The Myth of Unlimited Authority

Michael Beck

There is no such thing as the unlimited authority of the believer. Though Jesus Himself, as the Son of God, had the power to turn stones into bread, He did not have the authority to do so. Moses had power to bring forth water out of the rock, and did so, but God had not given him permission to strike it twice.

Man has the natural God given ability to do many things. Laban told Jacob: “It is in the POWER of my hand to do you hurt: but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, saying, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or bad.” (Genesis 31:29) Laban feared to use his power apart from God’s permission. Not only is there power in the hand to hurt, there is power in the tongue to do the same. “Death and life are in the POWER of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21) Balaam knew better than to curse those whom God had blessed.

Man’s independent use of power is the essence of his pride and the cause of volumes of pain on this earth. Natural men do what they are able to do without seeking God:

“Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.” (Jeremiah 3:5) 

They oppress and take advantage of others simply because they have the power to do so:

“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil upon their beds! when the morning is light, they practise it, because it is in the POWER of their hand.  And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage.” (Micah 2:1)

When a believer says that he can’t go somewhere, or do something, he is not saying he is physically unable, he is saying that he wears the yoke of the Lord and does not have the authority to do so. The idea that the believer has been given unlimited authority is erroneous. The word says that God gives His angels charge over us, but that doesn’t mean we can throw ourselves off a bridge and they will catch us. You CANNOT tell the sun to stand still unless God wants the sun to stand still. You CANNOT walk on water unless God wants you to walk on water. You CAN do nothing unless it is given to you from heaven. “… A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” (John 3:27)

Satan would have had Jesus intoxicated with the idea of His new found power. He would have had Him using His spiritual power toward the accomplishment of an evidently noble goal – keeping Himself alive so as to begin His public ministry. But though He was the Lord’s anointed, Jesus still lived by every word that proceeded from the mouth of God. Though He had all power, He never moved independently of the Father. What He did was limited by the Father’s voice. He never had to be rebuked like Moses because He never moved to accomplish God’s will in the heat of His own spirit, apart from strict obedience to the Father’s instruction.

Learn of Jesus. Get accustomed to His yoke. Walk as He walked, in meekness and lowliness of heart. Such humility will never hurt you or the cause of the kingdom; it will only spare you from hurting yourself and others.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.