What is Delegated Authority


By Dr. Dallas Eggemeyer

All authority is delegated authority! “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Romans 13:1)

What is the explanation of the statement: “Authority is delegated power?”

Since God is the source for all authority, all true delegated authority is spiritually based.  God has placed delegated authority in every area of our life; family, church, and government.  (Eph 5:22-24, 6:1-3, Col 3:18,20,22, 1 Thess 5:12-13, Roms 13:1-5)

When we recognize this fact, we should willingly submit ourselves to such authority.  Delegated authority carries the weight and strength of the one who gives it.  The power to enforce, whether with reward or punishment is there.  Using the example of the Roman Centurion, Tom Marshall states; “All the power of Rome stood behind the centurion, as long as he stayed under authority.  If he stepped out of that obedience, he lost all his authority”. (Understanding Leadership p.104)

When we willfully reject delegated authority we are therefore rejecting God’s authority in our life.

What if however the delegated authority is wrong? Watchman Nee expressed it well; “People will perhaps argue, “What if authority is wrong?”  The answer is, If God dares to entrust His authority to men, then we can dare to obey.  Whether the one in authority is right or wrong does not concern us, since he has to be responsible directly to God.  The obedient needs only to obey; the Lord will not hold us responsible for any

mistaken obedience, rather will He hold the delegated authority responsible for his erroneous act.  Insubordination, however, is rebellion, and for this the one under authority must answer to God.  It is therefore clear that no human element is involved in this matter of authority.  If our subjection is merely directed to a man the whole meaning of authority is lost.  When God institutes His delegated authority He is bound by His honor to maintain that authority.  We are each one of responsible before God in this matter.  Let us be careful that we make no mistake.” (Spiritual Authority p. 71)

We are in an act of rebellion when we reject delegated authority.  As so too, delegated authority that rejects the authority they are under loses all authority and are in rebellion.

Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft. (1 Sam 15:23) That is why when you see someone operating with a spirit of control and manipulation you know they have stepped out from under their superior authority.  They are no longer submitted to God but their own soulful spirit.  This is the case with Satan, a true example of rebellion to delegated authority.  Self-will is soulful and does not produce peaceable fruit.

A true servant leader operates under delegated authority and He himself is in authority.  That kind of authority will motivate people with true inspiration, causing them to do what he requests because He has their interest at heart.  A servant leader must not only yield to God’s authority but recognize the authority of others.  A servant leader guided by Holy Spirit will inspire others to do what is right because it is the right thing to do.  His heart is pure toward God and man.


Today most people lack these basic concepts of Honor, that is integrity, honesty and respect.  The world is filled with injustices and rebellion, but does that give a Christian the right to disregard God’s principles.  Our God is both a covenant and a relational God.  We too should display these characteristics.  This requires us to be people of integrity, honesty, and respect.  By doing this we will be a people of honor.  On this premise I make the following statements:

Five principles of Honor we can practically apply:

Acceptance is not merely tolerating a person or accommodating their needs but allowing them to understand they are truly valued.  Do I have God's view of this individual?  Do I recognize their value in His eyes?  Most people suffer from low self-esteem; have I contributed to that in anyway?  Accepting an individual does not mean that I may necessarily agree with their lifestyle choices, but I value them because Christ died for them.  In this way I give them honor, for the Father has honored them with the value of Christ’s blood.

Whether a person is part of the team, department, company or even a member of your family you should acknowledge them worthy of honor.  You do this by accepting them.

Affirmation should enhance a person self-worth and self-confidence.  By drawing attention to their strengths and their abilities we lift them up and convey to message to them that they are special.  This is a primary need in the lives of people today.  Without affirmation the human heart suffers discouragement and doubt.  We affirm others by our actions and our words.  Respect is a key element in affirmation.

Appreciation is a reward that we give to others.  It tells them “I think you're doing a great job”.   This is closely related to affirmation.  It is a little more subjective, and expresses pleasure or satisfaction or gratification in who you are or with what you are doing.  Appreciation can be shown as a call, a note or even physically by a hug or smile.  Appreciation is a basic need of all people.

Admiration draws attention to the person's achievements.  Admiration sets a person apart for their achievements and accomplishments.  It says to them, “I admire you, and I find this part of your character something that I also would like to have”.  Thomas Marshall says in his book on Leadership “admiration is an even more powerful stimulus than appreciation, particularly when it is forthcoming from leaders who presumably are people who know what they are talking about”.  Admiration should only be given to those who are worthy of such.

Acknowledgment means we recognize and praise the person for a job well done, that accomplishment achieved, a goal reached, or a desire fulfilled.  We can do this either publicly or privately, but most effectively by our actions.  Praise flows from the mouth but honor comes from a heart filled with prospective love.  Do I acknowledge the people who are important to me?  Do I let others know this person is an important part of my life and I respect them?  Acknowledgment deals with our self-worth.  How worthy do I make others feel? Love is all about acknowledgment, respect is all about acknowledgment, honor calls for acknowledgment.  One word of praise can break down many walls, but a word not spoken lifts them up.

Five Ways to apply these principles to my day to day life:

Getting the right goals and heading toward the future.

Setting short term and long term goals.

Recognizing the time scale.

Clarifying goals by staying in touch and using foresight.

Getting a Mission Statement for my life and organization.

It is my belief true leaders are not necessarily made but born.  Robert K. Greenleaf made the statement, “A mark of leaders, an attribute that puts them in a position to show the way for others, is that they are better than most at pointing the direction to go.  Foresight is the “lead” that a leader has.” (Understanding Leadership p.10)

Foresight is that intuitive knowing of where and when and what to pursue.  It is an inborn insight into the unknown than just cannot be learned.  Therefore this is the mark of a “born” leader, in my opinion. 


Leadership requires an ability not only to have vision, but be able to instill that vision in the hearts and minds of others.  This calls for not only a type of charismatic personality, but also a true motivational ability.  According to Tom Marshall, “If the goal does not strike a chord in the hearts of the people, they simply will not follow, and leaders without followers cease to be leaders.” (Understanding Leadership p. 21)

The practical application of these principles in my life would be:

Evaluate my life’s Mission Statement, which should be incorporated into my organizational statement, against my goals, visions, and dreams to see if they pursue my overall goal.  Direct my attentions towards those divinely placed in my life that share the vision of my heart to accomplish the corporate vision.  Recognize that timing is vital to the pursuit of all goals.  Focus on the short-term goals to achieve the long term ones.  Remove unnecessary distraction, whether they are people or things that hinder my pursuit of these goals.  Always remember life is a team effort!  Look for those people to whom I can contribute to, as they pursue of their goals.  There is an Old Italian saying that goes like this, “One hand washes the other, but with two hands we wash the face”.   Clarifying goals requires me to keep in turn with those around me.  If I am too far out in front I’ll lose those behind, if I do not stay on the “vanguard” I’ll be left behind.

As strong powerful Divinely appointed leaders we must continue to use my entire God given abilities such as insight, intuition, and discernment to pursue the course that He has set before us. Always remembering that we are delegated our position of leadership and authority by God the supreme authority! True leadership is the ability to motivate or inspirer an individual or individuals to do what they would not have done otherwise.