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The Secret Behind Authority

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The Secret Ingredient…

Unplugged

 

The other day, I was listening to a teaching by Shawn Bolz, a new favorite teacher/speaker. One phrase he said jumped out at me and hasn’t let me go. My mind took off running with it, and I’m not sure I heard anything else he taught.

Every word is important in this phrase: “In the Kingdom of God, there is no authority apart from love.” In keeping with His nature, wouldn’t God, who is love, desire that we align ourselves with the 2 most divinely extraordinary commandments in the universe?

 

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these,” said the King Himself. Mark12:30-31 emphasis mine

This gem of a phrase–“In the Kingdom of God, there is no authority apart from love”– swam around in the back of my mind while I read the Book of Acts (the Acts of the Apostles, the original apostolic believers empowered with authority to continue the work Jesus set in motion.).

Saint Paul traveled through the Middle East, spreading the good news. In chapter 13, he stops to encourage a Jewish leader that had a not-so-good advisor on his team, Elymas, who was attempting to lure them away from God.

 

Paul blinded the guy!

(Then Paul), filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at the sorcerer and said, “You son of the Devilfull of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness! Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? Now, look! The Lord’s hand is against you. You are going to be blind, and will not see the sun for a time.” Suddenly a mist and darkness fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

When I’ve read this passage in the past, it’s always struck me as judgmental and, well, mean. But my spirit kept insisting, Paul was motivated by love.” He was also filled with the Holy Spirit.

Instantly, the verses connected with the nature of God and came together with clarity.

 

Judgment or mercy?

Years prior to this encounter, Saul/Paul was on the road to Damascus, carrying with him the earthly authority to arrest and imprison Christians. A “bright Light” from Heaven knocked him off his horse and to his knees. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” the Lord said.

What was Saul at that time in his life? He was the exact epitome of how Jesus described the Pharisees and Sadducees.

“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it”  John 8:44 emphasis mine.
THAT IS HARSH. But true. The devil is also the father of witchcraft, sorcery, and any form of manipulation.

What were Paul’s words to Elymas? “You son of the Devilfull of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness!” OUCH! Yet his discernment came directly from the indwelling Holy Spirit. 

Do you think Paul recognized the same traits of his old self in this fraud of an advisor? One God, one Spirit and ALL men fall short of His perfection.

Think about it. The Holy Spirit could have killed Elymas on the spot, as He had Ananias and Sapphira. I believe what Paul did in blinding this guy “for a short time” was an act of mercy stemming from his love for God and a compassion for people. Yes, COMPASSION (for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life God desires James 1:20). Jesus Himself, in mercy, called Saul out and blinded him for essentially the same reasons. And look at the glorious outcome!

We never read what eternal choices Elymas made after that, but we do know that God’s love pursues everyone, even sorcerers and witches, until their last breath.

Kingdom Awesomeness: Like Paul, the sins and bondages that I have been delivered from and fully overcome in Christ, I have been empowered with authority to set others free from the same things, through Christ. Just as He commissioned Paul, God had commissioned me (and you) to spread the good news of what He’s done in our lives.

Do I want the authority to heal the sick and the lame, to bind up the brokenhearted and set captives free? Absolutely!

So now I’m asking to be filled with God’s overpowering love for those around me.

(FYI: nope, not planning on blinding anyone.)

 

How about you?

Think back to a season of hardship or affliction.
If it felt like a curse at the time, do you now recognize God’s mercy? 

What have you overcome or been freed from that you long to impart to others? Ask God for the special ingredient. Love.

Love them first, and the authority will automatically follow.

 


In a world brimming with hate, we must learn to love.

Be filled with the Holy Spirit!
Let’s change the world around us.

 

The Authority of an Embattled Spirit

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