By The Book #8: The Requirements For A Delegated Authority
Beyond a personal knowledge of authority and a life lived under authority, God’s delegated authority needs to fulfill the three following principle requirements:
1) He must know that all authority comes from God. Every person who is called to be a delegated authority should remember that” there is no authority except from God; and those that exist are set up by God” (Rom 13:1). He himself is not the authority, nor can anyone make himself an authority. His opinion’s, ideas and thoughts are no better than those of others. They are utterly worthless. Only what comes from God constitutes authority and commands man’s obedience. A delegated authority is to represent God’s authority, never to assume that he too has authority.
We ourselves have not the slightest authority in the home, the world, or the church. All we can do is execute God’s authority; we cannot create authority for ourselves. The policeman and the judge execute authority and enforce the law, but they should not write the law themselves. Likewise, those who are placed in authority in the church merely represent God’s authority. Their authority is due to their being in a representative capacity, not because they in themselves have any merit more excellent than the rest. No one is able to be God’s delegated authority unless he has learned to obey God’s authority and understand His will.
2) He must deny himself. Until he knows the will of God he should keep his mouth shut. He should not execute authority carelessly. He is to represent God must learn on the positive side what God’s authority is and on the negative side to deny himself. Nether God nor brothers or sisters will treasure your thoughts. Probably you yourself in the whole world who considers your opinions the best. Persons with many opinions, ideas, and subjective thoughts are to be feared. They like to be counselors to all. They seize upon every opportunity to press their ideas on others. God ca never use a person so full of opinions, ideas, and thoughts as one to represent His authority. For example who would ever employ a spendthrift to keep his accounts? To do so would be to invite acute sufferings. Nor will God engage a man of many opinions’ to keep His delegated authority lest He too should suffer damage.
Unless we are completely broken by the Lord we are not qualified to be God’s delegated authority, God calls us to His authority, not to substitute His authority. God is sovereign in His personality and position. His will is His. He never consults with man nor does He allow anyone to be His councilor. Consequently, one who represents authority must not be a subjective person.
This is not to imply that before a man can be used by God he must be reduced to no opinion or thought or judgement, not at all. It merely means that a man must be truly broken; his cleverness and his opinions and his thoughts must all be broken. Those who are naturally talkative, opinionated, and self-conceited need a radical dealing, a basic bending. This is something that can be neither a doctrine nor an intimidation. It must be wounds in the flesh. Only after one has been scourged by God does he begin to live in fear and trembling before Him. He dare not open his mouth inadvertently. Were his experience nothing more than doctrine or imitation, then as time goes on the fig leaves would soon dry up (Gen 3.7) and his original state would soon reappear. It is futile for us to control ourselves by our own will. In our much talking we will soon forget ourselves and expose the real self. How we need to be slain by God’s light. Only by such painful experiences shall we be delivered from ourselves.
3) We must keep in constant fellowship with the Lord. Those who are God’s delegated authorities need to maintain close fellowship with God. There must not only be communication but also communion.
Anyone who offers opinions freely and speaks in the name of the Lord carelessly is far away from God. He who mentions God’s name casually only proves his remoteness from God. Those who are near to God have a godly fear; they know how defiling it is to carelessly express their own opinions.
Communion, therefore, is another principal requirement for one in authority. The nearer one is to the Lord, the clearer he sees his own faults. Having been brought face to face with God, he dare not thereafter speak with such firmness. He has no confidence in the flesh; he begins to be afraid lest he be in err. On the other hand, those who speak casually expose themselves as bring far from God. The fear of God cannot be put on outwardly; only those who always wait on the Lord possess this virtue.
Never try to establish one’s own authority.
Authority is established by God; therefore no delegated authority need try to secure his authority. Do not insist that others listen to you. If they err, let them err; if they do not submit, let them be insubordinate; if they insist on going their own way, let them go. A delegated authority ought not to strive with men. It is not needful for me to force people to listen. God is my support.