We may recognize it when we meet it, but we may not meet it very often.
Spiritual authority is hard to pin down in words, but we recognize it when we meet it.
It is a product compounded of conscientious faithfulness to the Bible; vivid perception of God’s reality and greatness; inflexible desire to honor and please him; deep self-searching and radical self-denial; adoring intimacy with Christ; generous compassion manward; and forthright simplicity, God-taught and God-wrought, adult in knowingness while childlike in its directness.
The man of God has authority as he bows to divine authority, and the pattern of God’s power in him is the baptismal pattern of being supernaturally raised from under burdens that feel like death.
—J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness, 77. (via Dane Ortland)