Recently I came home to find this rather loud notice (above) wedged in the side of my front door. I read it with a mixture of laughter and nagging concern at a rubbish dump in close proximity to our house stinking up the area. My favourite part was, “If you smell something, say something…” I wonder if Crime Stoppers know their slogan is being ripped off.
It all sounded very official. It had big aggressive font and highly emotive language designed to scare people into action and motivate them to join this group in making a change.
But what was this group? It didn’t state exactly, but if I had have gone along to this ‘community meeting’ like the pamphlet was urging me so strongly to do, I most likely would have found a group of people with a lot of rage but zero tangible authority.
Now this second photo is of a parking infringement notice. Admittedly, it’s bright yellow so I could spot it on my windscreen when I got back to the train station after a nine hour shift, but it is less than half the size of the community notice about the tip. It is a small notice, full of little words.
There’s a reason the tip notice made me laugh, while the parking ticket nearly made me cry.
This parking ticket didn’t need to make a big hoo-ha. Why? Because it was backed with the full weight and authority of the Victorian government and the laws of Australia. Why can one person arrest a group of brawling criminals just because they’re wearing a blue uniform? It’s not the person; it’s the group that they represent.
My point is that when you possess genuine authority, you don’t need to go about lording your power over all the people around you. That notice about the stinky tip had no authority, so out of insecurity had to drum some up. I wonder how many people showed up to that meeting? I bet less than those who didn’t pay their parking fines this month (I hope).
When we try to assert power in our own strength, it will always be striving. What God wants for us is to recognise the authority that He has given us as Christians, through the grace of Jesus Christ. The devil can’t take our godly authority away.
The only things he can do are:
1) Lie – tell us we have no real authority and hope that we will believe it.
2) Accuse – remind us of all the bad things we’ve done and make a very convincing case as to why that excludes us from accessing God’s power and blessing – that we are no longer His legitimate children.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
- Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)
So next time you feel the urge to prove yourself, to defend the position you have in Christ, remember this.
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
- Colossians 3:1 (NIV)
Real delegated biblical authority doesn’t need to scream and shout. It doesn’t need the CAPS LOCK function or to italics, bold or underline its words. It just is. Because it can’t be taken away.
Just like Christ’s authority.
Don’t feel like you have to trick people into believing in God or jazz up the gospel to make it sound more user friendly. The authority it holds is enough, because God never breaks his word and he watches over it to accomplish it (Jeremiah 1:12). There is power in your words – in telling people the amazing things that Jesus has done in your life. And there is authority in his name.
So instead of struggling for power and respect from everyone, just keep listening to the Father’s voice and doing what he says.
Jesus said, “I only do what I see my Father do; I only say what I hear my Father say.”
- John 5:19 (NIV)
If it’s good enough for him, it should be good enough for us.
After all, if your dad’s the king, you don’t have to try to prove your royal blood lines. You just walk in his footsteps and people will see the resemblance.