More power: we want it.
Everyone from Tony Stark to Lord Voldemort wants it. They want it bad. Doc Brown’s 1.21 Gigawatts aren’t enough—somewhere in eternity Captain Kirk is still barking, “More power, Scotty.” From the power to persuade, to the power to entice, to the power of the people: we think power will save the world.
The only problem with power is we always seem to need just a little bit more. God has power. Maybe we can get more power from him. More power to know the future, power to heal, wonder-working power that will prove us right and the world wrong—so much power we begin to use it to win the lottery or be the coolest guy at the party. If there’s an omnipotent god, then all the better—I want his power. But there’s always a catch. Just ask Bruce Almighty: it turns out the only container fit for the unlimited power of God is a vessel beset with weakness.
God’s Path to More Power
Why didn’t I see this sooner? The Apostle prayed that the dear people of Colossae would have power, but it was power to endure, the power to be patient, the power to joyfully give thanks. In other words: a power that changes nothing but ourselves. When he prayed for the church in Ephesus he prayed that the people, “being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph 3:18-19)
Centuries before, the Proverbs revealed God’s priorities by suggesting true power is found in a man who rules his spirit, instead of one who conquers a city. Nor is this high-minded preacher-talk. Ask the man who is powerless against alcohol or rage. Ask the woman who is powerless against her fear or her thirst for love. Ask the politician powerless against his sexual appetites. Oh, for the power to contain our passions. In the final act, Richard the Third is willing to trade all his power for a getaway car (a horse, actually).
The greatest power in the universe—from beyond the universe, really—came to town and submitted to the puny power of men who traded in swords and gold and crowns and titles. The powerful creator God absorbed the spear thrust into his side. The power of God overcame 30 pieces of silver meant to betray the Kingdom. God’s power wore a crown of thorns and ruled the world from an empty tomb. The seat of his power is beyond the reach of this world, and as close as the hearts of humble men and women. Who could have ever imagined a power perfected in weakness?
The only power we really need is power to grasp the love of Christ: its width, length, height, and depth. The kind of power to love until it kills you, and then love beyond that, until it raises you from the dead.
This article about our thirst for more power originally appeared here, and is used by permission.