In a recent conversation with my husband where we were discussing with sadness how overwhelming the darkness of this present world can feel, he shared an interesting thought with me. He said “Satan only has the power we give him”. As I began to think about that, I was reminded of an article I had seen posted about a year ago. A quick research helped me to find the article again so I could read it afresh.
In this article , first posted in August of 2016, Pastor Colin Smith talks about where authority comes from. He says:
If you think about the word “authority,” it comes from the word “author.” We know from Genesis 1 that God is the Author of the entire universe (including Satan himself)! Remember, Satan is an angel, created by God. Satan is not divine. He is not God’s equal. The closest Satan comes to being an author is by twisting what God has done, and turning it into sin. He’s the author of lies.
“All authority comes from God, and those in position of authority have been placed there by God” (Romans 13:1). I take this to refer to human authority. Now, notice what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28: “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to…” who? Me! Therefore, no authority that God has given has been given to Satan. So any authority that Satan exercises was taken, not given. He is, by definition, unauthorized!
What a revelation! To add my own thoughts to what Pastor Smith was saying, in the Garden, God gave man authority, to subdue and rule over all the earth and everything in it (Genesis 1:26-28). When Adam and Eve sinned, that was just the beginning of Satan taking that authority bit by bit, dominating this world and ruling over it instead!
You might be thinking, “wait, didn’t Satan tell Jesus that this domain had been handed over to him, to give to whoever he pleased? How could he offer something that wasn’t his to give, otherwise what would have made that a true temptation to Jesus”? You would be right! But ask yourself this, who is the one to hand it over”? Let’s take a closer look.
And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Luke 4:6 NASB (emphasis mine)
The phrase “handed over” comes from the Greek word παραδίδόωμι (transliteration: paradidómi), meaning to hand over, deliver, or surrender. Who was it that surrendered that authority? It was US! The fall of man may have brought a curse upon the earth, but God did not take away the authority He had given us, and He certainly did not hand it over to Satan. We are the ones who have since then continued to hand over our power and authority!
You may be wondering just how this effects our lives today? Every time and in every way we choose not to bow down to Christ and to align with His Word and awesome rule, makes us guilty of the sin of Esau. Why? Because we are handing over our spiritual birthright for something more immediately gratifying, even though it is temporary and fleeting. We are once again guilty of handing Satan our authority.
Think of all the Christians who have mentally, spiritually, and sometimes physically abandoned their “posts” to go sit on some figurative or ethereal mountaintop, waiting for Christ’s return while Satan and his hordes move into our towns, cities, governments, schools, hospitals, and yes, even churches, all because we refuse to take and exercise the rightful authority given to us as heirs to the promise. We’ve been duped into thinking God is abandoning this world, and that we no longer have the authority given to us.
God’s perfect plan was for us to rule this present earth, not Satan. That has not changed! Though the Father may allow this transfer of authority for a time, Satan knows his days are numbered. We need to continually remind ourselves that all authority and power was given to Jesus by the Father, and it is through Jesus that we can begin to regain the ground that is rightfully ours.
If we don’t want to be like Esau and abandon our birthright, then it is time we make up our minds who we want to surrender our authority to. We fool ourselves if we believe we are not surrendering at all. We are either surrendered to God or to Satan, with no in between. Surrendering our authority to Satan may look empowering, pleasing, , and promising at first, but only leads us down a path of pain, unforgiveness, death, and destruction. Surrendering to Christ at first appears as if we are losing our authority, our rights to ourselves, but once the decision is made we find life, love, and liberty, and we reclaim the authority given to us.
Now is not the time to sit on our duff in our little chamber and read the good book in secrecy, but to proclaim God’s Kingdom and salvation, share His love, and push back the lines of darkness wherever we are: to engage and actively be a part of God’s Kingdom here and now! We have the power to both bind and to lose (Matthew 18:18, Matthew 16:19), so let’s keep our eyes focused on Christ, take it and use it. Occupy until He comes!
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