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Focus Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10: 7 - 11

The definition of authority, per merriam-webster.com, is “The power to give orders or make decisions: the power or right to direct or control someone or something; the confident quality of someone who knows a lot about something or who is respected or obeyed by other people – or – a quality that makes something seem true or real.” ‘Authority’ is another word, in our current environment, that may be misinterpreted. But, I am going to attempt to make a case for a different look at authority. Though we are Christians, we are still in the world … and the world has an ability to affect us if we are not careful. It is why we must seek discernment in all that we do to determine Who we obey.

According to dictionary.com, the suffix –ity is “used to form abstract nouns expressing state or condition.” Our word, ‘author – ity’, is then expressing a state or condition of the author. Stay with me here as we switch to the Greek work that is translated to ‘authority’. That word is ‘exousia’ and is translated as authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right and rightly. Its root is the word ‘exesti’ and is translated as lawful, lawfully, may, mayest (KJV), and might.

In the Gospel According to Matthew, Christ is quoted, “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.” Matthew 5: 17, NLT. And in the letter to the Hebrews, the apostle writes, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2 (KJV)

Paul’s message in our scriptures this week reminds me of a recent advertisement for a particular insurance company where you could save 15% or more …. It’s set in the ‘Old West’ – there’s about to be a fight and ‘the Sheriff’ comes in. He talks his way through his actions and the tag lined voice over says, “If you walk the walk, you talk the talk, it’s what you do ….” What’s humorous is that ‘the Sheriff’ “walks the walk and talks the walk”. But that was his script. He followed what his author had him do.

We have a tendency in our culture to super-hero-ize (new word …) people and things. We idolize and idealize. Paul sets us straight on this point, when he writes, “For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.” 2 Corinthians 10:10-11 (NLT.) If Jesus is indeed the ‘author and finisher of our faith,’ then we must obey. For as the author – He commands authority. Paul admits what people say about him – that he is weak in person. All of us are weak, but if we abide and trust in Christ; then, we abide and trust in His power.

Among our additional scriptures, this week, I have included Mark 10: 42 – 45, (NLT) “So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Satan has an authority over this world; he authors lies. We must recognize this so that we may accurately discern who our Author is. Psalm 66: 10, “You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.” The Refiner – the ultimate silversmith – knows the silver is pure when He can see His reflection in His work. I pray that our lives reflect the state or condition of the Author and Finisher (or Refiner) of our faith.

Amen.

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