By Basilea Schlink
"We do not want this man to reign over us!" (Luke is 14). This was the reason why we people killed Jesus. We wanted to reign by ourselves and not be subject to anyone else. Envy and the love of power are the main sin which nailed Jesus to the cross. This is the worst thin that could be said about any sin. The lust for power is murderous. It tramples down everyone who tries to stand in its way. Whoever persists in this sin will come under God's severe judgment, because every time we want to rule we are actually rebelling against God and His dominion. We do not leave Him any room in our lives, just as the people of Israel and its authorities did not. They excluded their Lord and Creator from their midst-just as we do when we want to have power-although His dominion was pure love and still is today.
The love of power is connected with pride and conceit. It is the characteristic of bad rulers. Domineering is expressed by bossing others around and insisting upon having our own way. It shows that we do not have any humility at all. For when we try to rule over others, we have taken a position that does not belong to us. With our love of power we set ourselves up on a throne, high above all others and rule them with our words and our deeds. But we do not realize that our attitude is just the opposite to God's attitude. For God reigns in a different way, through serving love, as Jesus practised it among men. Jesus' power was not violent; the authority of His dominion rested on humble serving love. "I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 22: 27). That is why divine radiance rested upon Jesus and why it rests upon His followers who live their lives in humble, serving love. They have true power according to Jesus' words, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit (and rule) the earth" (Matt. 5:5).
But because Jesus, the Son of God, went the way of humble, meek love, of serving others and submitting Himself, in order to redeem us from our sins, the love of power is an especially serious sin.
We are particularly vulnerable to this sin when we have a position of leadership, when we are responsible for others, even if it is the responsibility of parents for their children. Children defy their parents, rebel against them and even leave home. How often is this caused by parents who wanted to rule over them! That is why the Apostle Paul says, "Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged" (Col. 3: 21). "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph. 6: 4). Certainly parents, teachers and superiors cannot avoid making rules and making sure that things are right and if they are not, putting them back in order. But it is especially the leaders who make the Gospel unbelievable when they begin to thirst for power. The Apostle Paul admonishes the elders of the Church, "Tend the flock of God. . . not as domineering over those in your charge . . . Clothe yourselves with humility" (I Pet. 5: 2, 3 5b).
We have to choose. Do we want to follow Satan, who wanted to usurp God's throne, even though he was created by Him? Or do we want to follow Jesus? The outcome of each of these ways is clear. Being Jesus' disciple is incompatible with thirst for power. So we have to get rid of this sin, if we wish to be counted followers of Jesus and not be excluded from His kingdom one day.
First of all, we must ask the Holy Spirit to show us our desire to rule, if we have not recognized it yet. We should ask our neighbours if we make life hard for them by our domineering attitude. If they say we do, we must accept it.
Second, we should ask for a repentant heart, for "godly sorrow" because of this malicious sin, which is such a strong contrast to Jesus' humility. Besides this we have made life difficult for those around us, yes we can even make life hell for them!
Third, we must meditate much on Jesus, the humiliated Lord, crowned with the crown of thorns, who had love power, and pray: "I want to stand here by You and from now on choose Your place of humble, meek love. I want others to rule over me at home and at work, and be subject to them and even give up some of my special positions and privileges."
Then we will find that our sceptre of domination will crumble in our hands and one day it will completely disappear, if, yes, if we daily entreat Jesus to free us from this sinful bondage. When we pray for this, we should constantly look at the picture of the humble, lowly Lord who was scourged and crowned with a crown of thorns. He has paid the ransom and has gone the way of lowliness to draw us into His nature of humility. Just as we all have sinned in Adam, because as his children we partake of his sinful nature-including the love of power-so we have all been united with Jesus and His nature of humility through His redemption. Then we will find out how much authority humility has!