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Power vs Authority

by Gregory Winfield  
7/26/2012 / Christian Living

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. The cells that lined the walls were open all day and all were allowed to roam free to watch TV, workout or talk among themselves as they choose.

I remember night after night of walking up to the module 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, 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 like 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 power, 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 had so many options at her disposal, all of which are backed by the Sheriff himself.

A few years later I worked a patrol unit with JB and 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. Well, praise God! We as Christians have been given authority by Jesus Christ. We don't need to match 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.

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

Greg's love of writing and the unique way God illustrates the truth of His Word through everyday life situations has given birth to the FaithsMessenger Blog ( Our goal is to share biblical principles, stories and analogies in a clear, concise, and understandable way.

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