Throughout scripture, there is a connection between authority and humility, by definition, a clear contrast. Yet in the eyes of God, one cannot exist without the other. Authority is the ability to have influence or control over others, a definite God-given power. While humility is a reflection of character, a quality of viewing oneself of lesser importance, in comparison to another.
To simply put it, if we hope to channel healthy, heavenly authority in our relationships we must also walk in Christ-like modesty. When we direct our friendships, relationships and conversations in pure acceptance, the people in our lives will willingly share and listen to the guidance we can offer. If we can be genuine in showing goodness and grace, then our Father will use us to proclaim His truths over circumstance.
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” Titus 3:1-2 NASB
Before we can bear the spirit of authority, we first must submit to the highest in power, the King of Kings. This is where humility comes into play in our relationship with God. Our hearts should echo the words, “Lord, your thoughts are not my own and your ways are much higher than any I could imagine.” As we approach Him with our hands turned upward, surrendering all ignorance, we acknowledge His authority. This is humility.
Likewise, in relationships I am at my best when I set myself aside, to focus on the immediate needs of another. This is when the Lord intercedes His wisdom, bestows His authority and speaks life-giving truth. I have always been a sympathetic person, but I didn’t always know how to properly display it. Unaware of how to control it, at times I would find myself in uncomfortable situations with the wrong people because I “felt bad for them.” Let’s clear the air here. It isn’t wrong to feel for someone, but when you sacrifice your faith, you lose all the right authority.
Relational authority is crucial because in our desire to help the ones we love, it will only be fruitful when it is in line with the word of God. How do we know if we are walking in our God given authority? When we humble ourselves before Him and those we love.
“You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 NASB
If we are to be of relational value, then it is in our best interest to admit we are not the master of our own lives. We must first submit to the authority of God. After all, He created it.
“For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:16 NIV
The key to authority is humility. Once we acknowledge who is in charge, our lives will begin to reflect a humble nature. One cannot lead effectively, efficiently or honestly out of selfish ambitions. Authentic authority places the interests of others above all titles or rewards. What does legitimate leadership look like? Jesus.
I encourage you this week to recognize relationships where you exercise godly authority, and others that may require a little more attention. Isn’t it true we all want to look a little more like Jesus? Let’s start here.
“Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.” 1 Peter 2:17 NASB