You are loved, but...
[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]It is not about you[/mk_dropcaps]
Let me paint a scene for you:
Almost 2 years ago to the day, I was sitting in the very back row of our church hoping and praying to not be seen. Anxiety rushed through my veins. I wanted to leave mid-service but I knew someone would see. My pride kept me seated and I shrunk down with my arms crossed counting down the minutes until the service ended. It was the last night of my church's yearly conference called Empower. I had never been in an environment where God's presence was so welcomed. I remember seeing the pastor pray over people with great authority. All I could think to myself was, "how is he so sure of what he is saying?" Confidence was in every word- his tone was steady and as he looked people in the eyes he spoke words over them that had not yet come to pass. He declared scriptures over people and all they could do was collapse to their knees, completely consumed with emotion and awe. "This is weird, these people are all faking it." Doubt and skepticism roamed freely in my mind.
When I was asked to write about spiritual authority, God instantly brought to my mind that night that I almost walked away from church. The night that I almost ran from the life that God was calling my husband and I to live. The night that perfectly encapsulated my entire life up until that point as a Christian. I was so fearful of what people thought about me and what they would think if they saw I was affiliated with a church like this. My desire to control not only myself but others was subtly disguised in my devotion to religion. Its ironic that in order to move forward, you have to first understand where you are starting from. You must discover why you are "stuck". I was stuck in my walk with God. I was so snuggled up to my own issues and insecurities that if you would've asked me to describe myself two years ago, having spiritual authority would have definitely not even be on my list. Can anyone else relate?
I know many people, especially in the south where I am from, who esteem to be affiliated with the religious organization of Christianity. Yet, when Jesus gets a hold of your heart you realize just how ugly religion truly is. It was not until I moved to San Diego and started attending a church that saw religion for what it is that I saw the ugliness of religion in my own heart. Like weeds choking back the life of another plant, religion was holding me bound through anxiety attacks, judgment towards other people's lives and decisions, judgment and condemnation for my own decisions, and the list goes on and on. The worst part of it all was I thought religion was supposed to be the fix to these issues. Yet religion is more a soggy band-aid that had lost all of its stickiness requiring my effort to keep my scrapes and wounds covered.
I go into this because I truly believe that spiritual authority rests on the foundation of spiritual freedom. Spiritual Freedom is the antidote to striving to making things happen on your own accord through religion.
"Greater is HE who is in you" [I John 4:4] ... This is the verse that brought my striving to a halt. I realized all the work it was to strive. I found I was striving to do good works, striving to keep my relationships strong, striving to see the people I love saved, striving to keep my image properly maintained, striving to be the best wife and the best Christian and the best world-changer. I was overwhelmed and realized I had to reevaluate some things. I went back to the basics:
Do you know who you are?
Do you know who God is?
Do you know who God is in you, and how He wants to shine through you?
My breakthrough came in not knowing who God is, but how I viewed myself as a "new creation in Christ Jesus [II Corinthians 5:17] and what God actually wanted to do IN me and THROUGH me. We cannot operate in spiritual authority without boldness, confidence, and being sure of those three questions. I have a challenge for you- it is a challenge that I re-address myself often: answer the above questions honestly. Then test your answers against the Word of God.
My pastor frequently says that God cannot get something through you until he can get it to you. Spiritual authority works in this way: You have to receive breakthrough, understanding, freedom, and deliverance first. Then, out of that place of freedom, more freedom will flow through you to others.
When you address the weeds in your heart not only for your own sake, but for the sake of those that God wants to reach through you, then a shift happens. Your perspective turns from a victim reactionary lifestyle to a victorious proactive lifestyle. Let me explain what this looks like. Before, I was consumed with all that could potentially go wrong. I had irrational thoughts that filled me with anxiety, doubt and fear. All of those thoughts were about ME and not so much about the person that God was asking me to minister too. Shame on me, and thank God for grace and mercy! [can i get an amen!?] When those deep-rooted weeds were addressed and pulled, I got some major freedom from intimidation, fear and religion. I realized that my surface emotions were not at all the root of any of my true issues. When the root was exposed for what it was, I not only received freedom but I became a victor in Christ that was compelled and drawn to people that were needing the same breakthrough in their own world.
Like I said before, to have spiritual authority flow through you, you have to understand the authority that is in you. Greater is HE who is in you.
One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 3:12 " Since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech." The entire passage goes through the glory of the law, but how the new covenant is an even greater glory. In verse 17 it ends by saying "Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom."Freedom for yourself and freedom from others will never be sustained through your own will or power.
You may have wondered why I titled this blog "You are loved but...It's not about you" at this point I hope you are able to realize it is only when we take our eyes off of ourselves and seek out God, His Spirit, and what the word says that we experience freedom for ourselves, and for others.
That being said, I want to reiterate that spiritual authority is not dependent upon your personality, skill set, talents or abilities. I know introverts that walk with incredible authority and extroverts that shrink back because of insecurities and fears. This may seem harsh, but I have come to believe that being shy or having a shy personality is not even biblical. Lean into the Holy Spirit when you start feeling insecure or uncomfortable. Begin to practice boldness of speech, step out in faith with authority! God cares way more about your obedience than what you can do out of your own ability. God loves availability and a willing heart. In that place of feeling uncomfortable is where you have to lean on Jesus, and not your own abilities. That is the sweet spot where authority dwells, the place where the ultimate authority: Jesus, sits.
As I wrap this up, I want to leave you with a prayer. I would encourage you to read it out loud over yourself, and over situations that come up (might as well do that with scripture too!). There is so much power in your words being SPOKEN and not just thought! I pray the prayer below out loud almost daily. I pray it gives you a starting point in gaining confidence in who God is calling you to be.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Holy Spirit, I commit my day to you. I depend on your strength and not my own, and I invite you into my thoughts, and ask for you to establish my steps today. I pray that you would give me wisdom so that I can walk with authority and purpose knowing that you will be speaking to me and through me with every circumstance that comes my way. I am bold. I am not held back by fear. Forgive me for the things that have held me back from walking in freedom. Walk me through what it looks like to surrender the things that hold me back over to you. I ask Holy Spirit that you would put boldness in my speech, and confidence in my steps. I praise you for the life that I get to live because of laying my life down for you. I cancel any plans and assignments from the enemy over my life, my families lives, and my community and I ask that you would give me perspective and wisdom to be proactive in my faith. Thank you for this day, and thank you for being with me. AMEN.[/mk_blockquote]
Katy is on staff at C3 San Diego for Pastoral Care. I met Katy right after she came to C3 for the first time. She is a hard person not to like instantly. Watching how she has grown over the last couple of years in our church has been incredible. There is a marked shift in her confidence to bring an encounter with God for all those she comes in contact with. She has walked out what she has shared here so beautifully. I pray you allow her story to shift your perspective on what it means to walk in the power of God.