Power Hungry?

Power. How would you describe it in today’s world? Perhaps you would say power corrupts, power distorts, power abuses, power means control and selfish gain? Government and those elected are often described as inhabiting the corridors of power. They seem to be the ones with the control, they are the decision-makers, the ones who make the moves and we benefit from or suffer the consequences. (I’ll put a disclaimer in right here; I am not saying politicians = corruption!)

There is another kind of power, a Kingdom power. This power comes from the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) and it equips us as Christians to be witnesses in our world. It’s a God-bestowed power that shifts the emphasis from our strength, striving, and human capabilities to the God of heaven and his higher ways (Isaiah 55:8). Kingdom power exalts the God of heaven, the transformative nature of the Gospel, and God’s goodness and good plans for us as his creation.

Repeatedly, across the Old and New Testaments we see the God of heaven is not only aware of, but orchestrating his sovereign plans and purposes for the earth through individuals who are faithful to him and can speak to those in power.

In the Old Testament we find examples of God’s favour being placed upon individuals, such as Daniel, Nehemiah, and Esther, and then placing them within the corridors of power. They were obedient in living out the commands of the LORD in hostile places, risking their own reputations, positions and even lives by using their voices to speak truth to authorities. In the New Testament we read of Paul repeatedly engaging in dialogue about the Gospel and the Kingdom with religious and secular leaders of the day. Neither he, nor the other Apostles shied away from proclaiming the truth with divinely inspired words and a holy boldness, counting the cost, and considering it a privilege to be ambassadors of The Way.

Across Scripture, it is clear to see that God’s desire is for His people to engage with those in Power, the decision-makers of the day. William Wilberforce used his place in the corridors of power to restore dignity, value, and freedom to those to whom it was denied. In the quote below (it’s lengthy but worth a read) he speaks to the responsibility of Christians when it comes to governance and the state of our nation.

Let true Christians then, with becoming earnestness, strive in all things to recommend their profession, and to put to silence the vain scoffs of ignorant objectors. Let them boldly assert the cause of Christ in an age when so many, who bear the name of Christians, are ashamed of Him: and let them consider as devolved on Them the important duty of suspending for a while the fall of their country, and, perhaps, of performing a still more extensive service to society at large; not by busy interference in politics, in which it cannot but be confessed there is much uncertainty; but rather by that sure and radical benefit of restoring the influence of Religion, and of raising the standard of morality. (William Wilberforce)

As we get closer to this election, we can engage positively with political candidates. It’s vital we do, not by “busy interference” as Wilberforce put it but with the goal of seeing restoration in our society and finding out whether those we have the choice to vote for will use the power granted to them for the betterment of all.

Are we power hungry? Or are we hungry to use our God-given power as servants of Christ, to speak truth to those in government, protect the vulnerable and strengthen the weak? //Hannah Arnold

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