Hebrews 13:5 – Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The illusion of having power can take on many forms. When we speak of “power” we don’t just mean financial power (though that applies). We don’t just mean positional power (though that applies). And we don’t just mean social or psychological power.
We mean any form of power you will ever be tempted to wield over another human being in whatever form it may be. These forms can include such things as money, position, usage and tone of words, tears, attitudes, or any other form of power with which we may be tempted to use against another for personal gain.
We are told in Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (6) So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. The following are some false promises of power.
False Promise #1) With Enough Power, I Can Control Anyone I Need To Control
This is a trap, because the only person we can truly control is ourselves, and that is a full-time job! Even for those who seem to give the most lip service, whether they are trying to be a people-pleaser, or are trying to get an advantage over others they see as competition, Jude spills the beans on them when he says in Jude 1:16 …speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. In other words, behind your back, there may not be the same sweet words being said about you that your ears heard.
Solomon gives us wisdom in this area when he says in Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: (22) For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.
In other words, don’t be so quick to believe you are in control because of the sweet words people always speak to you. You may end up overhearing how they TRULY feel about you, and it will rock your naive world!
What do we do? We can start by taking heed to the words of Paul, when he says in Hebrews 13:5-6 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have… Rather than being covetous for control, we should learn to be content with such things as we actually have.
False Promise #2) I Can Handle ANY Amount of Power
Proverbs 25:16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it. In other words, it IS possible to have too much of a good thing!
Power can be intoxicating and there are lots of people who are drunk on their ability to get other people to do and say what they want them to do and say. They’re drunk on the platitudes people give them. The answer is not to stop people from telling you good words, because people are going to do whatever they’re going to do. The answer is to guard our hearts against the drunkenness of influence and power so that we do not use it to manipulate others or to start making wrong decisions.
Let’s face it! Intoxicated people DO NOT make good decisions! In 2nd Samuel 11, King David, who had become intoxicated on his power and influence, got another man’s wife pregnant, tried to make it look like it was her husband’s child, and when that didn’t work out, he had her husband killed.
It wasn’t until the old mean preacher, Nathan, who also was lower in the structure (the “payroll person” if you will), came along and dared to say something the “Power Person” didn’t want to hear that it was made known. Honesty is risky and it can be costly! Thankfully, David made the right choice and confessed his sin
False Promise #3) Because I Have Power, I Don’t Need Anyone’s Input / The False Promise of Autonomy
Pastor and author, Andy Stanley said, “Powerful people have a hard time listening to payroll people”. By “payroll people”, this includes, not just people literally on the payroll beneath you in position and title, but anyone who is in any position that is perceived to be lower than the “power people”. It looks like this, “They haven’t done what I’ve done. What can I learn from them?”.
Well, it is hard to learn anything when the gate to our hearts is closed. But, there may be things they have done that you would say, “I’ve never heard of that being done before”. Often when people say, “I’ve never heard of that being done before”, they mean it to be a negative. In reality, it could be a learning opportunity if they let it.
I have found that the best mentality to have is one that says, “I can learn something from anyone“, no matter where they are in relation to me.
Autonomous Anonymous may say, “I do all the telling, and they do all the doing, and that’s the way we like it!”. There are people who know more than we know and can see more than we can see. The worst thing we can do is immediately dismiss the contribution of someone who is at a lower level of a particular structure than we are.
Communication is power and that can be scary for someone who feels the need to always be in control, but it truly is the antidote to the virus of selfish autonomy!
These promises of having power truly are FALSE and they will not, and they cannot, be kept. Whatever God allows in your life, may you always “…be content with such things as ye have…”!
Is there an area in your life where you find yourself trying to use some form of power to control others? If so, how would it look if you no longer needed that to feel secure?