Power. It’s a crazy thing. Everyone wants a piece of that alluring pie. We are trained to value leaders and that climbing the ladder is what we should be aiming for; Less grunt work and more of the CEO paycheck. But God has given us the power to be his servants. Matthew 20:24-26, Mark 10:41-43 , Luke 22:24-26
We don’t say we want power we say something more like …
Who Is Greatest?
24 Now a dispute also arose among them as to which of them was regarded to be the greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called ‘Benefactors.’ 26 But it is not to be this way with you; on the contrary, the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest [and least privileged], and the [one who is the] leader, like the servant. Luke 22:24-26 Amplified Bible (AMP)
What?! Aren’t servants powerless? Emphasis on the “less” part?
Not in God’s view of our tiny lives and minuscule existence. Power doesn’t come from the servant who is just clay to begin with, it is imparted from the master to the servant. The servant uses power that is not his own to do the master’s bidding.
What is a servant? Strong’s # 1401 – doulos:- servant, slave; In the NT a person owned as a possession for various lengths of time ( Hebrew slaves no more than seven years, Gentile slaves without time limit) of lower social status than free persons or masters; slaves could earn or purchase their freedom.
I lived as a servant for awhile. Servitude required a change of mindset and that took more oomph than I possessed. I absolutely had to ask God for His power to accomplish tasks in my day and to arrive at the end of the day with smiles. He granted me the power and I arrived back home safe and sane. Praise God!
What has God given the apostles power to do?
What has God given elders the power to do?
- Direct the affairs of the church,
- preach and
- teach 1 Timothy 5:17
- However this comes with a warning. Elders are not perfect leaders:
19 Do not accept an accusation against an elder unless it is based on [the testimony of at least] two or three witnesses. 20 As for those [elders] who continue in sin, reprimand them in the presence of all [the congregation], so that the rest will be warned. 21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels that you guard and keep these rules without bias, doing nothing out of favoritism. 1 Timothy 5:19-21 Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 Therefore, I strongly urge the elders among you [pastors, spiritual leaders of the church], as a fellow elder and as an eyewitness [called to testify] of the sufferings of Christ, as well as one who shares in the glory that is to be revealed: 2 shepherd and guide and protect the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not [motivated] for shameful gain, but with wholehearted enthusiasm; 3 not lording it over those assigned to your care [do not be arrogant or overbearing], but be examples [of Christian living] to the flock [set a pattern of integrity for your congregation]. 4 And when the Chief Shepherd (Christ) appears, you will receive the [conqueror’s] unfading crown of glory. 1 Peter 5:1-4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Being lords over God’s heritage as the KJV puts it. The word is – 2634 – katakyrieuō – to lord it over, gain dominion over, subdue; in some contexts there is an implication that this exercise of authority is harsh
Political “power” plays are out of place in God’s church but they seem to thrive there never the less (and several humanly minded, manipulating folk thrive on them) in our modern churches…even the little local independent ones.
So I had this question, about power because governance usually involves some sort of power over people. Governing is not evil. Is lording it over someone separate from governance? God surely sounds as though He wants Christian leaders not to lord it over His people. What DOES God say?
Matthew 23:8-12Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 But do not be called Rabbi (Teacher); for One is your Teacher, and you are all [equally] brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth [who guides you spiritually] your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.10 Do not let yourselves be called leaders or teachers; for One is your Leader (Teacher), the Christ. 11 But the greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be raised to honor.
Be Subject to Government
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. 2 Therefore whoever [a]resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. 3 For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God]. 6 For this same reason you pay taxes, for civil authorities are God’s servants, devoting themselves to governance. 7 Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor. Romans 13:1-7 Amplified Bible (AMP)
That should have answered my question but I got curious about power and investigated further. I remember twice being accused of having too much power while in service to God at a local church. “She has too much power.” said the one. (Boy did that change my life! … and diminished my ability to serve with excellence because some influential people listened to him) “My husband likes what you do. That’s power.” said the second. (That one was just annoying.) A third complained to me that I was not exercising enough power. “Woman up! My word, Christine. Get with it.” To which I calmly replied, “That policy should come from the pastor.” that one was not a happy camper either.
My response then was quietness and rest in God’s Sovereign power. My response now is the same except that I have become more articulate and bold about sharing the truth; Power belongs to God. He grants it to whom He wills and portions it out according to His own purposes. I have not ever craved power nor do I. That may seem odd to most people but who craves what they already have been given by the LORD of all the earth? I will always have as much as God wants me to have in order to do what He wants me to do. Sometimes my brain misfires and for a second or two I stop believing that. Those are the times when everything goes south and I need His Help once again for I am nothing without Him.
So what is this power thing anyway? Let’s look again at definitions.
Power (as used in the New Testament)
*1411 dynamis:- power, ability; ruler, as an extended meaning of a person or supernatural being who has administrative power
(The power ascribed to God in Mt. 6:13, Mt. 22:29 God’s power over the family position of a woman; The power whereby Jesus returns to earth on the clouds Mt. 24:30 and sits at the right hand of God Mt. 26:64; the kingdom of God comes with this power In Mark 9; the power that created Jesus in the womb of Mary In Luke 1:35)
*1849 exousia:- authority, power; the right to control or govern; dominion, the area or sphere of jurisdiction; a ruler, human or supernatural
(the power by which Jesus forgives sin Mt. 9:6;The power God gives to men in Mt. 9:8; All of this power is given to Jesus Christ in Mt:28:18; this power heals sickness, and is over unclean spirits; This is the power Satan tempted Jesus with in return for changing the object of Jesus’ worship; Jesus’ word came with this power in Luke 4:32; this is the power by which God casts souls into hell Luke 12:5; The enemy uses this power in Luke10:19 and Luke 22:53; this is the power by which we become the sons of God in John 1:12 and the power by which Jesus laid down his life and took it up again in John 10:18; Jesus corrected Pilate during his interview by saying that only GOD had this power over Him in John 19:10-11.)
There is so much more but as I read these I am beginning to understand that jurisdiction has a great and meaningful part in this definition. Power – the right to control – has circles, it has boundaries, it has specific leadership.
It is particularly mind blowing to realize that both sides, spiritually speaking, make use of the same power.
This has a profound application to those who have been abandoned.
We choose which sphere we operate within. We choose our master. We can stand our ground when power over us becomes a battle ground.
3168 – megaleiotēs:- majesty, greatness, grandeur/ mighty power, magnificence
(Luke 9:43 Jesus casts out unclean spirit when no one else can. Based on this, the people are amazed at the majesty of Jesus.)
746- archē:- beginning, origin, first; ; ruler, power, authority; position of authority, domain
(Luke 20:20 – offended Jews looked for a way to trap Jesus in his words so they might hand him over to Pilate the governor)
1410- dynamai:- to be able, have ability, to have the power to accomplish an action; humans have various limited abilities, God is unlimited
(Romans 16:25 (!- v. 17-20) God is able to establish and strengthen your faith)
1415- dynatos:- possible (based on power); powerful, able, the Mighty One
(Romans 9:22 God makes the noble and the menial out of the same lump of clay. God can be willing to show his wrath and at the same time bear with great patience the objects of his wrath because they will experience his wrath later.)
1850- exousiazō:- to have power over; (pass.) to be mastered
(1 Corinthian 6:12 the good habit of not allowing anything to enslave you or to bring you under its power; 1 Corinthians 7:4-5 the shared spousal authority over each other’s bodies.)
2479-ischys:- strength, power
(Ephesians 1:19 Paul prays that the Ephesians will know the unlimited power of God at work in those who believe; 2 Thessalonians 1:9 vengeance handed out to those who do not seek to know God, refuse to obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus choosing not to respond to Him, they will be banished from the glory of His power when He comes to be glorified; 2 Peter 2:11 even angels– of greater power than humanity – do not dare to bring accusations against celestial beings before the LORD, but false teachers do.)
2904- kratos:- power, strength
(Ephesians 6:10 – Be strong in the LORD and the power of His might; Colossians 1:11 Paul prays that the Colossians would be empowered by God to attain every kind of endurance and patience with joy; 1 timothy 6:16 – to God alone belong eternal power and dominion; Hebrews 2:14 The devil who had the power of death was made powerless by Christ Jesus; Revelation 5:13 honor, power and glory belong to Jesus, the Lamb of God who sits on the throne)
1325- didōmi:- to give / grant, shew, bestow, had power, make, suffer, brought forth, committed, deliver, minister, stroke with the palm of the hand
(Revelation 13:14 The lamb who speaks like a dragon had the power to deceive the people of earth by performing miracles in the presence of the beast)
So this is the conclusion of the matter;
17 Show respect for all people [treat them honorably], love the brotherhood [of believers], fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)
God has given us the power to be his servants. …To love the unlovely, to respect each other, to fear God (hate evil), to honor human government as set up by God Himself….to love and be aligned with the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Power. It’s a crazy thing. But its God’s thing.