As a young man, (I’m 22, living at home, but in my senior year at University) I am in a dilemma. Everywhere – at home, in school, on the job, or on the street – someone else is telling me how to live my life. At the same time I am required to fulfill a lot of responsibility. I don’t seem to have any authority at all. Tell me please, how do I fit this into God’s plan for maturity in my life? How do I learn to exercise authority without having the experience of being IN authority?

Several years ago, I was joined in my seat on the plane by neat young man who began to inquire about my business. He was fascinated by my activity and putting together joint ventures between American and European firms, my working out of licensing arrangements between international companies, etc.  Being an ambitious young man with an MBA from Harvard, he wanted to know, “How does one get into that kind of work?” My answer, very simply, was, “Thirty years at hard labor!”

Paul put it this way to the men in the church at Thessalonica: “Keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you,  nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right for such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow” (emphasis mine).

As far as we know, Paul never sired any children. Yet he FATHERED some of the most strategic men in the history of the church. FATHERHOOD IS the exercise of AUTHORITY in the church of Jesus Christ. And this authority flows out of the FULFILLED RESPONSIBILITY in the life of young men who are committed to become MEN OF GOD, men of AUTHORITY in the church.

And finally, the ultimate imperative is to learn [to] utilize the absoluteness of the Scriptures, the Word of God. Again, in giving instruction to young Timothy, Paul said to him, “All Scripture is GOD-BREATHED and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that THE MAN OF GOD may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17, emphasis mine). And amazingly this very statement…became a part of Scripture!

You will learn – slowly perhaps – that there’s something more to Scripture than “head knowledge”. Whoever wrote Hebrews said, “…the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword…. It is LIVING; it is ACTIVE…” (emphasis mine).

It is POWERFUL! It is AUTHORITATIVE! The Lord Almighty Himself said through Jeremiah, “…I will make My Words in your mouth a FIRE and these people the wood it consumes” (emphasis mine).

It is GOD-BREATHED! In the first chapter of Genesis, in relating how the world was created, this phrase is repeated nine times: “AND GOD SAID…” He breathed and the worlds and man were formed! ALL SCRIPTURE is GOD-BREATHED!

In his forward to Henrietta Mears’ bookWhat the Bible is all about, Billy Graham says, “Millions of people today are searching for a reliable voice of authority. The Word of God is the ONLY real authority we have. One of the greatest needs in the church today is to come back to the Scriptures as the basis of authority.” So says Billy Graham, and so I say to you, my young friend. Take on all the responsibility you can handle. The authority will come, as you mature and “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ“!

-Jay Fesperman

From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Volume 5, No. 1, February 1985.