Power vs Authority: JB was one of the sharpest recruits in my academy class. She was a great communicator, which is one of the most important tools to be equipped with as a Law Enforcement officer.
JB stood approx. 5’2″ and weighed about 110 lbs. She graduated at the top of our class academically. After graduation, we both were assigned to a maximum security male jail facility.
JB worked the PM shift and I worked the night shift, which means that I was the Deputy assigned to relieve her of duty at the end of her shift. Our facility was a direct supervision facility, which means that the Deputies are locked inside the module with the inmates.
With the authority we have been given in the Name of Jesus we can do exploits in His name! And when we exercise our authority, we have the one who is all powerful backing us up.
The cells that lined the walls were open all day and all the inmates were allowed to roam free to watch TV, workout or talk among themselves at their leisure.
I remember night after night of walking up to the module at 10:00PM and seeing a huge circle of inmates…maybe 30-40 all focused in on something taking place in the middle of the circle. Once inside the module, I found JB in the center of the circle talking to the guys about life experiences and things that would come in handy for them once they were released from jail.
It took me quite a while to get used to seeing this tiny female engulfed by these huge guys in a way that reminded me of story time when I was a child in elementary school. There’s no way JB had the power to fight off an attack from any one of these guys, let alone 30-40 of them. So what gave JB the courage to interact with these inmates as she did?
The answer: Her authority.
If given the choice between power and authority, I would choose authority any day. Even though JB had limited physical power against the inmates, she had the ultimate authority to make these guys lives a living hell if she used it.
She could deny them their main meals; she could petition that they lose their “good behavior” credit which would prolong their time in jail. She could send them to a 24 hour confinement unit. She could take away their TV privileges. She could take away their workout time. She could deny their visitor privileges. She could deny them the privilege of sending and receiving mail. She had so many options at her disposal, all of which are backed by the Sheriff of LA County himself.
A few years later I worked a patrol unit with JB. I’ve seen her direct traffic on many occasions during special events. I’ve seen this 110 lb. woman raise her hand and stop 2 ton big rigs in their tracks based upon the authority that she was given by the County of Los Angeles.
Likewise as Christians, we are no match physically for forces that may come against us. However we are more than conquerors spiritually and can (and should) triumph in every attack. We as Christians have been given authority by Jesus Christ. We don’t need to match physical strengths with our enemy! We couldn’t even if we tried. But with the authority we have been given in the Name of Jesus we can do exploits in His name! And when we exercise our authority, we have the one who is all powerful backing us up.
Authority supersedes power
I bring you the good news today that you no longer have to let your “Big Rig” sized problems steam role over you. Jesus has given us all the authority we need to stop our problems in their tracks (notice, I didn’t say you would never have anymore problems). Begin to exercise the authority He has given you in the Name of Jesus and watch His Word begin to change things in your life.
I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy and nothing will harm you. Luke 10:19 NIV