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The entire ministry of Jesus was a revelation of God's desire to do good for people. Jesus' God-given authority empowered Him to bring healing and deliverance to anyone who would give Him place in their life. It is evident from His ministry that those who let God move in their lives, receive the most from Him.

In order to benefit from anyone's position of authority, we must give them authority. You have the right to receive or not receive as you choose. When you hear your doctor's diagnosis, you must give him authority to the point where you act on his word in order to gain the benefits of his knowledge.

In this same way, people will not receive from God unless they give Him authority. God designed His entire kingdom to function based on receiving Him as the ultimate authority and His leaders as His representatives.

From the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, He defined the role that authority would have in receiving from God. In Luke 4, Jesus used two examples to give us a picture of how vital it is to give authority to God in order to receive from Him.
Then He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land; but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian."

So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff. Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.
(Luke 4:24-30)
His first example was Elijah. Elijah was sent to a widow to be cared for by her, but the real issue was beyond Elijah and his needs. God was also reaching the widow to whom Elijah was being sent. This was more about the miracle God had for this widow than meeting the prophet's needs.

Ravens had been bringing him food thus far and God could have continued to use them or any other means.

Note that Elijah was not sent to any of the widows in Israel, but to the widow in Zarephath. According to Adam Clarke's Commentary, the widow at Zarephath was a Sidonian. Zarephath was a pagan city in the country of Sidon, in the vicinity of Galilee.

Though the widow was not of Israel, God was still reaching to her with His love and provision so she and her son could live.

You Must Give Authority To Someone In Order To Receive From Them
The only way the widow would live was if she followed the words of the man of God completely. It certainly seemed unreasonable for Elijah to ask her for some of her food when she had only enough for one small serving for her and her son and nothing more. How could Elijah ask for a portion of an amount so little? Why would God require the widow to give like this?

In God's Kingdom you must trust and obey to link yourself with His power and provision. She had to give God authority in her life. The meal was hers to keep or to give, but in order to receive from God, she would have to trust that God would provide for her needs as the prophet had said.

Her giving was the avenue God would use to link her to His ability. He was ready and willing to give, but she must trust Him to receive. At this point the only thing of value she possessed was the little bit of meal and a little oil, but that was more than enough. God used her giving to sustain the widow, her son, and Elijah through a time of drought and famine.

The same thing is happening now. God wants us to yield to Him, trusting Him to provide abundantly. Your ability to receive is inseparably linked to your willingness to yield to Him.

The widow joined herself to the promise God made to Elijah. God said He would provide for the prophet and now through giving and yielding her authority, the widow was linked to the promise for provision also. She could receive his promise because she was under his authority.

Elisha and Naaman
The second example Jesus noted was of Naaman. Naaman was a powerful warrior who lived during the time of Elisha. As a Syrian, he did not know much about the prophets or leaders in Israel, but God had Naaman's servant bring him the hope that he could be healed of the leprosy that afflicted him. Naaman then gained permission from his king to go to the prophet in Israel to pursue his healing.

When this warrior came to the tent of the prophet of God he was not prepared for what was about to happen. 2 Kings 5:9-14 gives the account:
Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha's house. And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, "Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean." But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, "Indeed, I said to myself, 'He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.' Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?"

So he turned and went away in a rage. And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, "My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, 'Wash, and be clean'?" So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.
(2 Kings 5:9-14)
Naaman had already determined what Elisha would do and how he would be healed. When it did not happen in the way Naaman envisioned, he reacted and nearly lost everything he had come to obtain.

This lesson is powerful. We can miss the very things God wants to bring to us if we refuse to lay our pride and preferences down to do things His way.

It was another servant that boldly spoke up and helped him let go of the anger that was blinding him. Once he saw that the prophet's directions were not hard to follow, he yielded himself to the man of God and was healed from head to foot.

Authority Must Be Taken And It Must Be Given
As believers, we have also been given authority over all the works of the devil. We have authority over him and all of his tactics against us. It is imperative that we know that the authority of the name of Jesus has been entrusted to us.

You have authority and can take authority over him. You have been given a position of authority over the devil and his works, yet to truly use this authority you must be under an authority. Your strength is not in yourself, but in the One to whom you have yielded. Giving your authority to another connects you to the benefit their authority can bring to you.

The centurion that came to Jesus for his servant also understood that being under authority is the very thing that gives you authority. He said, "I am also a man under authority..." That was the key issue to his great faith. Jesus marveled that he grasped His authority and the power available as a result. Jesus called this the greatest faith He had seen in Israel and as in the case of the widow, it was found in someone who was not an Israelite, but this time an Italian, a Roman centurion.

When you yield to another's authority you connect yourself to the creative goodness of God flowing through them. Giving authority to a Christian leader in your life or a church connects you with the creative good that ministry is anointed to bring you. So many times people remain distant from the blessing God wants to bring to them because they do not trust the people He brings into their lives.

The root of this is fear, fear of giving control to another person, but remember that giving authority is not about giving up control. The fear of being controlled by others has stopped us from giving authority to others, but authority is not about control. Authority brings the creative goodness of God into your life.

Like the widow, Elisha, and the centurion, you too can receive all of the goodness God has provided for your life. It means, however, giving authority to Him, obeying His Word, following the instructions He gives you, and listening to those He sends into your life. For as Psalm 107:43 says, "Whoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord."

First published in Words To The WiseDennis Burke Ministries. Reprinted by permission.

Author Biography

Dennis Burke, Ph.D.
Web site: Dennis Burke Ministries
Since 1979, Dennis Burke has led multitudes of believers into the biblical principles of faith, healing, love, prosperity, and righteousness. Through the Insights: the Way to a New Life magazine, books, eBooks, CDs, and mp3 resources, Dennis has brought revelation knowledge on the truths of God's Word. He has taught Christians everywhere to know God more deeply and overcome the challenges life brings through faith in God's Word.

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