I read an article awhile back about a one hundred year-old hotel in Fiji that became infested with termites. They entered the hotel through small cracks in the foundation and walls. While they didn’t do extensive damage to the structure itself, they destroyed much of the furniture and cabinetry. Vast sections of the hotel were essentially gutted; the furniture and fixtures taken outside the town and burned.
Last week I talked about authority and Truth. Since God is above and before all, the source of all, He is the only one not subject to anything or anyone else. He is the ultimate authority, and He gave all authority to Christ. Ultimate authority has to be rooted in an eternal, unchanging truth. That truth is not a concept or ideology, but a person…the person of Jesus Christ.
In Truth (Christ) there is freedom, therefore Godly authority always brings freedom because Godly authority always reveals Truth. This is important for us who have united ourselves with Christ and taken on His identity. He has sent us out in His authority to reveal and extend what He accomplished on the cross. This is now the ultimate purpose of the authority and ministry we have been given as children of God through Christ: to continue in His mission, to extend His finished work, to reconcile people to the Truth–to live out the Kingdom of God.
But to recognize the truth of who Christ is, and the unity we now share with Him, is to recognize our need to conform to His image. This conformity comes by the transformational work of the Holy Spirit. As we keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5)–obeying the word we have (John 15) and the truth He guides us into (John 16)–we grow in the receiving/revealing nature of our identity in Christ. That is to say, we grow in intimacy, revelation, and character (receiving), all the while showing more of God’s nature, love, and glory (revealing).
So then, this mission we have, and the correlating authority we walk in, must be lived with resolute integrity.
Simple. If what we are revealing about Christ is not rooted in integrity, then what we are revealing is not eternal truth, it is only personal ideology. Ideologies may change perspectives and resulting behaviors, but they don’t bring life.
I once heard someone describe authority as a house. Its foundation, walls, and roof are meant to come under people to build them up into the identity God has for them…to come around them in order to grow them in love and equip them for ministry…and to come over them in order to protect and guide them until we can release them to multiply the same process on their own. As we live out the Kingdom of God, we expand the territory of that house, intentionally extending the finished work of Christ over any person and circumstance we meet.
But what if the foundation is cracked, or the roof is broken? What if integrity is lacking? Hear me on this…whatever lacks integrity will ultimately lack authority.
Now this might be the point where someone says, “We all have struggles, and no one is perfect.” I understand that. But for all of us who know the truth and have been made free by Christ, I would say this: “We all have choices.” And while our little compromises may not bring our house crashing down, they may very well allow something to come in that destroys those we have been called to nurture and grow.