Sunday, April 22, 2018

Sunday: Idol #3---Need for Power

John Piper:  The Righteous Are Not Perfect, from Psalm 1, with video

A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth....the wise prevail through great power and those who have knowledge muster their strength.  (Proverbs 11:26, 24:5)

POWER.  Another overdesire is the will to power.  In 11:26 the word gains means to seize or take hold of through sheer power.  That is how ruthless men live.  By contrast, the kindhearted woman is 'characterized by grace...someone who acts for the benefit of others, not expecting a return.'  While she gives up power to serve others,  they serve only their love of power, which can take many forms.  Ambition and careerism can be driven by a desire for wealth as a means of gaining power.  The overlove of power can also show itself in people who are opinionated, poor listeners, argumentative, highly partisan, unteachable, and afraid to admit when they have been in the wrong.

As the woman gains honor, paradoxically, by not seeking honor at all, so Jesus achieved true strength by seeking not power but service. "Who is greater, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves?...I am among you as one who serves." (Luke 22:27)

Proverbs 24:5 teaches that wisdom itself---not being wise in your own eyes, loving God, disadvantaging yourself for others---is in the end the greatest power and strength of all.

When did you last give up significant power in order to serve someone else?

Lord, there is nothing more seductive than power. If I am honest, I confess that there are many situations and relationships I enjoy mainly because of the power I exercise in them. Help me to kill the sinful part of my heart that rejoices in that. Amen.

Timothy Keller,  God's Wisdom for Navigating Life,  page 98

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