words with authority

Developing Authority: When Words Fall Flat

Have you ever pumped yourself up over something you think you are good at – or that you believe deeply – only to get in the middle of a conversation regarding said topic, and your words fall flat? It’s like you’re stumbling all over yourself. Or people give you a blank stare as if they have no idea what you are talking about. Horrified, you finally excuse yourself, feeling quite silly for opening your mouth.

This doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are talking about, but it does reveal your words lack authority.

I don’t know about you, but it has happened to me more than I care to admit. Even recently, I was having a conversation regarding biblical topics for which I have spent hours praying over and studying, but I could not, for the life of me, articulate what I was trying to say and I looked rather stupid – like I had no idea what I was talking about.


“…And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority.” (Luke 4:32)

I read this verse in Luke today and mulled over it for awhile. Similarly, yesterday I was thinking about Jesus’ time in the wilderness (which was in the verses just BEFORE Luke 4:32).  These verses, especially verse 32, struck a chord with me. I felt a bit frustrated because it seems like my words, outside of my home, possess no authority.

I mean, I can’t think of a time when people were astonished at my words. Rather, I get the blank stare or cordial nod most of the time.

Ironically, I have spent the last 5 months soaking in my authority in Christ. Reading almost daily, the book of Ephesians and declaring in my prayers the awesome position, possession, and authority I have because of my Beloved, Jesus.

exasperated woman. when words fall flat

So why is it that I leave my house, filled with excitement and the presence of the Holy Spirit, but as soon as I open my mouth to share with others the wonderful golden nuggets of truth and revelation I’m learning, they instead tumble out in an unintelligible way, leaving me feeling like a clown holding a limp, rubber chicken? Sometimes I just want to crawl under a rock or as soon as I get in my car I let out a giant, “UGH!”.

Seriously. Does anyone else experience this?

I don’t know about you, but when I speak, I want to speak with authority!


As I have been slowly chewing on the book of Luke, I am learning that authority comes from several things: belief, time/maturity, and testing.

I felt the Lord specifically speak the word “testing” to me as I was mid-sentence in asking, “How do I have words with authority?”. What I learn every day I’m in the Word is wonderful, but my belief in the revelations from the Father has remained untested.

Ah…testing. The testing of Jesus in the wilderness happened just prior to this moment when the Bible records Jesus’ speaking with authority and casting out a demon. Now I understand – no matter what it is that we learn or do, to become an authority it must be tested!

If we think about it, this applies to everything. Our knowledge or belief, no matter the subject, must be tested before we carry any authority. Whether a surgeon, coach, teacher, leader, anything.  A spirit of authority is the result of knowledge and understanding being tried and tested.


Like a potter working on a new vessel, so our testing to develop authority that can hold water goes through a process. A newly formed vessel has the appearance of a finished product. Despite the appearance of being ready, the vessel cannot be used for its intended purpose. The pottery is either still soft and malleable, or if it has gone through one firing, it may be firm and hold its shape – but it won’t hold water. It takes a second high firing for the pottery to no longer be porous.

Hmmm…it just occurred to me that the passage in James is talking about this very thing. Maturity results from gladly submitting to the testing process. In other words, testing develops authority! Don’t you just love how God’s Word ties together?!

When my words fall flat, instead of being horrified, I’ll silently thank God for the moment of testing.

Leave a Reply