Authority in Spiritual Warfare

A couple weeks ago, I arrived at my son’s soccer game only to find my wife soaking wet in the pouring rain! I told her just that morning the oversized golf umbrella was in the back of the Subaru under the floor. I thought she would be cozy and dry underneath when I arrived, but she didn’t even have it on her person! What had happened?

It was a simple communication issue between us. When I said the umbrella was in the back under the floor, she thought I meant in the back seat. But when she looked there, it was nowhere to be found. What she didn’t know is that there are hidden compartments under the floor of the trunk. The umbrella was laying, perfectly dry, in that hidden compartment. What was the problem? A lack of understanding leading to a lack of application.

What if the church of America has suffered a lack of understanding leading to a lack of application? At the end of the gospel according to Matthew, Jesus made it clear that our mission is to go and make disciples. But we cannot miss the fact that He also made crystal clear that this commission stems from Jesus having all authority in heaven and on earth. And as we are going—making disciples along the way—Jesus promises He is with us always, to the end of the age (Matthew 28:18-20).

When we are making disciples, the first step of course is to help those who don’t believe come to place their faith in Christ. But, as Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” And if we understand that Jesus’ saving work includes giving us life, providing forgiveness, defeating the rulers and authorities (Colossians 2:13-15) and that the Father has transferred us from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of the Son He loves (Colossians 1:13), then we understand Paul’s conclusion in Ephesians 6:12 where he states that, “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.”

We must understand that, because we are in Christ and Christ is in us, we have authority as we submit to God. This authority is in order to resist the devil (James 4:7), stand firm (Eph 6:11-13) and serve as Christ’s ambassadors “since God is making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20, also Eph 6:20).

Just as an earthly ambassador only serves as they are submitted to the authority of their nation, so too, we only have authority as we submit to Jesus and continue to place ourselves under the umbrella of His power and protection. This is not a concept to be fearful of, nor to abuse, but to understand and apply.

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