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The Best Definition Of Power And How To Receive It

I was inspired to write this article after reading Abraham Myerson’s work, “The Foundations of Personality”. He asserts: “Wealth gives you many things to catalogue but fundamentally it gives power and so beauty which may lead to wealth is always a source of power.” This assertion led me to begin a study of biblical scriptures on the concept of power and its attainability. I am thrilled to share some enlightening insights gleaned from God’s word on this subject.

1. God Gave Man Power

The initial chapter of the book of Genesis details how God created the heavens and the earth. Notably, on the sixth day, verse 26 reads as follows: “Then God said, let us make man in our image, according to our likeness: let them have dominion over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

The last thing God created was man, and he gave man dominion over all that he had created on earth in the first five days (Genesis 1:1 – 25). The term “dominion” signifies that all of God’s creations are under the authority of humanity. Other biblical translations employ the word “reign,” denoting the establishment of power and control.

2. The Purpose of Power

This power, bestowed upon man by God, empowers individuals to govern and exercise authority and control over the earth. These verse also underscores the divine origin of power, granted to humankind for the control of the earth.

The 28th to 31st verse reads, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.”

These verses highlight two crucial aspects:

  • God gave man power and control over the earth.
  • The earth was to produce food for man.

The power and control that God gave to man would allow for them to produce food for sustenance. Food encompasses not solely perishable items that we consume but extends to all fundamental necessities and luxuries to live a comfortable life on earth. Every element in our surroundings finds its origin in God’s creation — nature. For instance, the creation of a wooden table involves wood sourced from trees, which are products of divine creation. Similarly, the production of a stainless steel knife involves steel derived from iron ore, a natural mineral also originating from God’s creation.

3. How Man Lost Power

After the Fall man lost the ability to effortlessly control the earth and rely on it for sustenance. This change is recorded in Genesis 3:17-18, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.”

This curse has diminished man’s dominion over the earth. Despite efforts to conquer it, various obstacles hinder such endeavors. Meeting even basic needs, not to mention additional necessities and luxuries, now demands significant toil and labor.

3. Defining Power

From the above observations, I derive the definition of power as:

“The unrestricted ability to control and influence circumstances for the fulfilment of both primary and secondary needs.”

Power

4. The Source of Power

Upon defining power, it becomes imperative to delve into its true source. As asserted by Myers, wealth emerges the a primary origin of power. Evidently, the influence wielded by rich individuals is vast, extending to heads of states, thus leading them to shape outcomes according to their preferences. Furthermore, affluent nations exert control over others through mechanisms such as sanctions and military actions. The advantages derived from power are multifaceted, encompassing aspects such as garnering respect, accumulating wealth, attaining fame, and establishing prestige. There exists a notable publication, a New York Times bestseller, which provides laws to power and offers various stratagems to attain and yield power.

However, my discovery contradicts the conventional wisdom about the true source of power. According to Acts 1:8, the actual source of power is revealed in the last words spoken by Jesus before his ascension to heaven: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.”

5. Redefining Power

Employing our definition of power within the context of Jesus’s words, we can now understand that it is through the Holy Spirit present in our lives that we are able to control and influence circumstances for the fulfilment of both primary and secondary needs. The Holy Spirit possesses the transformative ability to impact various aspects of our lives. By engaging in fasting and prayer, we activate the power of the Holy Spirit.

6. How Jesus Received Power

Jesus commenced his ministry of preaching and performing miraculous signs following the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him. The four Gospels provide detailed narratives of his authoritative preaching, miraculous healings, compassionate ministry to all individuals, calming of storms, and other remarkable acts. Through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, he demonstrated control mastery over all circumstance. Likewise, the apostles embarked on their mission of preaching and healing the sick from the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon them (Acts 2:1-2).

7. Contrasting The Power Of Money And The Power Of God

In Matthew 6:24, Jesus explicitly stated, “You cannot serve both God and money,” emphasizing them as conflicting masters, with God representing a greater source of authority. Through serving God, believers receive supernatural power through the Holy Spirit.

7.1 Esther

The book of Esther provides insight into the effect these two sources of power, God and money, on our personal lives. Esther was a Jewish woman who became queen. Her husband, King Nerxes, appointed a very conceited man, Hanan, as the most powerful official in the empire. People would bow down to Hanan to show respect as he walked pass. But Esther’s uncle, Mordercai, refused to bow down, this deeply infuriated Hanan resulting in a declaration of the annihilation of Jewish people.

Hanan was determined on this plan that he funded and secured resources to assure all the Jews are exterminated. This illustrates how money can influence circumstances and how his secondary needs for respect and adoration would be accomplished. Queen Esther upon hearing this plan told the nation to fast and pray to God for three days. The next events display the supernatural involvement of God to overturn the ruling to annihilate the people of Israel. Read more on the Esther Fast.

The story of Esther also helps us understand why Paul urges us to pray for Kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives (1 Timothy 2:1). We may assume we have no control over our government, laws, systems, communities, families and more, but rest assured we’ve been given power over them through prayer and fasting to establish the change we desire.

7.2 The Early Church

Another similar scenario involves King Herod’s arrest of Peter with the intention of placing him to a public trial that would likely result in his execution. Acts 12:5 reads, “But while Peter was kept in prison, the church prayed earnestly for him.” Subsequently, a divine intervention occurs as Peter miraculously escapes from prison, demonstrating the power of God that was activated through prayer.

8. Conclusion

These examples show that true power comes from the Holy Spirit of God, not from wealth nor from a royal or prestigious status. Zachariah 4:1 reads, “this is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty.”

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