Understanding authority in the spiritual realm
Spiritual warfare can be kind of a scary topic for a lot of people, but understanding the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ and the authority that we as believers have goes a long way toward alleviating those fears and will keep us from feeling intimidated by the enemy. Even if we are already familiar with these truths, this might be a good opportunity to do a little self-check, asking ourselves if we truly believe these things on a heart level. First of all, let’s take a look at the authority of Jesus:
Jesus has been seated at the Father’s right hand, and all other authority is lower and less powerful.
As we dive into teaching on the armor, we can’t avoid talking about spiritual warfare. As we do, it’s imperative that we understand how all of the “players” are positioned. If we begin to mistakenly perceive any evil spirit (including Satan) as being bigger than (or equal to) God, we will be unnecessarily intimidated. Ephesians 1:29-23 tells us that Christ has been seated in authority at God the Father’s right hand, “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.”
No one can stand against our God. Daniel 4:34-35 says, “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation…He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth…No one can hold back his hand.” God’s purposes will prevail, and no scheme of the evil one will out-smart our all-knowing, all-powerful, all-seeing Commander-in-chief. God will always have a way to out-maneuver any strategy Satan comes up with. Our God can even make a way where there is no way.
While it may appear at times like Satan is winning, he isn’t. Just as it looked like Satan had the upper hand when Jesus was hanging on the cross, God was completely in control. His plans for overcoming all the power of the enemy were unfolding exactly as He knew they would. God was not sitting up in heaven, wringing His hands, fretting. He wasn’t crying, “Oh, boy, I didn’t see this coming.” The same is true for our generation. God is still on His throne. Not only has He delivered us from the domain of darkness, but He has appointed us to be mighty warriors in His kingdom. He has made some incredible promises to us as His children:
He has given us His authority. Luke 10:19 says, “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Again, Psalm 91:13-15 says, “You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. ‘Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.’”
When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered the enemy. In Bible days a conquering King would have the defeated King brought before Him. The conquering King would place his foot on the neck of his defeated foe. Jesus not only did this in the spiritual realm, but now He has given us authority to place our foot on Satan’s neck as well. In order to exercise the authority we’ve been given with wisdom, however, we need to be equipped. We need to understand the rules of engagement.
While we need not fear the enemy, we do need wisdom and an awareness of how to stay under the cover of God’s protection. 1 Peter 5:8 gives us a stern warning when it says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” While some have described Satan as a toothless lion and have casually veered into calling him condescending names, I suggest that we refrain from doing so. Jude 1:9 says, “…But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” If archangels don’t venture to call Satan names, why would we?
It’s all about using the authority we have been given with wisdom, knowing that we are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ, looking down on His enemies, yet understanding the need for training in spiritual warfare. We are perfectly safe when we stay under the covering of our Mighty Warrior Jesus.
If we don’t remember anything else, let’s remember that there is power and authority in the name of Jesus. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” If we don’t know what to do when we feel intimidated by the enemy, we can always call upon the name of Jesus. There is power in speaking His name.
May the Lord Jesus Christ be your confidence,