“For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. But we will not boast beyond our measure, but within the measure of the sphere which God apportioned to us as a measure, to reach even as far as you.
For we are not overextending ourselves, as if we did not reach to you, for we were the first to come even as far as you in the gospel of Christ; not boasting beyond our measure, that is, in other men’s labors, but with the hope that as your faith grows, we will be, within our sphere, enlarged even more by you, so as to preach the gospel even to the regions beyond you, and not to boast in what has been accomplished in the sphere of another. But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord
. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.” (2 Corinthians 10:12-18 NASB)
In this passage, Paul speaks of the measure of his God-given authority in Corinth, and also references spheres of authority. The word used for “measure” is metron (Strongs 3358). You can easily see the English word “meter” in this word, which is a measurement, or an instrument used to measure, such as a parking meter.
It is also used in the context of “metering out” a measured portion of something. In this context, Paul was speaking of the authority metered out to him, the measure he had been given by God at Corinth.
“Sphere” is from the Greek word kanon (Strongs 2583), which means “a sphere of rule or activity; a boundary.” Paul recognized not only his measure of authority, but also the places where he had been assigned this authority. He knew there were boundaries or limits to it, but he was also very aware that he absolutely did possess God-given authority in his God-given spheres.
Certainly, this passage was referencing Paul’s authority to deal with error and rebellion as an apostle and father in the Corinthian church. However, it also included authority to war over them in the spirit, breaking strongholds and demonic influence. This is clear from the verses preceding this:
“Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent! I ask that when I am present I need not be bold with the confidence with which I propose to be courageous against some, who regard us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.” (2 Corinthians 10:1-6 NASB)
These verses make clear the assertion that Paul’s authority at Corinth was not only a right to correct them practically and doctrinally, but also included authority to deal with spiritual strongholds in the community through prayer and spiritual warfare. The principle at play here is that: 1) God gives us authority within the “sphere” He has assigned us. Our authority level will be different in other spheres. And 2) this authority not only gives us the spiritual right to bring correction, but it also affords us great authority to pray and war spiritually for the freedom and well-being of those within this sphere.
I realize most of you will not be given apostolic authority over a region. The principle is true elsewhere, however. Each of us has a personal sphere: ourself, our family, home, business, etc. No one has more authority to govern your life than you do. You have the right and the responsibility to do so. Also, no one can lay claim to God’s promises or declare His Word over your life as effectively as you. YOU have the right to do this, and no one can take it from you.
We also have a higher level of authority to pray for our immediate family members - this is a part of our sphere. Where God assigns responsibility to guard, protect, or cover someone, He also gives us the authority to carry it out.
Even if a family member is an adult, though I do not have authority to rule their life, but I still have a very high level of authority to pray for them. I can break strongholds over their life and appeal to heaven on their behalf, just as Paul did for the Corinthians. If they are a child I have even greater authority to pray for and impart to them.
In Mark 5:22-43, a man named Jairus asked Jesus to come and heal his daughter. Jesus did so. He did not require an invitation from the daughter, nor was faith required of her. Her dad asking for her was enough.
Patriarchs in the Old Testament understood this principle. They had great authority to decree blessings, even destiny, over their children - even adult children. The entire 49th chapter of Genesis gives us multiple examples of this, as Jacob blessed and decreed over his sons.
In an upcoming post, we will look at shared authority, as in praying for nations. Today, however, I want to encourage you regarding your God-given right to pray for yourself and your family. We are about to see many prodigals come back to the Father; you play a role in this. Your prayers for them have great authority. You can break strongholds in their lives and free them from deception and demonic control. You cannot control the prodigal child’s will, but you can deal with strongholds that do! Let’s look at three of the above verses Paul gave us from the Living Bible:
“It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding him. With these weapons I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5 TLB)
If Paul could do this for the Corinthians, you can do it for your family! Let’s pray.
Pray with me:
Father, we are not at the mercy of what demons and the world around us throws our way. You have given us great authority through Christ. He conquered FOR US and delegated TO US the right to lay hold of this victory. Faith, the power of Holy Spirit, authority - these things work in harmony to give us victories in life.
Today we rise up in that authority and pray for those in our God-given spheres. We know that as we do so, Holy Spirit will release His power to back up this authority. We declare over ourselves that we will walk in health, victory, provision, freedom from sin, peace, and a sound mind. We bind every assignment against us and declare that we are clothed in the armor of God and protected from evil.
We pray also for those You have assigned us the privilege of covering, those in our personal spheres of authority. We pray for our spouses that they too will experience Your blessing, health, well-being, prosperity - we declare over them that every promise You have made to Your family is “yes” and “amen.”
And we pray for our children. We decree over every prodigal that the strongholds of deception and rebellion are broken off of them. We release the power of Holy Spirit to go to them now and hover over them, releasing life and freedom. We decree that they will come to their senses just as the prodigal in Scripture did. We bind every demon that has attached itself to them, in the name of Jesus.
And we decree according to Your Word that all of our children are blessed by You. We cover them with protection from the many strategies of the evil one to influence and control them. We declare that they will know and serve You, that all of our family shall be saved!
We pray all of these things through the authority we have in Christ.
We declare that we will exercise our God-given right to cover those in our God-given spheres.
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