You were created to have dominion, that is how God made man. The problem with life is if the individual created to have dominion over a situation does not take that dominion, does not take charge, someone else will take it illegitimately. If you do not take charge of your body, sickness will. If you do not take charge of your finances, poverty will. As a pastor, if you do not take charge of your church, some carnal upstart will.
Dominion over the works of the devil – demonic attack, sickness, poverty, temptations to sin is exercised through three things – what we think and what we say and what we do. If sickness attacks your body, start to think about God’s healing promises, start to think about how well you are, start to think victory. Then start to speak it, then act healed – get up and do what a healthy person would do. It is really that simple.
Dominion over people is more complicated. We are not ever given the ability to command another person. For example, when Paul wanted the Romans to think better thoughts, even a man with the authority, spiritual rank and anointing of Paul said “I beseech thee, brethren” which is King James English for “I’m begging you”. Even the best preachers can only beg people to think right and live right.
But we are given spheres of authority that we need to control. For example, I am the lead pastor of Tree of Life Church in Dagenham. God birthed that church on earth through me, named me the pastor and gave me the dominion over it. If that church failed, it’s on me – I will be accountable before Jesus – what happened to the church I gave you is a question that will be asked of me. So if Brother Bigmouth turns up on Sunday and starts yelling at me when I am preaching, or yelling in tongues trying to prophesy over me, and I let him, then I am failing as a pastor to feed my people. I cannot sit there and let someone else stop me doing what God has called me to do in the area I have been given authority. So I will stop them, and if necessary have them removed from the church. But I cannot control that person, I can only control the meeting. If they start another church across the road, that is on them, I can then only love them. My ability to stop them intruding stops at the limit of my God-given leadership. It’s the same if you are the boss of a company, or the dad in a house. I hope this makes sense to you, as it is vital. You must take control or it will control you. Many people have tried to usurp leadership in Tree of Life, and I have had to fight, and you are no different if God has given you something. The church is not a democracy, it is not a popularity contest – it is the very kingdom of God and the king must be the one who makes the decisions not us.
I know our democratic Western mind does not like this, but it is the truth, we are in the kingdom of God and if King Jesus has given you a mountain to take, you do not concede it to anyone else no matter who they are, even if they tell you “thus saith the Lord”, you do not concede. I had one minister try desperately to control Tree of Life, even asking for my acounts so he could tell me how to spend the money. I turned up at a conference he was speaking at with a T-shirt that said “I DO NOT WORK FOR YOU, I WORK FOR JESUS” (I had it specially made). You will not wrest from my hands what I know I will stand before Jesus and answer for.
But then when someone leaves Tree of Life, I have no more responsibility for them any more. Their next pastor will be the one standing before God – did you help that person, because we cannot control people, we can only control what God has given us to build and do. We need to be like policemen and realize that away from our turf, we have no authority here. As much as I love Die Hard, there is no place for John McLean in the kingdom of God!
Now this is the choice that some of you must face, and how you choose will determine the level of your success. To be part of something bigger than yourself and connect to that something, you must yield to the God-given authority of that place. For example, if you come to Tree of Life you will have to yield to the authority of the local pastor, and then myself You will therefore at times not be able to always do things your way or get what you want. You will not be able to decide exactly how things are done, you will have to endure things done my way, not your way. But the reward for that, it will always be greater that the cost. If it is genuinely costing you more to be in a particular church or job than it rewards you, then leave and find a better church – but first check it isn’t your rebellious heart rather than a genuine problem. Selah.