The Believer’s Authority
Duane Vander Klok
You have an enemy. While he might not be visible through natural eyes, Satan, or the devil as he is known, is very real. He is not an imaginary, mythical character, but a spirit being whose number one goal is to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). The devil is at the root of everything evil, and he works in an attempt to cause destruction to believers and the work of Jesus Christ.
This does not mean that you need to be fearful because, while the devil is against you, God is for you! He has provided everything you need to walk in victory over the devil and his works. 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that, “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
Before you read further, know this: those who have victory are not those who have no struggles, but those who persist and keep going forward. Without struggles, there would be no need for the power to overcome them. Also, know that no one walks in authority by following a formula; it is about a realization of who the enemy is, and it is about knowing who you are and what you have been given in Christ.
Exposing the Enemy
Whether you realize it or not, Satan knows your strengths and weaknesses. He is watching for opportunities to catch you off guard so he can slip in and cause trouble for you. When that happens, he hopes you will be like many Christians and put the blame elsewhere.
As a subtle manipulator of circumstances, the devil tries to hide his activities by making you blame events, people, or even God for the destructive things he does. Make no mistake about it: your parents, your spouse, your children, your pastor, your employer, God – none of these are the real enemy.
Who is the enemy? Ephesians 6:12 says, “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The devil is the real enemy!
“Like” a Roaring Lion
1 Peter 5:8-9 (NIV) advises us to: “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…” Notice that this verse does not say the devil is a roaring lion. It says he is like a roaring lion. He wants to make you believe he has more power than he really does, and he manages to fool the majority of people. The truth is, the devil’s only weapon is that of deception. He has no legal authority over believers.
When Jesus died and rose again, He not only saved you from an eternity in hell, He also redeemed you from Satan’s power and dominion over you on the earth. 1 John 3:8 tells us, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”
Not only that, but it is recorded in Colossians 2:15 that Jesus “disarmed principalities and powers,” and “He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them…” The devil is already defeated, and his power has been dismantled by the finished work of Christ on the cross.
You Have Authority
Jesus said, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you” (Luke 10:19). That is a great deal of authority!
How is it, then, that the devil is able to keep causing believers so much trouble? It is because many do not exercise the authority God has given them. They are not walking in the understanding that, even though Jesus won the victory, they need to enforce that victory in their daily lives.
Think of it this way: it is illegal for someone to break into your house, but don’t you still lock your doors to discourage thieves and to protect your property? In the same way, when it comes to Satan trying to gain entrance into your life, you need to exercise your blood-bought right to close the door in his face. By resisting the devil and standing firm in the faith, you are actively enforcing Jesus’ victory.
God has given you all the authority you need to be able to stand against the devil and his works. He has also provided you with armor and spiritual weapons for your warfare against Satan. In his letter to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul describes these items and defines how to use them. He writes, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13).
Paul made it clear that, while God has provided the armor, it is the believer’s responsibility to put it on and stand against the enemy. We must take our position of authority and use what God has given us.
In the Name of Jesus
The name of Jesus is powerful. Philippians 2:9-10 says, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth…” When you use Jesus’ name, Satan’s strongholds cannot stand (see 2 Corinthians 10:4).
Think of using the name of Jesus the same way you would use a key to unlock a lock. It doesn’t matter if the key belongs to you or not, if you have it in your hand you can open the lock. It is the same with the name of Jesus. Jesus won the victory. Power over the devil is rightfully His, but He has given you the authority to use His name. You have His key in your hand.
Begin today to take authority over the devil and his works in the name of Jesus. When you command him to leave, he must obey just as if Jesus were commanding him (see Mark 16:17). You can say, “Sickness, go in the name of Jesus” or “Depression, you must leave in Jesus’ name” or “Devil, in the name of Jesus, get out of here!” He has to leave because of the authority that is in Jesus’ name.
Keep the Devil Out
Ephesians 4:27 tells us not to give any place to the devil. Whether you have been a believer for twenty days or twenty years, keep building your relationship with God through daily Bible reading, meditating on the Word, and praying. Be involved in a good, Bible-believing church, and develop the practices of fasting, worshiping, and giving. When it comes to keeping the devil out, there is no substitute for godly living.
You do not want to be one who unintentionally gives the devil access by entertaining sin, by being disobedient, or by rebelling against God. Make sure you are quick to forgive others as Christ has forgiven you because having an unwillingness to forgive others can give the devil a foothold in your life (Mark 11:25).
James 4:7 instructs us to, “Submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Because Jesus resisted the devil by submitting to God, He could say, “…he (the devil) has nothing in Me” (John 14:30). He left no room for the devil to take advantage of Him. Likewise, when you submit to God and resist the devil in the authority Christ has given you, the devil must leave.
The victory Christ won, He won for you. After He rose from the grave, victorious over death, sin, and the devil, He proclaimed, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). When you received Christ as the Lord of your life, Colossians 1:13 says you were delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into God’s kingdom.
You can take a bold stand against the devil and his works because of your position in Christ and because you have been given authority over Satan in the name of Jesus. As Proverbs 28:1 says, “The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Submit to God, boldly exercise the authority He has given you, and stand firm because, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
If you found this article helpful, you may also be interested in Pastor Duane Vander Klok’s series, Demonstrating Satan’s Defeat.
(All scriptures are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless otherwise stated.)