“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!” Mark 1:27
Jesus amazed people because he taught like he had authority. This was not the way the other teachers taught. They mainly focused on rehashing existing teachings of respected rabbis like Hillel. But Jesus had completely NEW thoughts, and even more, he spoke directly and emphatically, as if speaking for God.
And we all know that Jesus DID have authority. He said in Matthew 28, “All authority has been given to me.”
But what I have been growing in lately, is realizing that I have a measure of authority too. Jesus said, “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” (John 14:12-13)
- “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matt 7:7
- This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
Acting with authority assumes that things WILL happen as a result of what we say and do. Having this attitude makes such a difference in how I approach my day. I don’t just throw something on to wear, I dress for success. I pray with strength and excitement. I approach each activity with anticipation.
And it brings into contrast that I haven’t been living my life this way, it’s been dull, self-indulgent and lackadaisical. I do a few good things, then I surf Facebook for a time. I drift about doing the tasks that I feel like doing at the moment, and put others off. Then I feel vaguely rotten – unproductive and squishy.
I realized that I need to exemplify this verse: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” (I Cor 9:24-27)
I’ve been fighting like a man beating the air! I’ve been way too aimless, spinning my wheels. The thing I lack is strong focus and purpose behind my day, from start to finish.
And Satan wants this. Satan wants us to beat the air. He wants us to be distracted by self- indulgences, to float through life. Because then we lose our passion.
Satan will steal our life, not through catastrophe, but through making us dull.
So I need to act with authority, having focus and purpose. I need to let my passion for God, the church, and helping others be my driving force.
I need to believe that I will be effective.
What was it Jesus said we can do? We can move mountains! “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matt 17:20)
I don’t need to feel ineffective. I can feel strong and sure, because I am a child of God, and he wants to graciously give me all things, and because Jesus is interceding. (Romans 8:32,34)
Through prayer, in accordance with His will, I can direct God’s mighty and awesome power. “Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” (James 5:17-18)
It’s like I wrote in a song one time:
And my friends I pray,
Like a hose with a spray,
Directing grace your way,
Again and again.
And I may not see the mountain move, but I believe as I pray and God acts, a way is being chiseled through the mountain.
Let me not be distracted by self-indulgence. Let me not beat the air. Light is slowly advancing into darkness, like the encroachment of dawn. I can bring people into the glorious presence of God, where anything is possible. I am a fellow worker with God, and each step of life can be vibrant and meaningful.