Authority and Love – A Wake Up Call for Marriage, Family and The Church

True Authority

“My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest.  To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point.  An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others.  When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean.  Keep to the point; He does know.  Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only – My Utmost for His Highest.  I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone. Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest (emphasis mine and added)

How does Christ’s Love in our life affect our relationship with Him and others?  How does His Authority or Lordship in our life impact our relationships with Him and others?  Are we living according to His Love and in His Lordship?

For our purpose, and in line with God’s Word, authority and lordship are synonymous and leadership flows from who or whatever is the authority or lord in your life, circumstances and relationships.

Authority and Love – A Real Life Story

Dennis came in late one afternoon and sat down in my office.  Well, it seemed late because it was just a few days before Christmas and the days were getting shorter and the burdens heavier. 

He told me he thought his marriage was over.  There was no communication and he’d tried to be a servant-leader to his new wife and blended family, but nothing seemed to work.  So he reverted back to all he’d ever known—demanding, yelling, foul language—but only after she had pushed all his buttons, called him a few choice names, and manipulated him to get her way.

I asked him why he chose to enter into the shouting match and “control game.” He simply said, “It’s all I’ve ever known, all I’ve ever seen.  When things get bad, you just buck up and take control.”

Sound familiar?  Likely so.  While this is a true story, it is also one of the most common themes I see these days in couples and marriages (if they’ve even chosen to walk the path of marriage).  Love is lived out as feelings and emotions and when they get out of control, there is little love and a lot of accusations, demands and “lording it over” the little woman or manipulating the husband to get what he or she wants. 

So, what is Love and Authority?  God, in His Word, has much to say about authority and love and both are necessary to build Godly relationships that reflect His image and glory.

With that said, I want to make sure we’re all speaking the same language and on the same page as you make your way through this book.

I don’t know about you but I probably should have paid a bit more attention in English class (sorry Ms. Lake and Dr. Harrison) but in language there is a strong need to recognize and understand “root words.”  The root word found in any word gives us insight as to its meaning.  If we don’t know the root word, then we are either already lost and/or easily deceived.

Authority and The Author

As we focus on authority, we will see that in God’s Kingdom Love and Lordship can never be separated.

Everybody knows that lordship is authority or control and love is a feeling, right?  Unfortunately, these fallacies persist in our culture. Maybe that’s the problem and why we need to better understand Authority. 

As a matter of fact, that’s exactly why we need to define key terms so readers understand what is being said according to the author.  Isn’t that interesting—according to the author?  Why do I italicize that word?

What do you think of when you hear “authority?”

When I’m sharing this message, in particular in prisons and addiction rehab facilities, the first answer is almost always, “Police,” followed by “Courts, government,” and “boss, manager, and superior.”  You get the picture.

When we come across the word “authority,” many of us immediately think in terms of control, supervision, management, or ruling/lording over others.  While authority may connote these ideas to some degree, we need to begin with the root word to truly understand what authority is. 

So why was “author” italicized earlier?  Author is the root word of “authority.”  This means that before we define authority as controlling or ruling over someone by position or rank, we need to understand who the “author” is for that rank, position, or title.

In its simplest form, authority means pertaining to, or of, the author.

With this in mind, it would be wise of us to find out who is in Authority.  Once we know who the Author is, we can determine what the Author meant by what was said or done.

Why do we begin with Authority or Lordship?  If we can determine Who the Author is, then Authority rests with that person or being and everything else comes from the Author. Every other word is defined, action is determined, and outcomes are judged accordingly.  Of course, this includes love.

Knowing the Author means we can define and determine what everything else is according to the Author’s Truth or Authority.

It’s this simple.  The Author is God, The Father; God, The Son; God, The Holy Spirit, and He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, The Bible.  This means that Authority comes from Him and is what He says it is. This holds true for Love as well.

Now you can choose to believe He is not the Authority, but if you do that then whom are you going to choose as authority in your life?  Whoever is the strongest?  Has the most money?  Has the most power or control?  Yourself?  Oh, now we begin to see how authority gets aligned with control and ruling or lording over others as it is rooted in selfishness and control.  If I don’t like your position and the way you do things, then I simply need to accumulate enough money, followers, powers, or manipulation and I can overthrow you and make the rules as I choose.

In case you’ve not been observing history, the battle for worldly authority (who’s actually in control) is never good and never settled.

So we need an Author in order to truly have Authority or Lordship, and we need to know what the Author says.  Why Love and Lordship?  Because I’ve learned in my own life and in being married, raising children, coaching, and teaching hundreds of young people and mentoring hundreds of men and couples, that even in our churches, these are two of the most used and talked about words—yet very few in our culture and world today know what they really are.

You know who does?  The Author!  Why not look at what He says about Love and Lordship so we can be grounded and rooted in True Authority.

God and Christ is The Author

If God and Christ is the Author (and He is), then we should submit to Him as the Authority.  This means that His Word is Truth and His Truth is lived out in the Order (principles and priorities) that He Authored or Designed.  It also means that we must do this in every part of our lives—individually, relationally, collectively/ communally, and systemically.  God’s divine order always moves in this pattern.

God’s design is that we only can go as far as “leadership” will take us and in the direction and depth that “leaders” are going. Are we following God’s design or is it evident in our culture (and churches) that we are not raising up godly leaders—in marriage/family, in our churches, and in our world?

I pray this is convicting!  If we are convicted that we are living according to God’s plan and Word, then we will be encouraged to stand strong and keep the faith, individually and collectively.  If, however, we are not following His plan and Word, and culture would seem to reveal there is much more “fruit” to indicate this to be the case, then our conviction will challenge us to humbly accept and change what we are doing for our sake, and even more importantly, for the sake of His Family and Kingdom.

By the way, here are Scriptures regarding God’s Authority placed in Christ…

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to me.” By whom? The answer is: God the Father gave it to him.

Matthew 11:27 – All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.

John 3:35 – The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.

John 13:3 – Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God . . . knelt down and washed the apostles’ feet.

Ephesians 1:20–21 – God raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.

John 17:2 – Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

Philippians 2:9-11Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Stay tuned for more on His Authority and Love in the coming weeks.

Make it a great day and God bless in Christ!

Love and Lordship…Food for Thought – Authority is not control, its recognizing and willfully submitting the Author.  Are you in a position of authority?  Are you under the authority of others?  Are you practicing Christ-like authority and submission or applying a cultural concept of authority?

Love and Lordship…Action Item – Take inventory and pay attention to your response to authority over this next week as well as how you practice it in your various roles – spouse, parent, vocational position.  Are you responding in submission to authority or in applying it as Christ, The Author taught and modeled?