Understanding Our Spiritual Power (Article 19-19)
As a young boy, I had a deep admiration for law enforcement officials – whether it be local or state police or those serving in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. To this day, I respect their commitment to public safety and enforcing the law. In retrospect, though, I have always been impressed with the authority and power invested in law enforcement officials. With just the flicking on of blue lights, police offers have the power to stop a car. Now that I’m older, however, I understand that “power” and “authority” have different meanings. For example, a police officer has the power to pull over a car; however, he does not have the “authority” to do so. His authority is given to him by the law. It is by way of the law's authority backing him, that gives him the power to enforce the law. If the authority is weak, then his power is weak and vice-versa. The same holds true with understanding the relationship of Christ's authority and the power provided to us by the Holy Spirit.
Importance of Our Authority. As believers, the importance and value of our power depend on the authority behind it. We are taught that the Holy Spirit enlightens and gives the believer power. But our power is set apart from the authority. Where does this authority come? It comes from Jesus Christ. How do I know this to be true? It’s true because Jesus Himself addressed His sovereign rule over this world and over His mission in Matthew 28:18-20. In this verse Jesus makes a massive statement when He says, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Christ, by way of the Father, was given complete authority over everything in this world and beyond.
When we give our lives to Christ, we too receive the Holy Spirit's power, and by way of Christ's authority are able to perform supernatural things. However, there is a catch. In order to receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s power ( which is synonymous with the Spirit of Christ), we must abide (dwell) in Christ (John 15), for He is the authority that enables our power. In looking at it in another way, the subsequent power of believers in Christ represents how the enthroned man in his faith and abiding in Christ is given the power, by way of Christ’s authority, to defeat evil forces who oppose him.
To many, the power of the believer is sought by prevailing prayer. We’ve witnessed many on bent knees petitioning God for His intervention without recognizing that we, by the authority of Christ, can enable the Holy Spirit’s power to intervene for our cause. We enthusiastically seek God’s face and blessing, but with no specific results because there has been no manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s power in us. It’s essential to understand that a believer’s power is only as strong as the closeness maintained to the authority – that being our abidance in Jesus Christ. If we drift away from the source of the authority, then the power in us diminishes.
Fighting the Good Fight. Most believers understand that the primary role of the Holy Spirit is to mold us into God’s likeness (to have His nature). He (the Holy Spirit) teaches and shapes us according to God’s will, and with it, draws us closer to God. However, the Holy Spirit also provides us the power to address the evil forces in the visible and invisible realms of our existence. Even though Satan’s defeat, by way of Christ’s resurrection, gives believers victory over sin, it does not mean that Satan has given up on his evil doings. And, it is by way of God's authority, which has been given to Christ, that allow Satan's rebellious system to exist, for Satan has no authority.
Satan’s rebellious system of heavenly and earthly sections presents grave threats to our current age and man’s salvation. We must use our power to oppose Satan as the host of the unseen powers of the air and the kings of the earth (rulers of humanity). “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12).
We must also use our power to fight the earthly section that is vulnerable to demonic forces. For those who decide to abandon themselves and open their minds and hearts to receive spiritual enlightenment, they’re vulnerable to whatever spiritual forces that approach them, unaware of the peril they place themselves. Here we see the rise of cults and the deceiving of intelligent people. It is these people who passionately oppose the truth and deceive people in believing that technology will solve our problems and discontent. The gathering of these people into organizations poses a dangerous threat to believers and would-be believers. We must, as disciples of Christ, must use our power to oppose the the denying of the truth.
Having Confidence in Our Authority. In summary, it is essential and necessary to remind ourselves that the extent of our power is connected with our abidance in Christ. It is by way of the risen Christ, and His enthronement and authority, well above those who oppose Him, we are called to have the confidence in our power by way of the Holy Spirit. It is not by our own power we can defeat Satan’s antics of evil-doing, but rather the power of the Holy Spirit in us. The power to which I speak is empowered by our trust, belief, and abidance in Jesus Christ. Apart from Christ, we can do nothing (John, 15).