The Authority of the Believer
God has given the church authority and victory in both the natural and spiritual realms where He is head over all things. The devil has been attacking many of us for too long. Romans 16:20 says, “And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.”
Notice it says the God of peace. Sometimes the only way to make peace is by fighting. This is a prophetic word for many who are reading this. God is fighting on your behalf and is about to place Satan and all the demons coming against you under your feet!
“What is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23).
“And has raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, in order that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7).
“Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Below are a few areas where we must exercise authority:
- Life and prosperity (John 10:10, Deuteronomy 30:15 and 19, 3 John 2, Jeremiah 29:11). Jesus came that we might experience life and life more abundantly (John 10:10). This has to do with much more than just finances. It has to do with every area of our life – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically and materially.
- Health and wholeness (Isaiah 53:3-5, Psalms 103:1-5, Romans 8:11). “By His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). The context deals with more than physical healing but emotional and mental as well. Someone who is reading this is battling emotional scars that God is completely healing right now. Someone else has been told you have a mental illness and God is healing you as you read this. Receive it now by faith. The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is bringing life and healing to someone’s physical body this very moment (Romans 8:11).
- Finances (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, Malachi 3:8-10, Philippians 4:18-19, Deuteronomy 8:11-20). “It is He who gives you the power to make wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Listen for Him to speak to you. If something pops into your head, it may be God giving you just what you need in order to prosper financially. Seek counsel, pray and if everything seems to be a go, run with it.
He is able to make all financial grace abound toward you ( 2 Corinthians 9:8) and open the windows of heaven blessing you until there is no longer room to receive it (Malachi 3:10). He promises to supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:18-19). The context of each of these verses deals with giving. We cannot expect God to bless and meet our needs if we are not willing to be faithful in our giving.
- Salvation of family and loved ones (Acts 2:38-39, Acts 16:31, Isaiah 59:21). The devil has robbed us of our loved ones long enough. Let’s start standing on the Word of God for our loved ones to be brought to Jesus. He able to reach even those who seem farthest from Him. “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:39).
- Growth of the church body (Isaiah 43:5-7, Acts 2:39, Ephesians 4:16, Acts 2:47). Pastors, leaders and congregants, it is God’s desire and will that your church grow both spiritually and numerically. If you will be faithful, pray, witness, follow up on the wayward, work hard and believe God, He will make your church body to grow exponentially. He has “Ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit (multiply) and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16). Notice, you have to go in order to multiply. It will not happen with you sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing.
- Peace and joy (John 14:27, John 16:33, Ephesians 2:14, Isaiah 26:3, Philippians 4:6-7, John 16:23-4, Isaiah 35:10, Isaiah 52:9, Isaiah 60:5, 1 John 1:4). Read, study and memorize these scriptures. God wants to give you peace and joy even when these things aren’t a reality in your life. There will be times when you will have to “break forth into joy” (Isaiah 52:9) when there is nothing to be joyful about. It’s something you must choose to do. You must “choose life so you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
How to Implement our Authority as Believers
Now that we’ve discussed the authority given to us through Christ, I want to share how we can implement that authority. Read Ephesians 1:19-23, Ephesians 2:6, Joshua 1:3, Ephesians 4:27, Matthew 4:8-10, and Colossians 2:15. In the first half of Ephesians, Paul is trying to help us realize who we are in Christ, even before telling us what we are to do for him.
Hebrews 2:8 says, “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all things in subjection under him, He left nothings that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.” It’s clear in this verse that God has placed all things in subjection to us, under our feet. “But now we see not yet all things put under him,” also reveals it hasn’t completely materialized yet. Therefore, there must be something we can do to bring this into the realm of reality.
Below are a few things to help us start moving in that direction:
- Tenacity and discipline (2 Timothy 4:6-8, Galatians 6:9, Luke 18:1). This is not easy. It is something I have struggled with, especially in recent years. The real struggle is maintaining your authority. It takes discipline and stubbornness. It’s hard, when we face battles and things don’t go right, to continue standing firm and exercise (implement) our authority in the situations of life. It is easy to become discouraged, fainthearted and give up instead of continuing to fight the good fight.
This is particularly difficult when we have faced continuous hardships and reversals in our life and ministry. It is easy to get tired and beat down. Even when we have been very tenacious in the past, we have a hard time stirring it back up again and maintaining it.You must reach deep within yourself, as David did, and encourage yourself in the Lord (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV).
This was a major turning point for David. If he had not done this he would have missed God and the greatness God had prepared him for. It is in the very beginning of 2 Samuel that David is crowned King. This materialized partly because of his tenacity.
- Choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). Life and victory is ultimately a choice. Things will not always go our way. We will be attacked and at times viciously. We may, at times, feel beat down and defeated. We may even get discouraged and depressed. We may feel there is no way out and no hope.
It is in these times we must choose life. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19). This is the only way to pull out of the pit we are in and begin to head toward and experience victory.
Shout it out, at the top of your lungs, “I choose life!” We must choose life and keep choosing life until we have taken authority over our situation and victory has come.
- Visualize victory (John 5:17 and 19, Judges 6:11-12, Proverbs 29:18). As with effective praying, we must see the victory in the spiritual realm before it can become an outward reality. Jesus saw the Father working and therefore He worked (John 5:17 and 19). Gideon was hiding in the wine press for fear of the Midianites. When the angel called him he said, “The Lord is with thee thou mighty man of valor” (Judges 6:11-12).
I remember, when my oldest son was going through a rebellious stage, when he would leave the house, I would say, “See you later you mighty man of valor.” I’m sure he thought I was crazy, but I was trying to see him as the man God had called him to be even if everything in his life was contrary to it.
- Exercise faith (2 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 6:13-15, Romans 4:18-21). If we are to implement the authority given us in Christ, we must be men and women of faith. It was said of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope” (Romans 4:18). “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is expressed in four ways:
- Having vision (Proverbs 29:18, Hebrews 12:2). We not only must see God doing something in the spiritual real but we must have a vision for what we want to see God do, accomplish or what He has promised us. We perish and experience defeat without vision. Jesus kept his eyes on the joy that was set before Him of what God had promised. Paul likewise kept his eye on the prize set before him (Philippians 3:14).
- Claiming His promises. “Every place the sole of your foot shall tread, that have I given unto you” (Joshua 1:3). This speaks of putting your foot on or claiming all that God has promised you. In whatever area you are needing to assert your authority over, find out what God has said about it and claim His Word and promise for you. Stand on it and claim it saying, “This is mine,” on the authority of His Word and the promise of God, who cannot lie (Hebrew 6:18).
- Resisting the enemy. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7-8). “Whom resist steadfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8). We must resist the enemy, negativism, our situation, and everything that opposes God’s Word and promises.
- Taking action (Mark 2:5, James 2:17-19). We have to move in faith to adequately place things under our feet. “Faith without works is dead” (James 2:17). Jesus saw the faith of those carrying the paralytic man and was moved to intervene in their situation (Mark 2:5). The Word must be mixed with active faith if it is to profit us (Hebrews 4:2).
- Be aggressive (Joshua 1:3). “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). It is incumbent upon us to take aggressive action if we are going to implement the authority Christ has given us over the things of this life.
Aggression is “A forceful action as an unprovoked attack when intending to dominate or master” (Winston Dictionary). The problem is the devil is the one who has initiated the aggression against us and done the provoking. We need to begin to initiate the attack against the gates of hell and stop waiting on the devil to attack us before doing spiritual warfare (Matthew 16:18).
We must begin to take the offensive, instead of merely reacting defensively. Gates don’t attack but are there to keep something out. “Place” in Joshua 1:3 translates from “topos” in the Greek Septuagint and is where we get the word topography. It is “used of a region, locality, room, of a place which a person or place occupies” (Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words). We must begin to take aggressive action and take back all that the enemy has stolen.
- Move forward (Philippians 3:12-14, Hebrews 6:1, Hosea 6:3, Isaiah 43:18-19). Standing still and looking back cannot be an option. This only leads to more reversals and going backward. Even if we just stand still, sooner or later we will begin sliding backwards. We must, therefore, continue pressing on and aggressively moving forward in all areas of life.
- Watch what you say (Matthew 12:36-37, Proverbs 18:20-21, Mark 11:22-4, Deuteronomy 30: 11-16, Romans 10:8-10, James 3:5-6, Ephesians 4:29, Luke 6:45, Judges 6:11-12). What we say does matter. This is an area I have personally struggled with. If we get discouraged and begin speaking negatively, criticizing and complaining, we will retard the implementation and exercise of our authority, our occupation of the land and the promises of God. Our words can build up the kingdom, God’s church and one another, or tear down and destroy (Ephesians 4:29). “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof” (Proverbs 18:21).
- Hebrews 2:8 – “Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.”
- Luke 10:18-19 – “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt (injure) you.”
- Ephesians 4:27 – “Neither give place to the devil.”
- Joshua 1:3 – “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:4 – “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.”
- Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
- 1 John 4:4 – “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
- 1 John 5:4 – “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.”
- Romans 8:37 – “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
- Deuteronomy 28:7-8, 12-13 – “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath.”
- 2 Kings 6:16 – “Fear not, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
- Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
- Isaiah 54:17 – “No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness (vindication – NIV) is from Me, Says the Lord.”
- Isaiah 59:9 – “When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against him.”
God has given us authority in Christ. Scripture clearly bears this out. It’s high time we begin exercising our God given authority.