Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the difficulties that confront you in your life? Our enemy, Satan, wants us to feel powerless in the face of the problems we encounter, but we don't have to be defeated by them. God has given us the authority we need to overcome the things that rise up to hinder us.
In fact, He has given us authority over all Satan's power. Jesus assures us: "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you" (Luke 10:19, NIV, emphasis added). Some of us are good about waging war against the devil when he attacks us through difficult circumstances. But too often we don't recognize him when he shows up in the skin of someone we know or love. We tend to react as though it is the person who is the problem.
However, God's Word makes it clear that "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Eph. 6:12). We need to stop fighting people and start fighting the "spiritual forces of evil" that are the source of the trouble.
What does this mean in practical terms? Let's say you are raising a teenager who has brought an atmosphere of discord into your home. When he begins acting out of a rebellious spirit, you have the power to take authority over that spirit and bind it from operating. Use your authority to establish the atmosphere in your home by binding any spirits that are behind the situation.
Stand in faith and continue to speak what God has said about what you're facing. If you shift and begin to agree with the enemy because of what you see or hear, you give him the power to remain in place.
Though you can't control the will of another person, you can take authority over the spirits that may be motivating him to act a certain way. Jesus once said to Peter, "'Get behind Me, Satan'" (Matt. 16:23) in response to a comment Peter made that was not in concert with God's plan for His Son. Jesus wasn't saying that Peter was Satan but that Peter's comment originated from a demonic source.
Webster's Dictionary defines "authority" as "the right to govern, control or command." It is delegated power from one at a higher level. All believers have it and should operate in it to bring God's power and rulership into earthly situations.
The key to walking in God-given authority is being in close fellowship with the Holy Spirit. The authority God has given us is delegated and not something we can operate with independent of Him.
Just as a tram is able to fulfill its purpose of transporting many people only when it is connected to a power source, so we, as members of the body of Christ, must be connected to the head of the body—Jesus—through the Holy Spirit in order to function as we were intended to. If we try to separate from the source of power in our lives and still operate as though we are connected, it will be just a matter of time until we fall flat.
But if we make a habit of spending time with Him, we will learn to hear Him more clearly and be able to discern what is behind the difficulties that beset us. Then we can take bold action against our enemy, using the authority He has freely given every believer in Christ.