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 honour 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 its knowing-ness while child-like in its directness.
The man of God has authority as he bows to divine authority.
–J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life(Crossway 2010), 77
(HT: Dane Ortlund)