Power struggles. We see evidence of them daily. Between politicians. In the workplace. In the home between Dad and son, or husband and wife. Between drug cartels. Recently a 30-year-old man was gunned down in broad daylight in the middle of our town. Why? A little power struggle with his brother over an inheritance.
On a larger scale, we observe ongoing power struggles between nations, in some cases for thousands of years. The country of Israel struggles to hold its own place against the many nations opposed to its very existence. Someone wrote recently, “a self-declared Israel is daily remaining to all people on planet Earth the greatest danger to world peace.”
Power struggles between nations continue to unfold. Recently, a report was released from a think-tank employed by US President Obama. They recommended a shift of “military might” to the Asia-Pacific area with the goal to “shape the environment so that such a conflict is never necessary and perhaps someday inconceivable.” They admitted that since late last year the Obama administration has been turning the US foreign policy and national security machine toward Asia after a decade of intense focus on the Middle East. They predict the history of the 21st century will be written in the Pacific realm.
We often view power struggles in a negative light. Are all power struggles wrong? Are they always destructive? Do they all spring from the same root? Do they all hearken back to the power struggle we read about in Isaiah 14:12-14? Read Satan’s proposal in short. “I will ascend…, I will exalt my thrones…: I will be like the most high.” Ezekiel 28 bores a little deeper into the problem – “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty.” Is selfish pride the root of every power struggle?
Sometimes a power struggle is justified under the guise of “the greater good” of humanity. This was the banner flown when Roman emperor Diocletian (A.D. 284-304) started a vicious persecution campaign against the “anarchists” of the Roman empire – the Christians. The same banner that the “church” used in the 1500’s to rid itself of the heretics – the Anabaptists. Hitler used the same mantra in his pursuit of a pure, superior Ayran “race.” It is the phrase used by the Muslims in their quest to judge the “infidels.” And the same spirit invades our churches and weakens our homes. The spirit that says, “My way is right because God told me,” “I am the chosen of God to resolve this problem, and this is how it must be done,” “You will be listening to me.” The struggle spreads and strengthens, and at the root is a spirit motivated by selfish pride.
Apostle James shares some heavenly wisdom. “From whence come wars and fightings among you?” He cuts to the heart: “Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?” If we find ourselves fighting against people, we’ve missed the boat! Is that our job description as Christians?
Some power struggles are strictly prohibited. Isaiah 45:9 forbids “power struggles” against God. Verse 10 outlaws power struggles against our parents. Romans 13 allows no power struggles between us and our government.
Is there ever room for power struggles in the church? Is that the “permissive” will of Jesus? We read in Mark 10 how He corrected His erring disciples when they wanted recognition, or at least a good position. And here we come face to face with the tough, yet liberating truth. The greatest threat to world peace is not the self-declared state of Israel. It is the “will to be chiefest.” Not even the threat of a belligerent China equals our heart’s problem of wanting recognition or power or control. Jesus, who no doubt participated in the quick judgment of Lucifer, humbly spoke the potent words in Mark 10:45: For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. If we are useful for God, it means we are dying to self. Then and only then are we able to contribute to the Church of Jesus Christ.
Are you involved in a power struggle? Yes, you are! Apostle Paul testified, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood…” Struggling with people? Not our calling. But the greatest power struggle of all time is begging your attention. “For we wrestle… against principalities, against powers, against eh rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Are you part of this power struggle? Yes! You’re on one side of the other. On board or off. For Jesus or against Jesus. Friend or foe. Disciple or traitor. Employing spiritual weapons or despising them. It is the privilege and duty of every disciple of Jesus to advance His Kingdom!
::Note:: To download a PDF of the entire Newsletter for these two months simply click the link below!September/October 2012 Newsletter