When you understand authority, the operation of faith becomes simple. Faith is not something you have to dissect, strive with, or study for weeks, months or years before finally reaching a great level of spirituality. The greatest way to grow in faith is simply to use it.
We know from Romans 12:3 that every believer has been given the same measure of faith, so why do some believers see more miracles and answers to prayer in their lives than others? In fact, in James 1:22, we are commanded to use our faith, to be “doers of the Word and not hearers only.”
The Word of God declares in James 2:17, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead..” But when a believer understands and exercises their authority in Jesus Christ, their faith is not alone anymore.
Authority energizes faith and releases God’s power into our circumstances.
When we pray in the name of Jesus and believe His Word, our faith is ignited by our God-given authority, and the Holy Spirit moves to perform His Word.
Sometimes we make faith complicated, when it is really very simple: God gave it to us, and now we must use it through our authority in Jesus’ name. The more we use our faith, the more we begin to understand it and grow in it.
There are only two places in the gospels where it says Jesus marveled. One of those is in Matthew 8 where He marveled at the faith of the Roman centurion.
“Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him…
And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel” Matthew 8:5-10
The Roman centurion was a military man who understood authority, and because of his understanding he had great faith. Therefore, we see that understanding authority plays an important part in growing in faith and pleasing God.
On the television one day, before airing the Army-Navy game, there was a special on the students of military schools. The freshmen had to memorize the front page of the newspaper and the front page of the sports section every day. They could be questioned at any time by upper-classmen about the articles and were required to give correct answers. Wherever they walked, they had to walk next to the walls and make ninety-degree turns whenever they turned. Whenever an instructor told them to do something, they were to obey immediately, without question.
The interviewer asked some of these young men why they did these things, and they all replied that they were never given a reason. However, the purpose of all of these tasks was for them to learn discipline and immediate obedience, because in combat, a lack of discipline could cost them their lives or the lives of their friends and fellow servicemen.
This is what the Roman centurion meant when he said to Jesus, “For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes.” He said he was under authority, which meant that he disciplined himself to obey the orders of his superiors, and therefore he could expect those under him to obey his orders.
No believer is going to be able to take authority over the devil with confidence if he isn’t first submitted to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. (See James 4:7).
In every area of the Christian life, our personal relationship and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ is the foundation for our boldness to obey the Word of God and overcome adversity.
When Jesus marveled at the centurion’s faith, He said, “I have not found so great faith, no not in Israel.” And if any group of people should have understood faith, it was the nation of Israel! However, most of the Jewish people did nothing but question and doubt everything Jesus said and did.
Jesus’ authority was being displayed in the miracles He performed and the knowledge and wisdom He imparted, but the Jews argued with Him and continued to reject Him. However, the Roman centurion accepted Jesus without question because He recognized Jesus’ authority. For the centurion, having faith in Jesus was a simple, logical conclusion to what he had heard and seen of Him.
It is no different for believers today, because Jesus is “the same, yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). When we fully accept and recognize the authority that has been given to us through His finished work in the cross and resurrection, and we begin to release the power that stands behind his great and might name, then we will begin to see the victory, success, and prosperity in our lives that the Bible promises.
One of the most amazing discoveries in the Christian life is this: You don’t have to understand the Word of God to obey it. If you first obey the Word of God, you will come to understand it later.
I’m glad I didn’t have to understand the new birth before I gave my life to Jesus! And I’m still learning about the tremendous blessings that were given to me the moment I became a child of God.
You don’t have to understand how divine healing works to be healed, or how demons leave to be set free. All you need to know is that the Word of God says when you are in Christ you have authority over these things – “all things” have been put under His feet—and it is up to you to take your God-given authority and use it.
As you live your life according to the Word of God over the years, you will grow spiritually and begin to understand the depths of God’s purposes and ways. But in the beginning, like the Roman centurion, all you need to know is that Jesus is Lord of all, and through Him you have authority over Satan and every evil thing.