How would you feel if a stranger came, uninvited, into your house, and began to re-decorate? They don’t ask about your taste or style. They just barge in and take control. My guess is that you might feel a range of emotions, and rightly so.
Perhaps decorating is that stranger’s specialty. Maybe they’re really good at it. Maybe they are a leading world “authority” on furniture arranging. Maybe it would be foolish not to recognize their gifts and expertise. But still…unless you’ve given them permission to redecorate, they are out of line, disrespecting your authority as owner. They might be an authority on decorating, but they have no authority to use their gifts in your home unless you allow them first.
Did you know the Bible talks about different kinds of authority? One is an authority given by God, and the other is given by man. When these two kinds of authority are functioning in love and unity, a glorious atmosphere can develop. When these two kinds of authority are out of balance things can, and often do, become more messy.
My desire is to help the Church (The Bride of Christ) operate in health when it comes to this topic. Many people have been damaged by an unhealthy understanding of authority. The Father’s heart is to bring restoration and healing.
This is where the furniture arranging illustration starts to make sense. If I’m in your house, I’m under your authority. Your Exsousia (in Greek). Now, does that mean you have the right to abuse or manipulate me in any way? No! It certainly does not. I also come under a higher authority; the law of LOVE, God’s law, His Exousia which does not require me to be manipulated or controlled.
In a healthy environment God’s exousia exists supreme. Restraints come off and love reigns. Get it? Love reigns? Sometimes love releases and sometimes it restrains, but both are done in LOVE. This generates an atmosphere of safety and hope for everyone. Most importantly, sons and daughters are discipled. Men and women understand who they belong to and where their true identity comes from. A humble and discerning leader will equip others to fulfill their calling and vision.
Who is the boss, really? What I mean is, who’s the ultimate ruler over all? I hope we all agree that Jesus is the head of the church? If we don’t agree on this point, then we aren’t going to agree on much else.
The safest environments I’ve known are ones where leaders tune into the voice of the Lord and Jesus is exalted through humble leadership. In ministry, it’s my aim to create a safe environment for those who attend our events. For my team, this means making room for what the Holy Spirit wants to do. I’ve found that as we gather together with this corporate mission, we rarely have to deal with “strange fire”. As we make room for the presence of the Lord, He woos us corporately into what He’s doing. He gets the glory as lives are transformed through His healing touch, which is something I, as a leader, don’t want to get in the way of.
How could I get in the way of what God wants to do? I could lean on my own understanding versus His. I could pre-decide what every single prayer and ministry moment was going to look like. We could literally schedule God out of our events. Instead, we have chosen to make room. Yes, we do a TON of planning. We write down a detailed schedule, but in that schedule, there is room. I can’t think of one example where the Lord did not show me something prophetically during an event. Words of knowledge are great to pray for ahead of time, but most often they come in the moments. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are spontaneous, not programmed. We can not schedule the Holy Ghost.
I’m continuing to learn to trust the Holy Spirit. Leaning on Him is a great place to lead from. My favorite thing is watching people’s countenance literally change during our conferences. This doesn’t happen without God touching souls in a deep, restorative way. My job is to step back and make a place for Him to move.
Let me give you three guidelines to help you stay in a healthy place with this word authority. My desire is to see God redeem it. Authority is a word God spoke, a word God loves. We can love God’s design for authority, too, once we understand it better.
1. Stay unoffendable. I know…easier said than done, right? But truly…do this. Whether you’re the leader or the one under someone else’s authority….stay unoffendable. Read Romans 12 and take note of the words about blessing those who persecute you. When you get offended, forgive. Every time that feeling of offence and pain comes at you, forgive again. Soak your wounds in God’s presence and light. The best way to know if you are offended is to notice how much emotional pain you’re in. If you still react when you’re reminded of something, there’s more healing to come. The best way to move forward in your healing is to continue forgiving, blessing, and soaking until the sting is gone. It takes time for our bodies to heal when we have a physical wound, and it takes time for our souls to heal when we have emotional wounds. Our human nature wants instant results, but some things just take time.
2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. 100% of misunderstanding happens because of a lack of communication. Our flesh will jump to conclusions, especially when we are hurt, and this does not improve relationship. Talk it out…if you can. Find out what’s going on. Try NOT to judge motives. Try to assume the best, until someone confirms otherwise.
3. Be a powerful person. Don’t allow unhealthy people to control you. If you’re a leader of people who are wounding others, use your authority to deal with that in a healthy manner. If you’re being controlled, manipulated, or abused by leadership, consider what moves you need to make to stay healthy. Whether leader or participant, you have the power to do what’s needed to safeguard yourself and those who you oversee. Seek outside counsel in either case.
I believe the church is becoming more and more glorious as healthy authority is being understood and established. What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue. Feel free to comment below!