This is an important question.
I'm used to hearing this negatively,
as in "what gives you the right"
or "where do you get off..."
Sure, those accusational
messages will always come.
They were even said to Jesus,
so you're in good company:
"By what authority do you do these things?", they asked him.
Maybe it was a sincere question.
When I think of this question I think of authority and
identity. Who am I, who are you; and what do you or I
do about it or with it? What if you see yourself as
weak, like a nobody or a slave; and then you try to do
something, it doesn't matter what- and it doesn't
work, because of how you see yourself. Or, what if
you say you see yourself as a powerful person, like a
princess or a general; but you never do anything with
it? I think that authority and identity go together.
If you have the identity, really have it and it's not
just a name card or a costume, then you'll have the
authority that goes with it.
But it starts with who you believe you are, really
believe; and that real belief is proved through
action, risk-taking action.
Thinking you're something that you're not or trying to
exercise authority you don't have are also issues to
consider. We all have real identities and we all have
spheres of authority. You and I don't have the
identity or authority of the President or the Pope.
Finding out who you are and what you are for, in my
opinion, will lead to a more fulfilling life.