“God has put all things under the authority of Christ and has made him head over all things for the benefit of the church.” (Ephesians 1:22)
One Spring evening, I was jogging home alone along my street when all of a sudden, an owl grabbed my hair bun and disappeared. To my shock and dismay, I screamed and looked behind me to find the owl in a nearby tree. This was not the first time I had come against a bird flying near my head, and so as with other bird encounters, I decided to run for it… worst mistake… the owl came at me again, only this time, its claw brushed against my scalp! At this point, all adrenaline kicked in and I was very scared, as I began praying in tongues out loud, all self-consciousness out the window, I lost my sense of coordination and tripped twice hitting the ground very hard. With bleeding hands and ripped jeans, hope was waning as I contemplated where I could hide and what the worst outcome would be. There was no one around to help me and there was nowhere to hide. My final attempt to see something change was simply crying out as loud as I could: JESUS, HELP ME! In that moment, a house light turned on to my right side and two gentlemen came out toward their car. I ran toward them and found safety.
I don’t tell this story to make anyone scared of owls, as they are God’s wonderful creatures, but I learned something powerful that frightful day: I have authority as a child of God to appropriate the powerful name of Jesus and I can expect my circumstances to change by faith. I realize this story can seem trivial and perhaps amusing, but the truth is, we all face moments in our lives when we come against a challenging situation where hope might seem lost and we might feel alone and powerless. But the truth is, as soon as we have believed that Jesus is the son of God and we receive the gift of grace and forgiveness for our sins, we have the right to become children of God (John 1:12). As children of God (our spiritual identity), we have been given the authority to pray in the name of Jesus, “to forbid on earth that which is forbidden in heaven, and to release on earth that which is released in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)
The problem is, many of us don’t know or we forget what our spiritual identity is and the authority we have been given by Jesus! This is exactly where Satan likes to keep us – ignorant or forgetful – because he knows that if we stay in this place, we will never be able to show others what the Father is really like and never be able to ultimately bring Him glory (John 14:13). Jack Hayford puts it this way in his book, Rebuilding the Real You, “These credentials – the privilege of praying and operating in the name of Jesus – are the letters of authority pressed into your hand by Christ the King. The Holy Spirit will teach you to function in those rights. This is a significant point for you because we are a people living on a planet where authority is contested at every juncture.”
How do we solve this problem of a lack of spiritual identity and authority? I strongly encourage every believer to pick up, learn, remain in and wield on a daily basis the greatest weapon we have been given – the Word of God. As Hayford stated in his book, the Holy Spirit will help you to do this! We don’t battle alone, we have the very breath and power of God ready to remind us, help us, and empower us to live and operate as God’s children.