When we look at Scripture we see the Apostle Paul find his confidence and boldness as an “Apostle of Christ Jesus.” It is easy for us to assume the authority comes from the title “Apostle” but the only reason it carries any authority is because it is connected to Jesus. He found his confidence in Jesus?
Consider all the places where we look for confidence and boldness in life. We easily turn to our physical appearances. If we feel like we are in shape and eating healthy then we walk with a little pep in our step. We also turn to our finances. If our savings is growing then we feel confident about life. We turn to our circle of friends also. If they are inviting us places and including us in social activities then we tend to feel better about ourselves.
We turn to so many other areas of our life and when we see those areas we need to identify those false authorities and expose those false authorities. Here’s what it looks like in my life personally.
Identify: One of my false authorities I cling to is job performance. If I am doing well in my job then I feel confident about life. Specifically in the area of preaching and teaching: This might surprise some people, but I get really nervous in front of people. In fact, early on in my career I would get so nervous in front of people that my leg would start to shake so much that I couldn’t stop it. It was awkward.
Expose: This is usually a little more complicated so I broke it down to 3 steps:
- Confession and repentance: We identify and we bring to Jesus. Jesus isn’t calling me to drum up my own authority. He isn’t calling me to figure this out on my own. He is calling me to turn to Him and remember that He is all the authority we need. He has already established His authority when He spoke creation into existence. He has already entered into the fight at the incarnation. He has already conquered sin at the cross. He has already been declared victorious at the resurrection. Therefore, my response is to turn from those areas of authority in my life that are insufficient and trust in Him.
- Prepare for battle: An athlete doesn’t just jump into a game off the street. A soldier doesn’t just show up on the front line off the couch. They go to training camp. They prepare. This means we need to learn Scripture. This means we need to learn how to pray. This means we need to learn how to talk to other people about what we believe. Why? So we can more easily identify and expose false authorities so that we can ultimately trust in Jesus.
- Put on your gloves: I don’t mean this to sound overly masculine. We have female boxers so it applies to men and women. But, we need to put on our gloves and attack those areas of false authority. Specifically, in the area of preaching and teaching it means before I get up to teach I go to Jesus and I pray, “Jesus these are your people. Jesus these are your truths. Holy Spirit open our hearts and minds to hear from you. This isn’t about me. I don’t have anything to offer. I need you to do a work.” I will say this prayer over and over and over and over in my head to remind myself that it is only in Jesus where I will find authority.
Afterwards, I will typically sit down and read through my notes one time. Inside I would love to leave, get alone, and listen to the delivery so I could analyze each word. Why? Because I want to find my authority in preaching and teaching, and job performance. But, I can’t. Instead I skim over my notes one time, put them up, and pray, “Thank you Jesus.” I thank Jesus for the opportunity. I thank Jesus for letting me serve and be involved. I pray that His will would be done and I sing along with you guys on Sunday morning.
You might be thinking, “Geez, someone should really encourage this guy more often.” But, it wouldn’t help. It is so deeply twisted in my heart that when others say, “Good job, thanks, that was awesome” I have this inner voice that says, “They probably just feel sorry for you because it was such a bad job.” That is why I have to go to battle. I have to fight. I have to step into the inner ring of my insecurity, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, punch it in the face!
I am sure this might sound a little foreign, but can I tell you how much freedom, joy and rest it brings when I fight for these truths in my life. It isn’t about what I do or don’t do. It isn’t about my timing and how I wanted to deliver a certain word or phrase. It isn’t about my verbal mistakes when I speak in the wrong tense. It isn’t about me so much that God could actually use my fumbles, flaws, and misspoken words to do a greater work in the lives of other people for His glory. Because His authority is greater!
Where are you false authorities? How can you confront those false authorities and experience repentance? What would it look like in your life to find your confidence and boldness in Christ Jesus?