot of new churches get started this way too. A group of disgruntled people sometimes claim that God has called them to plant a new church, when in fact He (probably) has not. If the truth be known, some people start new churches because deep down they have a problem with authority and don’t want a boss. They want to boss others. They didn’t get their way in all of their previous churches so they started their own, and naively believe that they'll always get your way there. Nobody ever gets their way all the time, even if you’re the founder. It is doubtful that God's blessings will be upon such an endeavor.

God’s kingdom and church government is different than in the world. You must be under authority and must prove yourself first before you can be given authority. Godly leadership is only for those who are qualified. If you demonstrate faithfulness and strength of character, someday you might be in authority. Maybe not. God is the One who decides. If God does decide to promote you, then you can make some of the changes that you would like to see.

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