Understanding Your Authority and Your Leadership

Understanding Your Authority and Your Leadership

The appropriate and healthy use of authority by a leader is a beautiful thing.  One of my favorite stories about the concept and use of authority by a leader is found in both Matthew 8 and Luke 7.  In this story, a Centurion approaches Jesus and initiates a dialogue, included in the dialogue is the confirmation of the Centurion’s keen understanding about the use of authority.  This Roman Centurion was likely very diligent with the military business of the Roman Army, since he was a key army leader at the “middle management level.”  He commanded a “century”, which consisted of about 100 Roman soldiers.  This was a really important leadership position.

This Centurion found in Matthew 8 and Luke 7 knew about legitimate authority: hear these words in Matthew 8:9 (ESV), “For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  And I say to one, ‘Go’, and he goes, and to another, ‘Come’, and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this’, and he does it.”  Now, this story provides a picture of this Centurion who authentically cares about his dying servant.  This Centurion was probably very different from his peers and superiors.  He demonstrated a profound concern for his servant.  He probably used all of his authority that he possessed to save his servant who served him and his interests.

We know that this Centurion conveyed his understanding of legitimate earthly authority to the spiritual realm when this Centurion appealed to Jesus as the One who had spiritual authority.  This Centurion analyzed and discerned his relationship to Jesus through the lens of “authority and leadership.”  This Centurion acted in faith, an authentic leadership action.  In response to this Centurion’s faith, Jesus exercised his supernatural authority to instantly heal this dying servant.  Jesus offered praise for this Centurion, who recognized that Jesus’ authority over the spiritual world was as certain as his authority over his soldiers.  This Roman Centurion, who was a commander and a leader, exercised his faith and interceded on behalf of his servant.

Is one of your subordinates, peers, or superiors having a really tough time in the workplace or at home?  Are you lifting that person up to God in prayer?  Are you using your “position” to help in any way you can?  The habitual, benevolent use of authority and position for the good of others is a beautiful thing.  Let me encourage you, as you grow and develop in your leadership, to study lessons on submission to authority, on authority structures, on authority conflict, and on the exercise of authority.  It is my hope that you will search for and understand legitimate authority, that you will desire to be a role model of legitimate authority, and that you will pursue the true spiritual authority that resides in Jesus Christ.

Suggested Prayer: “Dear God, I pray that You will guide me in the positions of leadership that You have given to me.  I pray that You will forgive me where I have missed the mark.  I pray that Your Word, The Bible, will be my leadership anchor.  I pray that my motivations will be pleasing to You.  I pray that the authority that You have placed in my hands will be used to serve Your purposes.  I pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”

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