Power is the currency of the world. How much power do you have? How much can you wield over others? How can you get your way and manipulate situations to your advantage? How can you bend people to your will, threatening them if you have to? Pulling the rug out from other them if it advances your purpose? The older that I get and the more life experiences I have, the more that I recognize that most people cannot rest until they are sure that they are getting their way and that they will benefit. Money is often just an expression of power – power over our lives, future, health, pleasure … others. Even service is used by some as a way to control others through manipulation. When power becomes the currency of the church, we are finished with prophetic witness to another kingdom. When we care more about pleasing some people or not upsetting other people or getting our own way than we care about people themselves, then we have lost our way. When our primary focus is our own “way of life” and we run over people to promote, defend, and protect our “way” over others, and we use God to bless all of that, then we make God into our own god and simply see him as a means to an end – our own benefit.
The Better Way of Jesus – the Way of the Cross – is completely different. It is the way of sacrificial love. It puts the interests of others before your own. It listens before it speaks and it seeks to understand before being understood. It will suffer for others and will be willing to be misunderstood in the extension of love and hope to people in a world without hope. The Cross looms over the entire Christian life and over the church and shapes it. At any point that the church and the Christian life is not shaped by the Cross of Christ, then it is no longer the church and can no longer be considered Christian. When grabbing for power and access to power and protection of status, wealth, and lifestyle are the animating forces, then we have lost the church and the gospel with it. People are not props in our game of seeking platform, position, possession, and privilege. People are loved by God and made in His image. Jesus died for them. When we seek to value them, we value God’s purpose for their lives. When we dismiss them, we dismiss God’s image in them and His intent in their creation.
Only when we stop using people and start loving them will we see God work in our hearts and break through and reveal Himself to us. As for us, when we go outside the camp to the place of sacrifice and rejection and bear the reproach that Jesus bore because there is no power or affirmation there, just disdain, then we will meet with Him and know Him.
It is very hard to be misunderstood and rejected and count yourself in the lot of the despised and overlooked and forgotten. But, through many trials will we enter the Kingdom of God. We will find Jesus on the trash heap of our lives and communities. He is already there making all things new.
The only way to hold power is to give it away. Beware of the one who tries to accumulate power for himself (or themselves), who uses their position to control others, or who uses their power to benefit themselves and their own position. Power is good. But, how do we use it? For ourselves or for others? For God’s purposes or our own? To build others up or tear them down. Jesus had more power than any man who ever lived. Yet, he did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross. Therefore, God … That is the key. When we entrust ourselves to God, He is the one who will raise us up and give us life. HE has all the power we need and He always uses it to bring life instead of death.
Power is good. How will you use it? For yourself or others? Submitted to God or under your own control for your benefit? That is the question that we must ask and answer every day in every interaction with the people that God puts in our lives. I am glad that Jesus is the Better Way.