Power and Authority

There’s a famous saying by Lord John Dalberg-Acton that says: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Studies show that tends to be true. An article entitled The Psychology of Power, by Jonah Lehrer, in Wired magazine (08/14/2010) supports that assertion. “Psychologists refer to this as the paradox of power. The very traits that helped leaders accumulate control in the first place all but disappear once they rise to power. Instead of being polite, honest and outgoing, they become impulsive, reckless and rude…Unchecked, however, these instincts can lead to a big fall.”

We live in a world where many people strive to have power, and some will do almost anything and everything to obtain said power. Their motives to obtain power may start out being pure and with good intentions, however research shows that power tends to go to people’s head and they turn into veritable monsters once they achieve power. I believe that it’s a very sad, but true, commentary on human nature. 

When I was younger, I sought positions of power and authority. I wanted to be in charge and have the autonomy to make all the calls. I realize now that was just pure vanity on my part. Thankfully, God never gave me that position of power and authority, for I am sure now that I would have turned into a monster. Most times God has given me doses of humility and taught me lessons when I want to take over and take control. I realize now that’s precisely why God never placed me in that kind of predicament. God had other things in store for me than what I desired.

We must always keep in mind that our world is that of spiritual warfare and sin, where we are constantly being tempted by the enemy. We cannot see the spiritual world and we cannot see the spiritual battles that are raging around us. It’s an age-old conflict to which we are subjected. The enemy seeks to kill and destroy all things of God, and who is a better target to accomplish this goal but God’s children? 

So, I believe that when we seek power we often lose sight over where the true nature of power comes from – God. We forget that we cannot accomplish goodness without walking in conjunction with Him through the Holy Spirit. We are sinful beings, and it is only in remaining with God can we hope to achieve good things for the Kingdom while we are here. If you are walking with God, you want to display his goodness, you want to draw others to the peace and light of God. But, you cannot do it under your own power. Only God has the true power and authority. 

We must live in the Word of God to have His power and authority. We need to know God’s Word, and we must pray God’s Word over all areas of our lives. That’s where the only true power and authority come from. All other power and authority are temporary, and usually that temporary power and authority is tarnished by our words and actions. 

I know now that God’s power is the only power I want in my life.

“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, ESV)

“For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20, ESV)

“Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4, ESV)

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