In Part 1, we learned about the spiritual authority of the believer in this world. In Part 2, we will examine the spiritual authority of leadership positions.
In a world of free spirits who dislike following leaders, we find a lot of stress, conflict, and submarined relationships as a result. The spiritual authority to lead in marriage, the family, business, and the church means leading with a servant heart under the authority and call of God. Those under authority are charged to follow God-ordained leadership faithfully. When we do so, God blesses and unity results. Relationships and organizations will be enabled to flourish.
Spiritual Authority at Home
In our age of gender equality, the term submission gets a bad rap. No woman seems to want to be accountable or under someone else’s leadership, especially to husbands. So, in light of this distaste of submitting to authority, Christian women can rejoice at the statement in verse 21, “Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ.” This is the qualifier for the rest of the passage. The husband is to lead his family, including his wife. She is to yield to his spiritual leadership of their family in all things. The one things many wives fail to do is respect their husbands (verse 33).
There is a lot of freedom in this for her. He is to submit to her as well, but considering her needs and opinions on various matters. He lays his life down for her and, in so doing, she will be radiant and pure. He is to take care of her as he would take care of himself and love her as he loves himself. She should absolutely glow and be full of joy as his wife.
If a Christian wife is being oppressed, it is because the husband doesn’t understand what this passage means for him. If a Christian husband is hen-pecked it is because neither one understands how to submit to each other. They are one flesh (verse 31).
The husband is the spiritual head of the home with his wife beside him as one unit with the children obeying their parents who are to do it with love, bringing them up in the Christian faith.
Prayer point: I’ve put forth a Call to Prayer this month. If there is rebellion and resentment in the home, Husbands and wives should spend time together in confession and prayer for their marriage, the children, and their home as well. It is quite reasonable to do a prayer walk in your home. Some couples have put Scripture passages up in each area of their homes. Others have written in black marker Bible passages on the studs and top of the doorway as they pray over new construction and remodeling of their homes.
Spiritual Authority at Work
There is a saying about work, “I owe, I owe. So, off to work I go.” How true. We have a saying at our house, “Salary equals slavery.” The truth of the matter is by working for someone else we can identify with the indentured slave, because it is a service to pay a debt, i.e. our bills! We are told to respect and obey those in authority our bosses at work with a sincere heart (v.5) and because our Master is Jesus Christ. We work for our Lord regardless of whose name is on our paycheck. If you don’t like obeying your boss, work for yourself. Well, being your own boss has the same qualifier: we work for Jesus. Obey His teachings and you’ve got it all covered.
Yielding to a leader's authority brings blessings to all who are involved and the company (Titus 2:9-12, Galatians 6:7-10). I had an interesting situation come up last month writing an article for a magazine. When I received my assignment, I began working on it. About a week before it was due, I received a reminder about my article's due date -- but it was the wrong topic! I was under stress and sweating bullets because of how much work I had already done on the article. Someone made a mistake, so two of us were writing on the same topic. As I spoke with my husband, we prayerfully decided together that the main editor has the spiritual authority over the publication. I brought the issue to the editor who was over me, offered to write on the other topic with an extension on time and suggested asking the main editor what to do. God worked everything out for His glory. The new article pulled together beautifully and was submitted on time. All involved were built up rather than beaten down. This was all by the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Bosses have a responsibility to their employees as well. Bosses are to treat their employees well because they also work for Jesus, even if they are the CEO of the company. They should not treat them harshly nor show favoritism. I know some people in company leadership. Believe me, it’s no easy task, but it’s an important one.
Prayer point: Employees, if you have problems with your boss, co-workers, or feel something is “wrong” at work, take the time to pray. Confess your own shortcomings to the Lord before you begin.Thank Him for your job. You can pray over different spaces at work without anyone knowing what you are doing. Ask the Lord to take hold of issues in your workplace.
Bosses, you can also take difficulties with employees, clients/customers, and road blocks for your company to the Lord in prayer. Always begin confessing your own shortcomings, thank Him for all that goes with your business, before taking concerns to Him. Prayer walk the spaces of your workplace. It may need to be done in an inconspicuous manner. Fasting can be helpful in serious situations.
Spiritual Authority in the Church
1 Timothy 4:1-3,11-14, 1 Timothy 5:17-21, 6:20-21 Titus 1:5-16, 2:15
Pastors are the spiritual leaders of the church, simply by the virtue of God's call to ministry. It is supported by their elders who are also in leadership under him or her. in Titus 2:15, Paul tells Titus to teach, encourage, and rebuke with authority in the challenging church in Crete. He is to not let anyone despise him. Paul also tells Timothy he is to lead with love and above reproach, to teach, rebuke, exhort, to not let anyone look down on him. By the way, yes, I said, “Her”. If men have a call to be a pastor, and don’t step up to the plate, God will call women to pick up the leadership task, demonstrated at times in Scripture (Judges 4-5, Romans 16:1-3). If someone’s call fits the description of a pastoral call and revealed by the Holy Spirit in light of God's Word, then they are called to lead the local body of Christ- the local church. Just as Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon were called to lead Israel, and the disciples, later apostles, and Paul were called to lead the early church, the pastor is called to lead the church. Jesus said to Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, feed my sheep" (John 21:17). There is a distinct call of the pastor to lead the church with humility and authority as a servant of the Lord.
Countless times self-appointed church “bosses” have hurt and even killed the life of their churches (3 John 9-10, Titus 1:10-16, Acts 20:27-29) They tie up the pastor’s leadership up and hog-tie him by telling him what he can and cannot do, rendering his or her leadership ministry ineffective. Certainly the pastor has accountability to the lay leadership of the church, not abusing his or her authority (1 Peter 5:1-4). There must be a cooperation of the church board with the pastor and elders for the pastor's ministry to be effective.
Troublesome people damage churches today just as in the early church. In our first church, there were a couple of people who viewed themselves as the true spiritual leaders of that church. One of them likened himself to Aaron, saying Aaron was the true leader of Israel and Moses was simply the mouthpiece. This man and his wife created a horrendous mess of the church and made life unbearable for us. At another church my first husband led as pastor, the church bosses caused so many headaches, one of them taking up several main leadership roles. He and his wife made it so difficult for us in ministry there. I gave up asking permission with heads of committees and took the requests and concerns to him and the elders who served with him. The spiritual authority resided with the pastor and the elders, not the committee heads because they refused to work in harmony with God's called leader for that congregation. This scenario plays out in churches more often than people realize. When people in churches try to take over the leadership that belongs to the pastor with the elders supportive ministry, the church becomes a mess. Paul tackled the issue of false accusations against a pastor in 1 Timothy 5:19 and defended his own apostleship in 2 Corinthians 11. God will never bless a church in a mess.
Pastors, serve the Lord well in your church, with a strong faith, a shepherd’s heart, and courage, under the Christ's leadership.
I put forth a Monday Call to Prayer this month. Pastors,if there are problems or road blocks holding your church back from doing the God's work through your congregation, then fast and pray. If you have people coming against you without valid reason, fast and pray. Begin with a time of confession to the Lord any personal sins He brings to your attention privately. Gather your elders and assistant pastors to do so as well. Do a prayer walk with your team through your church building considering everyone and everything that goes in each area. Then walk the perimeter of the property praying over it claiming the entire building, congregation, and ministries for the Lord’s service. If you feel an invisible force resisting your efforts or like you ran into an invisible force shield, you have a spiritual stronghold. It will only move through fasting and prayer of the pastor and elders because you hold the spiritual authority over that church and all that goes on there. You have the authority to cast out demons in Jesus' Name (Mark 6:12-14, ). Some are only able to be cast out with fasting and prayer (Matthew 17:21).
May the Lord bless you as you move forward in the spiritual authority God has given you as you submit to the God-given authority of others.
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