Recently I was reading an article that brought to my attention some of the abuse that is present when leadership oversteps their bounds. This was an article that made reference to a specific minister that had caused significant grief to a number of people. The devastation no doubt created long lasting scars upon a people who once put their full trust in an authority figure.
Does that scenario sound familiar? Have you at one time been the recipient of abuse, after having chosen to follow the leader? In a single instant did your trust in man become a losing proposition?
What we are actually dealing with is a stronghold called “authority”.
If you feel the pain and the regret of having become a casualty of leadership’s actions then it is possible to still be owned by that person. Even years later as you think back on an uncomfortable situation; your reaction is a telltale sign that you are still not free as you should be. Hence you may find yourself feeling vulnerable all over again.
Now no one is perfect and we all have a past that needs redeeming. But it is for this very reason that we want to challenge how dominant figureheads have been allowed to enter our lives. If we have been conditioned to automatically submit to them; “no questions asked”, then they can without protest impose themselves upon us. So where did this stronghold first appear in our lives?
Our view of authority began in the home and taught us to accept a parent’s direction, counsel and way of life. When home life was healthy we learned to not only respect the chain of command, but we also then gained a capacity to be a “leader” for others. A healthy view of authority taught us the meaning of self governance and a reverence for the fear of God.
However damaged home life doesn’t produce the same assurances. Poor examples of leadership in the home have conditioned us to simply comply in the face of parental instability. That damaged mindset has often carried us out into society; influencing how we conduct ourselves in life and in faith. Hence early conditioning tends to define how we relate to leadership in business, in government and within religious circles. This need to be overtly compliant with leadership is more of a sickness and represents an example of improper subjection and submission.
Subjection and Submission
We don’t give much thought to the subject, but we have often learned to maneuver through life and faith by participating in various stages of surrender. These actions can best be defined as “subjection and submission”. On the one hand we can find ourselves subject to the things of the earth simply by being born into a fallen world. We didn’t ask for this trouble, yet it came with the package.
“Subjection” is then a matter of being under the power of something or someone and is often the result of being forced against our will.
On the other hand, we can also find ourselves subject to things based on an exercise in “freewill”. In this case:
“Submission” represents a willingness to give away aspects of our authority in order to gain some perceived benefit.
If as believers we remain in either of these camps we can find ourselves pressed by a lesser quality of life and frequently “under” the control of a lesser god. For this reason any hope of prospering in life requires that we be more mindful of the choices we make. The question then on the table is; “where have we given away our authority and where do we still submit ourselves to improper ownership and control?”
Notice I said “improper”; this is not a call to dishonor authority, or deny them a place in our lives, but since Christ has offered us a new life and access to His Throne we are in need of some renovation. In other words, though we once had an obligation to be submissive to leadership as a child, we aren’t children anymore. Subsequently such immature reason sets into motion a pattern of control Jesus once referred to as the “gentile way”.
Mark 10:42-44 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.
Notice that there are various levels of order being described in this scenario. Besides the one person who sits on the top; there are high officials and there are low officials all of whom add to the structure. This pattern of rule looks much like a pyramid and characterizes most of fallen mankind’s ideas about the chain of command.
In contrast Jesus taught us that the role of leadership was dependent on their ability to be a servant. By having a servant’s heart and offering support through an “under girding” rather than an “over lording” the individual prospers and becomes the next valued leader.
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders …
By not having, or having lost personal sovereignty (No one standing between us and God) we become powerless to affect our world and even stunted in our personal growth. In this manner we let men “improperly” rule us and violate us in physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual ways.
What is it in man that motivates him to want to own others?
Before the fall man was called to take dominion. As he kept his focus on God he prospered in his attempts to steward creation. However after the fall, man became quite self-centered. As he looked upon his own form and function, he had no other choice but to make life’s journey all about himself. Hence his self centered approach made him a negative force to be reckoned with; God’s commission to take dominion was then replaced by a drive to simply “dominate”.
This infection within humanity was initially inspired by the Devil’s own search for greatness.
Isaiah 14:13-14 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. 14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
The Devil’s attempt to become equal with God was also a self centered exploit. His narcissistic attitude made him believe that he was the most likely candidate for advancement in heaven. Of course his reckless coup failed, and he found himself expelled from heaven, yet still seeking recognition. So as Adam and Eve came into the picture he found new converts that would emulate his way of dominance. Basically as they accepted the Devils sales pitch they set the standard for how humanity would respond.
This of course means that men have been conditioned to strive for higher ground in life as well as in relationships. Subsequently there is no equality among men, but rather a drive to dominate each other as a means of self preservation and self promotion. Hence, whenever a worldly agenda is unleashed upon us it inappropriately presses us to conform and submit to its demands; and we often comply in physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual ways. That place of improper submission is the stronghold that denies us fullness in God and creates in improper submission to men.
Now some will ask what about that obligation to Romans 13 where it says to submit to every example of authority?
Authority is as authority does. What no one seems to consider “authority begins with each believer”. In other words, your first commitment is to Christ who has made you the temple of His living Spirit. Secondly you have been seated with Him in heavenly places.
Ephesians 2:6-7 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
Seated with Christ means two things; it means we have ceased from our own works, since Jesus has offered us a full and rich existence free of charge. Secondly it means that we have gained a spiritual authority in Christ that is raised above the dictates of a fallen world. For this reason Jesus also has a say as to who should rule us in body, in soul or in spirit. For this reason we don’t leave a respect got leadership when they are righteous; but we also find reason to guard our hearts when authority wavers in their role. Please let this sink in; we have been brought into Christ, and have gained spiritual authority which is raised above anything that man or Devil tries to throw at us.
Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
But what if we have already given our authority away?
Truthfully we can’t froth up enough attitude in order to gain back our authority. In fact once we bow to the dictates of other masters it amounts to being “owned for life”. However Jesus provided us away at the Cross to breaks those bad contracts.
When Jesus died on the Cross a number of things took place. First, His blood was shed in order to redeem us back to God. This selfless act literally purchased us for God and paved the way for man to gain right standing with the Father.
Ephesians 1:7-8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
As wonderful and amazing as that redemption is there are still other benefits that were provided by Christ’s encounter with death on the Cross.
- The Curse
We were freed from the curse once imposed upon mankind for failing to live up to God’s standards.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”
• The Serpent
The Serpent has had power over Adam’s race, but he has lost power over those who are now found in Christ.
Colossians 2:15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
• The Law
The Law of Moses was moved out of the way as our chief standard of performance.
Colossians 2:14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
• The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil
The Tree which is synonymous with how fallen man thinks and acts has been moved out of the way. No longer do we have to gauge the meaning of life based on our own standards of good and evil.
Colossians 2:20-21 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21”Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
• Sin nature
The fallen nature of man is always set towards rebellion, but every act of disobedience has been crucified.
Romans 6:1-3 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:6-7 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
• Sin behavior
Behavior that is unfitting for God’s people is the result of men moving and acting upon their old nature; this is the Adamic nature. Acts that lead to sinful behavior have been removed at the Cross.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Romans 7:5-6 For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
Please notice that some of the above verses are speaking not just of Christ’s death, but also our own. No, we didn’t die physically, but rather Jesus took us into His own death so that we could come to know His life. By supernaturally entering into death with Him we discover a tangible and powerful separation from the world, the flesh and the Devil. You see this purpose driven death not only rescued us at the time of salvation but we can always look back on it to alter the course of our tomorrow. And just as significant; when we can identify with Christ’s death on an on-going basis this active aspect of the gospel is able to then bring transformation to our lives in many ways. What we discover is;
Jesus died for your redemption, but you died with Christ to gain transformation
Think about this for a moment; if you had an “OFF switch” how many ways would you want to use it? What attitudes and actions would you want to escape? How many bad choices in life would you want to leave behind? How many ways would you want to separate from “improper” ownership, obligation and faulty thinking? By dying to what once bound us we gain a new position and perspective on life. Once we let Jesus separate us from our former way of life, He raises us up again into a new and living way which is empowered by His Spirit.
Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
What a wonderful gift! Our present and future lives can now be free of all sorts of added clutter and the things that have lied to us about proper purpose, identity and authority.
Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
The miracle of the gospel (the good news) is it remains self correcting. If everything we believe and do is allowed to first pass through death, then the only remaining way to explain the meaning of life comes from Jesus alone. This is how we were born again and it is also how we continue to walk by the Spirit; we let God do the renewing. OK, so how do we get this ball rolling? Here’s a verse that shows us how to apply this aspect of the gospel to our lives.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
How do we do this? In the same manner that we asked for salvation we also get to ask God for transformation. Here’s another verse that confirms it’s about trusting Jesus/Yeshua to provide us a renewed mind and place of authority.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
As believers, who desire to live an abundant life, we have at times added unnecessary rules, regulations, commitments and submission to men. Many of these hindrances still exist because the mind doesn’t easily let go of a previous obligation. In essence we make bad contracts that hold us captive to terrible forms of subjection and submission. Yet if you break the contract at the Cross then improper submission to men, organizations or even a demonic realm you get to live in the freedom for which Christ has set you free.
If you are willing, in the days ahead you can expect that the Holy Spirit will bring to mind some of the things that distract you from living a happy and productive life in Christ. Some of these issues may include how you improperly relate to men, organizations, the world and even a faulty faith. Basically wherever we once placed too much emphasis on living life through the dictates of other masters; He will be suggesting a course correction. At that moment of introspection, plan on recognizing how He separated you from that improper connection at the Cross.
Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him (Jesus) through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
On a personal note, I began this journey of discovery some time ago and I haven’t been disappointed. New life has been breathed into my faith as I realize that I can gain valuable change at the Cross. This one revelation has allowed me to throw off all sorts of constraints and changed many of my personal habits. That also includes how I have embraced Christianity. In fact it has allowed my dead religion to finally be moved out of the way in order to experience a living and active relationship with the King of Glory.
Here’s some added helps to make the journey more successful in Christ (Free PDF Versions).
Out from the Shadow of Other Gods
Every Christian is desperate for a true relationship and life changing experience with God, but our most prevalent model of success and failure has been religion. The things that have been taught us have had more to do with man’s search for a god, rather than in God showing us His ways. There is a place where religion dies and genuine relationship begins. The first in a series, the author provides a platform for change and a simple yet powerful way out from the trappings of humanities religion. Ministering with honor to the pastor as well as to the prodigal and revealing a surprising bounty of Jesus in every page. Get ready to be encouraged, challenged, and renewed in your walk of faith.
The Shadow of the Spiritual
That’s an interesting question, but after two thousand years of Christian history, maybe we should be asking “which spirit?” Though the Christian faith has been provided with a sure foundation in Christ, our propensity to get worldly or even religious has actually pushed us past safe boundaries. There is a quagmire of spiritual alternatives all vying for our attention, yet none of them has anything to do with a true faith in Jesus. “The Shadow of the Spiritual” is meaty, thought provoking, in-depth look into the rising tide of spiritual pollution within the Church. Its lingering effects remain oppressive and damaging to any believer who desires a pure expression of relationship with the Son of God. This self help book is a must read for any Christian wanting to understand how improper spiritual connections get formed, fed and how unhealthy spiritual bondage gets passed around. Yet, by embracing a simple biblical truth, we can separate ourselves from all sorts of added trouble. The second in a series, the author provides a platform for change and a simple yet powerful way out from the trappings of humanities many fallen exploits.
Lord I Want To Change!
Is It time for a change? The Christian life is not always an easy life. Though we are assured that all things have become new, “New life” may end up looking a lot like the old one. This is due to our inability to properly transition away from certain worldly influences. A growing number of our troubles include the weight of family dysfunction, years of social conditioning and any number of personal failures remaining a black mark on our record. All of these issues have a tendency to warp our sense of “self” and we walk through life emotionally crippled; yet Jesus has other plans for us. The Bible provides the Christian a “get out of jail free card”. Jesus offers us a simple and effective way of escape out from the trappings of a difficult past. If you have ever wondered whether there is more to the Christian life, then get ready to be encouraged, challenged, and set free in your walk of faith.
Free PDF Versions ———————- Send an E-mail message to [email protected] and in the “subject” heading abbreviate the title of the book you want. I’ll send it shortly.
- Out from the shadow of Other Gods = ofs
- The Shadow of the Spiritual = sos
- Lord I want to Change = Lwc
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