The Price of Freedom


Using authority is different than submitting to it. If I set my car’s cruise control for five miles per hour over the speed limit, I am respecting that there is a limit to how fast I can drive. I am also acknowledging there is a law enforcement authority that has the power to exact legal consequences if I don’t adhere to the speed limit. However, by driving five miles over the limit, I am not submitting to the boundary drawn for my safety and the safety of others. Instead, I’m using the defined authority of traffic law to get more than what I am entitled to, which is the fastest commute possible to wherever I am going.

  • What examples can you think of that contrast the acknowledgement of authority versus submission to it?


11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. Who is the clear source of healing power in verse 11?
  2. In verse 13, what relationship between Jesus and the Jews do you see?
  3. What condition for effective application of the authority of Jesus did the evil spirit expose (vs. 15)?
  4. In this passage, what marks someone who has submitted his or her life to Jesus (vss. 17-20)?
  5. Does your life look like one that is simply associated with Jesus or like one committed to him and his authority? Why do you answer this way?


Leveraging power to serve our wants and desires was the temptation that ushered sin and all its destructive consequences into our lives, and it continues to fuel our most natural aspirations. In first century Ephesus, spiritual power was something to be harnessed and possessed for personal and financial benefit. Freedom from self and the compelling agenda of power acquisition comes with surrender and submission to Jesus’ authority and his agenda to reconcile us to a relationship with him, our source and Savior.

  • Ask God to reveal benefits you expect from your relationship with God.
  • Ask him for the courage to acknowledge things you want more than you want him today.
  • Ask for the grace to deny yourself those things in order to submit to him.