Monday, September 07, 2009

Authority (17) - Busy Authority

The authority of the centurion was busy authority. He had absolute authority over the men under his command, but Rome expected him to enforce that authority. If a soldier refused to obey a command from the centurion, he would be beaten or killed. His authority was mandatory authority, so the centurion had no choice but to use it. If he did not enforce his authority, he would lose his position and be returned to the ranks, or thrown out of the army.

Demonic powers hold busy authority. The devil demands that evil spirits use their power. If they withheld their power they would be severely punished.

Christian authority is not busy authority. Jesus does expect Christians to enforce their authority over demons and sickness, but this is free authority. Christians who do not obey Jesus command to heal the sick and cast out demons are not punished. We are free to withhold this authority by leaving it inactive. On the other hand, Jesus does not expect Christian to enforce their authority in order to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

The gospel way is restrained authority, so when Christians gain authority, they will usually follow Jesus example and exercise it sparingly. If their authority is not respected, they will leave it inactive. Christians will restrain their authority, rather than force people to obey.

The authority exercised by parents is a good example. Good parents only exercise as much authority as is necessary. When a child is small the parent will often force their children do things that are good for them. They will make them eat good food and force them to attend school, but they will also be teaching their children to freely do what is right. As the child grows and learns, the parents will give the child more freedom and impose their authority less. By the time the children enter their teens, the parent’s authority should be mostly restrained, as they will rarely need to force their child to do something against their will. Parental authority should become less and less busy.

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