In our last post we spoke about the priority of being over doing. In this post we want to explore the difference between the authority of doing and the authority of being.
I’ll begin by “cutting to the chase:” Authority of being works by honor. Authority of doing works by imposition. One is passive, and the other is proactive.
Jesus said in the kingdom we don’t rule as the Gentiles do:
“Jesus said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves,” Luke 22:24-27.
In short, there is a difference as to how authority works. Authority of being is authority for living more than doing. It is perhaps best seen in families or households where the first commandment with promise rules the day, “Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you and your days be long upon the land.”
Honor releases the best that is in a person. The commandment with promise has an even broader application than just between parents and children. The following video clip provides a graphic demonstration of how it works:
The drop of water represents the best that is in another person. Just as with the bead of water which is contained by the surface tension of the water, when we touch another person with honor, their tension is released and their content flows in the direction from which the touch has come. When we touch another person with honor, we release the best that is in them to flow in our direction.
“Jesus left there and went to his home town, [Please note that Jesus had a “home town”] accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. ‘Where did this man get these things?’ they asked. ‘What’s this wisdom that has been given to him, that he even does miracles! Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James and Joses, Judas, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” [Matthew has it this way:”But Jesus said to them, ‘Only in his home town and in his own house is a prophet without honor.’] And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.” – Mark 6:1-5
While Matthew attributes his unwillingness to do miracles in this context to their lack of faith, the greater context of both Mark and Matthew is lack of honor.
The Kingdom of God is best seen in how we relate to one another – how we are with one another. The kingdom of God does not look like a lecture hall so much as an intimate conversation among those who love each other. It is in the context of speaking the truth in love to one another that we grow up into Him Who is the Head, even Christ. This conversation can be as numerically small as two people, where Christ, (the best within us) is in the midst or a gathering of many people. In either case, it is the honoring of one another that releases the best that is in the midst of them.
Kingdom authority operates in such a way as to release that conversation, and not to replace it with a lecture by doing all the talking or imposing its will or perspective on the gathering or the other person. For this to happen, however, those involved, those gathered, whether two or many need to be sensitive to or discerning of the authority that is present in their midst for such a conversation to take place. A conversation full of people who are preoccupied with their own agendas never gets off the ground.
As an illustration of how this works, lets take a look at 1 Corinthians 16:15, 16: “You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. I urge you, brothers and sisters, to submit to such people and to everyone who joins in the work and labors at it.” Authority in the Kingdom of God is not about over doing, but over seeing.
Please note that this is not an admonishment to the household to Stephanas to Lord it over the saints at Corinth who are younger in the Lord than they are. Rather it places the responsibility on those who are younger in the faith to honor or submit to those who are senior in time, experience and service. It is this recognition, submission, and honor that releases the authority of the kingdom to the benefit of the saints in a place. In this context it is not about titles, like elder or overseer, it is about the facts of life inherent in seniority in time and place.
This operative principle of Kingdom authority works, not only in this larger sense, but also in the much smaller sense of the truth, (The TRUTH) present in a very small conversation. Each of us who are a party to a conversation brings something of Christ to that conversation, and can learn this Christ Who is in the others present, from the least to the greatest, each one has something to contribute of Him, Who is the Head. Each one of us has a responsibility to discern, and submit to the others present in the conversation. Otherwise the result is simply a conversation that is usurped by a lecture, a lecture coming from the one who is least sensitive to the presence of Christ in the midst, and so steps in by placing himself or herself in that place of preeminence – that place that belongs only to Him.
This kind of over doing authority has been the rule in what’s been calling itself “church” for thousands of years by now, beginning, at least with the “leadership” or authority of Diotrephes, in 3rd, (4th) John.
The most sure and certain way to spoil a small group or any conversation, for that matter, is to talk too much. This is a life killer, just like one who takes the Lord’s supper without discerning the body of Christ present at the table. This not only results in meetings that do more harm than good, but also in judgment, 1st Corinthians 11:17-34. For present purposes, let’s just call it “conversational gluttony,” even pollution.
As lovers, even lovers in training we are sensitive to what’s in the hearts of those around us. Love listens!
For continued reading on this subject, see The First Commandment With Promise
“Love listens” and when Love listens that is honor, that is Love and that is honoring the expression of Christ in one another. When we look upon the faces of our family in Christ, we see Christ. Splendid post, my brother!
Incredible insight here….something we all need to ponder and practice. Love listens…is really true! Too many talkers who take charge and don’t make room for the other voices. It is dishonoring to the body…it quenches the spirit…it can wound and kill the life of Christ that is growing in others. I hope this message will be read by Many. Thanks!!!
I agree, this is such an important subject! Where is honor learned? Most of what I learned about honor was from living in a chicken coop, where honor is imposed by cocks with rank or mouth (or both). But as it is in the physical, love has to be more than talk in order to impart the life of Christ, it has to be in look and touch too! I appreciate your prophetic message, Jay, that the legality of this is in the revelation that we are born into a family, and not just a family of siblings, but of fathers and mothers too. And that sadly, because of our past dysfunction and wounding, our christian fellowship today is still playing it safe when it comes to spiritual intimacy, and it is quenching the potential of Christ’s increase :( So yes, thank you, and I too hope this message will be ready by many!! :)
Jay, these insights are wonderful beyond words. An observation seemed to come to me. For those who are apart from Christ, what you have shared must be an unfathomable mystery. So much dysfunction in the world would be eliminated if people simply understood this kind of love. An angry, abusive parent directing harsh words or slaps toward a child cannot elicit from the little one the sort of honor that releases the best in that parent any more than such treatment draws out the best in the child. Such a brutal, damaging cycle! It is a LOVING Father’s touch that draws us to Him. Many of us can name the people through whom He expressed that love, those who introduced us to Christ Jesus. It should be the greatest desire in us to touch those around us with the love of Christ in a way that releases their best…that part of each person which is made in His image and likeness. Praying our Father will those who read your wisdom here to touch the world with His love, that others may know Him.
Everyones comments expresses much of the words in my heart ….Thank you Jay for not only sharring these words of life but living them towards others . “You are what you teach and this imparts life and healing LOVE !
For my next post, I hope to write about Kingdom Fund Raising Works By Love.
Thanks so much for all your encouragement! love!
Thanks for the spiritual father that you are. You point to something and explain it. Over talkative people are extremely annoying. I find them taxing. I try to hear them out but some people are never out. I cant avoid all of them. And Im suppose to be in relationship with some of them. How can I tell some one to shut up without being ungodly? Help before they drive me to shoot myself in the head. Or at least to say something I’ll regret saying later.
It helps to remember keep in mind that we are lovers in training first and foremost. As for saying things that we won’t regret later, it’s best to wait on The Spirit’s leading for those things.
As to your other comment, if you would care to resubmit it without the stray information, I would be glad to receive it. :-)
I agree with all you said, except with the judgment part. “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ”, there is no judgment for the Holy ones.