By: Richard Gazowsky
Spiritual authority is an invisible force that can be used to your advantage if you understand its purpose in God’s divine plan. When I was just a young man in my early twenties, I was given a book about the Christian teachings of Watchman Nee, which was written during the time of World War II. He was a pharmacist in China and, though he never wrote a book, his students took notes on his teachings and they were later compiled into books that can be purchased on Amazon.com. A book that really affected my life was the one he wrote on spiritual authority.
Now, after 40+ years of followings it’s biblical guidelines, I’ve realized this one book by Watchman Nee has contained one of the most important foundational teachings of my life. Though it has caused me to follow the less-traveled road of success more often than many of my counterparts and friends, it has kept me on a sure foundation that is yet to be moved by trouble and adversity. I’ve learned the proven realities and strength of staying under spiritual authority. Everyone I know who has cut and rebelled, no matter how strong and convincing their reasons were, has ended up losing, because they entered into an unstable world without having a spiritual covering over them.
The Word of God teaches that there are four lines of God-ordained authority.
· The first is the authority of the family. Usually the father heads up this line of authority, but sometimes God sets a solitary person in the family that has to replace the father figure because the natural father neglected his responsibility. Moses did this (as recorded in the book of Genesis) when he shirked his duty as a dad by not circumcising his son. His wife, Zipporah, had to become temporary head of the household in order to save Moses’ life from the angel that was about to kill him. The incident was so severe that she called Moses a “bloody man,” and threw the foreskin of her son at Moses’ feet.
· The second authority is that of the church. This religious authority over you is extremely important because it augments the family with its covering power and protects you from evil spirits, harmful influences, and time-consuming sidetracks. I believe the authority of the church is so vital because it happens to be the area where the most powerful warfare that you’ll face in your life occurs. The Bible states that we literally, fight against spiritual wickedness in high places from the church. Though it’s probably the hardest place to get under Christ’s rulership, when it does happen everyone that is under its influence benefits dramatically from His rulership. (More on this later.)
· The third line of spiritual authority is your place of employment. But this is an area that is frequently dominated by illegitimate authority. The boss, or owner of your company, is the line of authority that you are to be in sync with, to help you produce good fruit for your company. However, spiritual wickedness can also be brought into the workplace ~ by unscrupulous unions, disgruntled employees, and plain old gossip. These things work against our ability to produce optimum results and, if we are not careful, will make us unprofitable servants.
· The last line of spiritual authority ordained by God is that of the government. It’s easy for governmental authority to be controlled by evil entities that can infiltrate and pervert the other three lines of authority that are ordained by God. For example, ever since Hitler and Stalin, world governments have tried to take authority over our personal health, even though it’s not fundamental to the government’s lines of authority to implement such intrusive conduct. That authority only belongs to the family.
What you eat, drink, how you die, or if you take medicine, or not, is a decision that should be solely given to the authority of the family. Yet, for the last one hundred years or so, governments have tried to take this authority away from you so they can rule men’s lives, and consequently the masses, by fear. Christ has come to set us free from this kind of bondage. His design is for governments to be reigned in, and to have the least amount of control over our lives. Christ wants to put the “lion share” of control not in the workplace or the church, but back into the family.
And, of course, Christ wants to personally help you rule your family.
I’ve just given you a brief overview of spiritual authority. Now I want to present a more detailed analysis so that we can see how spiritual authority is necessary so that each one of us can work to our optimum capabilities in 2012. The best way for me to explain this is to show you how God took me on a personal journey in 2011, and lined up my life with His spiritual guidelines of authority. On January 11, 2011, the Lord told me that He was going to ask me to do something that would require more faith that I’d ever possessed in my life. He said, “You are what’s wrong with the Gazowsky family. If you’ll take responsibility for every disagreement, misunderstanding, and mistake that your family has made, I can fix it.”
Let me start off by explaining to you that I’m not the oldest, or senior person, in my family. But through the years, because of my prayers for our family, I’ve become what the Bible calls the “solitary” that is set in the family. As a result, most people come to me, including my elderly mother, regarding family issues. So, when the Lord told me that I was the one at fault, His words seemed absurd to me. In my own mind it seemed that I was the answer to everyone’s problems ~ not the problem! Yet deep down I knew that God was telling me the truth, even though I wasn’t willing to admit it at the time.
After three days of mechanically confessing to members of my family what God had told me to admit, a problem began to surface. It finally came to a head in a heated argument between Sandy, my wife, and me. As I sat there in stony silence, afraid of what might come out of my mouth, I suddenly had my eyes opened. I saw that it really was my fault. I had been trying to use my fleshly fatherly authority to do the work that only God is capable of doing. I saw that it was time for me to turn everything over to God and admit how helpless I was as a father. Wow! This suddenly changed everything!
No longer was I going to try to set things right on my own. I would start relying on God to do it by His Spirit. And, boy, did He go to work! Throughout 2011, I faced this kind of crisis over and over again. Each time I had to turn it over to God and let Him fix it. What’s amazing is, I began seeing things change that had nothing to do with the issues that God was dealing with me on. For example, my mother (who is nearly 90 years old) has, in the past, had conflicting opinions with me on almost every subject. We would argue continually. Now she is as happy as a schoolgirl. Every day we giggle and laugh and there isn’t anything there to disagree on.
I’m totally amazed at how much fun my mother and I have together. I never dreamed that life with my family could be so wonderful! Then I became more amazed. I found out that the unity that was happening in my family was also occurring with members of my staff at the church. And I hadn’t even addressed this issue with them. Even more shocking was how a similar kind of unity had spread into our movie company, and to our outside suppliers.
As a matter of fact, just today I was literally overwhelmed at how many business deals went my way. Case in point, an expensive repair on some equipment was negotiated and paid for before it even came to my attention! Truthfully, it happened so fast that I needed to go before the Lord and ask, “God, was this Your perfect will? It happened before I even knew there was a problem.” The Lord said to me, “Did not I say in my Word that I would answer you before you even ask?” Wow! This is great! I’m seeing that when obstacles are removed that hinder your spiritual authority, God can put you on a fast track that seems to move at lightening speed.
So what are some obstacles that hinder spiritual authority? The main one that I’ve been able to observe and identify is rebellion ~ in my own heart and flesh against the perfect will of God. This is why Jesus said that He could do nothing unless He sees the Father doing it. I must personally come to this level of obedience. In addition, I must get rid of all of my own selfish desires, which are actually rebellions against the will of God.
For most of us this is going to take a little more time of soul searching, and also throwing things in the garbage ~ which can be mental, physical, or spiritual. Letting go things of our endearing past, that attract us so much to rebel against God’s future, is such a key to the freedom He wants to impart to each of us. I want to encourage you that this is the year to wipe your slate clean of all of your fleshly desires, will, and agendas, and simply say, “I will follow the wind of the Spirit. I can only do what I see the Father doing.” If you do it, you’ll move much faster than you ever thought possible!
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”