Power is a force that attracts people. It is like wine and alcohol that can corrupt the mind. John Emerich Edward Dalberg (1834-1902) said: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power is compared with intoxicant that provides thrill or ‘kick’ for people. There is no wonder that many in the world pursue power relentlessly. However, power in itself is not good or evil or corrupt. It depends on the person who wields the power. There are people who use their power, influence or capacity for the benefit of others. At the same time, there are people who use their power for selfish, evil and for myopic vision.
There are various kinds of power, some are visible and some are invisible. There is natural power, political power, economic power, physical power, psychological power, emotional power, and many more. In this article we are trying to discuss only a few.
In the primitive times, muscle power was considered as a valuable asset. Without much tools or technology, people were expected use their physical prowess. Men needed courage and physical strength to go out into the jungle to hunt for animals. With invention of tools , the muscle power was more organized and channelized. Humans have to use muscle power to work to survive. Smart people may not have muscle power, but could channelize the people with muscle power to fulfill their desires or vision. The kings of ancient time could mobilize muscle power in the form of armies to go to war and subdue other nations.
Even today muscle power is used by some people to scare away the weak or ordinary people. Bouncers, wrestlers, security guards with impressive physique intimidate people who may challenge their orders or status quo. In countries like India, muscle power is used to intimidate voters during election and those who stand up for their rights.
For doing work in the field of agriculture, humans domesticated animals. Bullocks were used to plough the land, instead of humans doing it. Horses were used in battle instead of moving on foot.
As human civilization evolved, more and more tools were invented. Technology helped the people to create new machines that could substitute for muscle power. In fact, technology multiplied the power output. The concept of Horse Power (HP) measurement for machines was developed. Many huge machines were invented and developed that changed the life of humans. More and more machines became part of human existence. The machine power helped in cooking, travelling, learning, communication, manufacturing, transporting…etc.
Of course, there were machines that could be used for destruction. Guns could be used for protection as well as destruction. Airplanes could be used for civil and supplies transport or for military purposes. Huge machines like trains, buses, cars, jeeps…etc made travelling and transport quicker, safer and better.
Mind is a wonderful gift of God. The brain power given to humans is unique, special and remarkable. Only human beings have the capacity to think, develop theories, create new things, research and create tools, Machines are the creation of mind. Instead of just depending on physical strength, machines were created and deployed to serve humans.
Mind power helps also to organize the muscle or machine power, synchronize their use, mobilize those powers in appropriate quantity and deploy them at a particular place. In fact, the mind has sway over the muscle and machines.
The mind produces ideas and also images. This invisible resource is also used by humans. Mind power could win over muscle, military and machine power. “There was a little city with few men in it, and a great king came against it and besieged it. But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard.” (Eccl 9:14-16)
Shrewdness, cunningness, manipulation, conspiracy, intrigue, deceit, tactics are some of the expressions of mind power. Controlling information, communication and spreading distorted information or misinformation or rumour is a mind power technique.
Another important power in the human world is ‘money’ or ‘economic’ power. Money is needed for survival in this world. However, we humans tend to accumulate more and more. Without a sense of satisfaction or contentment, people pursue money. A person who controls more funds could buy or hire other powers – muscle, machine and mind. In the ancient times, kings could recruit huge armies by providing gold coins. Machines like gun/revolver/rifles could be purchased with money. Intelligent people could be hired to provide advice, wisdom or counsel. With money politicians buy votes; business people buy favour from the government and politicians; governments buy or manufacture weapons of war. Industries could hire scientists and researchers by paying handsome remuneration.
As Christians, we must understand Power belongs to God. Psalmist said: “Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God, and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love. For you will render to a man according to his work.” (Psalms 62:11,12) God is Sovereign, Almighty and holds all authority in Heaven and Earth. As a child of God, a Christian has access to such awesome power and majesty.
Superior to muscle power
Goliath was very proud of his physical strength, training and expertise. He thought he was the most powerful person on the earth. But David confronted Goliath, not with physical power with spiritual power. David said: “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.” (I Samuel 17:45)
Superior to Machine power
Jehoshaphat, the Jewish King faces the army with a choir/worship team that went ahead of the army of Judah. “Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army.” (II Chronicles 20:21) God defeated the army with His majesty and power. Weapons and machines of war could not stand against God’s power and majesty.
On another occasion the Lord defeated the enemies of Israel by performing a miracle. “For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’” (II Kings 3:17)
Superior to mind power
Ahithopel was considered as one of the best consultant/counselor for king of Israel. He defected from David to Absalom when the young man tried to usurp the kingdom. David prayed for God’s intervention. “Now David had been told, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” So David prayed, “Lord, turn Ahithophel’s counsel into foolishness.”” (II Samuel 15:31) God’s power was manifested that Ahithophel at last killed himself.
Superior to money power
Facing the paralytic man at the Beautiful Gate in Jerusalem Peter makes a profound statement. “But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”” (Acts 3:6) The Apostles had the relationship and access to God and His power. And they declared that publicly and healed the paralyzed man.
In the city of Samaria, God used Peter to anoint people with the Holy Spirit. Simon the sorcerer thought he could also get the power and authority to anoint people with the Holy Spirit and was willing to pay huge sum of money. Luke narrates: “Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!” (Acts 8: 18-20)
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6) Being humble, and dependent on God is the Christian lifestyle. God is Sovereign and we are His children and we can just lean on Him. God is all powerful and almighty. Do we need any other source of power?